16 Jan 2009

Ceasefire terms issued by Hamas

8:07 am on 16 January 2009

Hamas says it has told Egypt it would agree to a year-long renewable ceasefire in the Gaza Strip if Israel withdraws its forces within a week and reopens border crossings immediately.

The announcement came after days of talks and after Israeli tanks pushed deep into Gaza City, prompting fierce exchanges of gunfire with Hamas fighters.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said he expected Israel to make an important decision on Thursday on whether to ceasefire in Gaza.

Israel's prime minister, defence minister and foreign minister are to be briefed on Thursday night.

Washington has promised security guarantees addressing Israeli demands.

Israel has said that any ceasefire must ensure that Hamas can no longer smuggle weapons through tunnels under the Gaza-Egypt border, as well as end rocket attacks on its southern towns.