A Hamas official says that militants in Gaza have agreed to an Egypt-brokered cease-fire with Israel, Reuters reported.
Ayman Taha had said the cease-fire would be announced at 9 p.m. local time, or 2 p.m. EST, and implemented at midnight local time, according to Reuters. Hamas and Islamic Jihad sources also told Agence France-Presse that a cease-fire will be announced. But the deadlines originally suggested came and went.
Meanwhile, Israeli officials denied the agreement, while the Associated Press said a cease-fire has not yet been agreed, citing a senior Hamas official. But that official did tell the AP that a deal with Israel is close.
From Israel, GlobalPost's Noga Tarnopolsky reported that an Israeli government spokesman, Mark Regev, told Israel Radio and CNN that news of a truce is simply a rumor sent out by Hamas because it is being hit so hard by the conflict. Other government officials were quick to discount the reports, echoing that Israel has not agreed to any cease-fire.
However, Tarnopolsky said that a reporter on Israeli Army Radio indicated there has been progress in reaching agreement over the past few hours, though nothing has been settled.
The conflicting reports come hours after Israel reportedly halted plans for a ground offensive on Gaza. Israeli airstrikes over the past week have reportedly killed 116 people in Gaza, many of them civilians, while fire on Israel has claimed three lives. Hundreds have been wounded.
GlobalPost's Erin Cunningham, in Gaza, reports that Gazans "are essentially trapped by a blockade, [and] say they feel nowhere is safe, not even their own homes."
Read the rest of her report here, and see her tweets from Gaza below.