Gaza groups agree to stop firing at Israel

capt.58f9f8c562254b96853e6d393f033c87.correction_mideast_israel_palestinians_ppc101.gifGAZA CITY, Gaza Strip – Senior Palestinian officials said militant groups in the Israel at midnight Saturday, if Israel launches no new raids into Gaza. But two main guerrilla groups denied that any agreement had been reached.

The Palestinian officials said the unilateral cease-fire was aimed at ending an Israeli offensive in the Gaza Strip that began June 28, three days after militants raided an Israeli army post, killing two soldiers and capturing 19-year-old Cpl. Gilad Shalit.

More than 100 Palestinians have been killed since then in daily attacks by Israeli warplanes, tanks and artillery in the offensive, and the militants have fired hundreds of homemade rockets at southern Israel.

The agreement was reached in Gaza City following meetings sponsored by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh aimed at finding a way out of the crisis in Gaza, the officials said. Several Palestinian militant groups attended, including Haniyeh’s Hamas and Islamic Jihad, which have been blamed for many of the rocket attacks on southern Israel, the officials said on condition of anonymously because the agreement was reached at a closed meeting.

But two guerrilla groups said no agreement had been reached.

Abu Kosai, a spokesman for the Al Aqsa Brigades, said: “This report is baseless. We are going to continue launching our rockets toward the Zionist communities as long as the aggression continues. As long as the aggression exists, it’s our right to respond.”

He also said, “We made contacts with all our brothers who are working in the military field who knew nothing about this report and this agreement.”

Abu Ahmed, a spokesman for Islamic Jihad, said: “This is a completely false report. Resistance will continue because the aggression exists and rockets are one of the tools we use in this resistance.”

The Israeli Defense Forces said it had no immediate comment about the reported cease-fire.

In fighting in Gaza on Friday, four people were killed — a Hamas activist and three relatives — in an explosion at his home in Gaza City, hospital officials said. Palestinians said the house was hit by an Israeli tank shell. The Israeli military denied using artillery or tanks.

On Thursday, Israeli aircraft carried out a series of strikes against Palestinian militants in the Mughazi refugee camp in central Gaza, the army said. Two militants were killed and at least 15 people, many of them civilians, were wounded, Palestinian medical officials said. Israeli forces pulled out of the camp on Friday.

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