Israel confirms cease-fire with Hamas (

Israel and Hamas pledged to start a cease-fire tomorrow in a bid to end a year of fighting that has killed more than 400 Palestinians and seven Israelis. The deal comes as Israel also urged Lebanon to open peace talks.

The cease-fire is expected to be followed next week by an Israeli easing of its blockade of Gaza, Israeli government spokesman Mark Regev said. Talks to release an Israeli soldier held by Hamas will then intensify, Regev said.

Egypt, which brokered the talks, announced a six-month agreement yesterday, saying it would begin tomorrow at 6 a.m. Hamas confirmed the deal shortly afterward. But there was no official confirmation from Israel until today.

"Thursday will be the beginning we hope of a new reality where Israeli citizens in the south will no longer be on the receiving end of continuous rocket attacks," Regev said. "Israel is giving a serious chance to this Egyptian initiative and we want it to succeed."

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said today that he hopes the Gaza truce will hold, but he’s instructing his army to plan for military operations if it doesn’t…

Israel confirms cease-fire with Hamas (

Israel has indicated that it is ready for direct peace talks with Lebanon, hours after agreeing a landmark truce with Hamas…

Israel hints at peace with Hizbollah (By Carolynne Wheeler in

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