Israel and Palestinian militants reach Gaza cease-fire

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — A cease-fire is in place, ending eight days of fighting between Israel and Palestinian militants in Gaza.

The militant rocket attacks and Israeli airstrikes stopped at 9 p.m. local time, but not before a final spasm of violence claimed one more life. In all, 161 Palestinians, including dozens of civilians, were killed as Israeli forces carried out more than 1,500 strikes on Gaza. Five Israelis died as militants pounded Israel with more than 1,000 rockets.

After the truce went into effect, Palestinian gunmen fired in the air, while families who had sought shelter at U.N.-run schools in Gaza cheered and clapped.

The deal was brokered by Egypt's new Islamist government after two days of intense shuttle diplomacy by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and others. Under the agreement, Egypt will play a key role in maintaining the peace.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says the cease-fire agreement with Gaza's Hamas rulers will allow Israeli civilians to get back to their lives. He left the door open to a future ground invasion of Gaza, but said "the right thing" is for state of Israel "to take this opportunity to reach a lasting ceasefire."

%@AP Links

201-v-27-(Mark Lavie (lah-VEE'), AP Middle East correspondent)--An Israel-Gaza cease-fire has been declared. More from AP Middle East Correspondent Mark Lavie in Cairo. (21 Nov 2012)

<<CUT *201 (11/21/12)>> 00:27

202-c-13-(Mark Lavie (lah-VEE'), AP Middle East correspondent)-"operation in Gaza"-AP Middle East Correspondent Mark Lavie in Cairo reports Israel and Hamas have agreed to a cease-fire. (21 Nov 2012)

<<CUT *202 (11/21/12)>> 00:13 "operation in Gaza"

203-c-15-(Mark Lavie (lah-VEE'), AP Middle East correspondent)-"a terror group"-AP Middle East Correspondent Mark Lavie in Cairo reports Egypt has led the way toward a truce between Israel and Hamas. (21 Nov 2012)

<<CUT *203 (11/21/12)>> 00:15 "a terror group"

198-a-07-(Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, partially obscured by interpreter, at news conference with Egyptian Foreign Minister Mohamed Kamel Amr)-"attacks must end"-Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton says America applauds Egypt's effort to negotiate a truce. (Note that Arabic interpretation partially obscures Clinton's remarks.) (21 Nov 2012)

<<CUT *198 (11/21/12)>> 00:07 "attacks must end"

197-a-14-(Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, at news conference with Egyptian Foreign Minister Mohamed Kamel Amr)-"stability and peace"-Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton says Egypt has stepped forward at an important juncture. (21 Nov 2012)

<<CUT *197 (11/21/12)>> 00:14 "stability and peace"

193-r-24-(Sound of Egyptian Foreign Minister Mohamed Kamel Amr, speaking Arabic at news conference with Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton)--Sound of Egyptian Foreign Minister Mohamed Kamel Amr, speaking Arabic at news conference with Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. (21 Nov 2012)

<<CUT *193 (11/21/12)>> 00:24

192-a-13-(Egyptian Foreign Minister Mohamed Kamel Amr, speaking through interpreter at news conference with Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton)-"was witnessed recently"-Egyptian Foreign Minister Mohamed Kamel Amr, speaking through an interpreter, announces a cease-fire between Hamas and Israel after intense talks. ((note audio quality from source)) (21 Nov 2012)

<<CUT *192 (11/21/12)>> 00:13 "was witnessed recently"

APPHOTO SEB102: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu listens during joint statements together with Israel's Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, not seen, at the Prime Minister's office in Jerusalem, Wednesday, Nov. 21, 2012. Israel and the Hamas militant group agreed to a cease-fire Wednesday to end eight days of the fiercest fighting in nearly four years, promising to halt attacks on each other and ease an Israeli blockade constricting the Gaza Strip. (AP Photo/Sebastian Scheiner) (21 Nov 2012)

<<APPHOTO SEB102 (11/21/12)>>

APPHOTO CAI124: In this image made from Egyptian State Television, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, left, and Egyptian Foreign Minister Mohammed Kamel Amr, right, give a joint news conference announcing a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas in Cairo, Egypt, Wednesday, Nov. 21, 2012. Egypt has announced a cease-fire agreement to end a week of fighting between Israel and Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip. Foreign Minister Mohammed Kamel Amr said the truce would take effect at 9 p.m. local time (2 p.m. EDT.) He made the announcement alongside visiting U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. (AP Photo/Egyptian State Television) (21 Nov 2012)

<<APPHOTO CAI124 (11/21/12)>>

APPHOTO BA112: Palestinians gather on the balcony of a schoolyard of a U.N. operated school in Gaza City, Wednesday, Nov. 21, 2012. A U.N. aid agency says some 10,000 Gazans have sought shelter in U.N.-run schools after the Israeli military dropped leaflets on the territory warning residents of certain areas to evacuate their homes. (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue) (21 Nov 2012)

<<APPHOTO BA112 (11/21/12)>>

APPHOTO ASC113: A rocket fired by Palestinian militants from the Gaza Strip towards Israel is about to explode inside the Gaza Strip as seen from the border between Gaza strip and Southern Israel, Wednesday, Nov. 21, 2012. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton has arrived in Cairo in her diplomatic push to forge a truce between Israel and Gaza rulers of Hamas. Her visit comes hours after a bomb exploded on an Israeli bus in Tel Aviv, wounding several. Clinton is looking to piece together a deal to end Israel's weeklong offensive in the Gaza Strip.(AP Photo/Ariel Schalit) (21 Nov 2012)

<<APPHOTO ASC113 (11/21/12)>>

©2014 by The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.