JERUSALEM—As dark fell on Tuesday night, reports from inside the Gaza Strip painted a grim picture, despite the fact that a ceasefire appeared to be imminent. Multiple foreign journalists have been reporting via real-time updates on Twitter that Israel dropped hundreds of leaflets throughout Gaza earlier today, warning residents to move toward the center and to Gaza City for their safety. Gaza City is in the north part of Gaza Strip.
At approximately 8:24 p.m. local time, Turkey’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced via its Twitter account that a ceasefire has been reached.
#FMDavutoglu “ A ceasefire aggrement was reached. The ceasefire will come into effect at midnight” #Gaza
The ceasefire, is set against the backdrop of intensely ramped-up international diplomacy. Earlier on Tuesday, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was on her way to the region. She is scheduled to stop in Jerusalem, Ramallah, and Cairo. As per U.S. policy to not engage in diplomacy with terrorist groups, Clinton will not meet directly with any Hamas representatives.
The U.S. has been relying heavily on Egypt to act as an intermediary with Hamas in negotiating an end to the violence between Israel and Hamas that has lasted for seven straight days. Earlier on Tuesday, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon was in Egypt to meet with officials there.
The UK’s Minister for the Middle East Alastair Burt was also in Israel on Tuesday.
Despite the promise of the imminent ceasefire, both sides continued to attack each other throughout Tuesday. At about 2:15 p.m. local time, the air raid siren sounded in Jerusalem, sending people running for shelter. It was reported that at least two bombs fell on the outskirts of the city. Later on Tuesday, there were reports of a rocket hitting Rishon LeZiyyon on the outskirts of Tel Aviv.