Cease-fire agreement reached in Gaza conflict

After eight days of violence and nearly 150 deaths on both sides of the Israel-Gaza border, a cease-fire set to take effect Wednesday night promised to silence the warplanes and rocket launchers.

After eight days of violence and nearly 150 deaths on both sides of the Israel-Gaza border, a cease-fire set to take effect Wednesday night promised to silence the warplanes and rocket launchers.

The cease-fire, announced Wednesday night in a joint news conference in Cairo with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Egyptian Foreign Minister Mohamed Kamel Amr, is scheduled to take effect at 9 p.m. (2 p.m. ET).

With more than an hour to go before the agreement formally took hold, rockets could be seen streaking from Gaza into the sky toward Israel. It was not immediately clear if Israel had suspended its military operations.

The agreement to end the hostilities came after a day of intensive negotiations featuring Clinton, Egyptian President Mohamed Morsy and Palestinian officials, and was a surprising cap to a day that saw militants strike deep inside Tel Aviv -- with a public bus bombing that injured 24 people, according to police.

No details of the cease-fire agreement were immediately available. Hamas had been asking for, among other things, an end to Israel's blockade of Gaza. Israeli officials said they were seeking a long-term solution ending the threat of rocket fire in southern Israel.

As recently as Wednesday afternoon, Hamas officials were calling for more strikes against Israel, while that country's military continued to press its campaign against suspected rocket-launching sites and what it described as "terrorist hideouts."

Eleven people had died as of Wednesday night in Gaza, according to the Hamas-run al-Aqsa television station, bringing the total death toll in the Palestinian territory to 142 in eight days of fighting.

Five people died in Israel, and scores more were wounded -- including four soldiers injured Wednesday in a mortar attack in the Eshkol region, according to the IDF.

The cease-fire talks, held in the West Bank, Israel and Cairo, withstood the lunchtime bus attack near the Defense Ministry headquarters in Tel Aviv. It was the first terror attack in that city since 2006, and the first assault on a bus in Israel since August 2011, when a man blew himself up near a bus near Eilat, killing the driver.

Terrorists planted at least two bombs on the bus and fled, Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said. Only one of the bombs exploded, blowing out the windows of the bus but leaving the vehicle otherwise intact, he said.

Images on Israeli TV showed white smoke rising from the bus as police and witnesses milled outside. Police cordoned off the street. At least one passenger was taken out on a stretcher.

Rosenfeld said 24 people were wounded, three of them seriously. Aviva Shemer with Ichilov Hospital said pedestrians were among the injured.

One victim was in serious condition with shoulder injuries, while two others suffered moderate injuries from glass fragments. Some of those being treated suffered panic attacks, Shemer said.

Police said Wednesday evening they were seeking at least one and possibly two suspects.

Israeli authorities have stepped up security nationwide, with additional police on the streets and more plainclothes police officers patrolling public areas, Rosenfeld said.

Tel Aviv resident Audrey Shemesh, who lives in an apartment building overlook the scene of the explosion, said the attack had shaken her confidence in peace.

"They want us dead, and this is really sad," Shemesh said of militants battling Israel, "For now I don't see any solution. They don't want to stop this. They just want to go on and on and on. It's really sad because I believe in peace."

Hamas put its own spin on the attack in a banner on al-Aqsa.

"Hamas blesses the suicide bombing and assures that it is a natural response to the massacre of the al-Dalou family and targeting of innocent Palestinian civilians."

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