Hamas official predicts ceasefire soon

A senior Hamas official predicted a ceasefire within days in the ongoing Israel-Gaza conflict.

That's after U.S. President Joe Biden urged Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to seek a "de-escalation" in the fighting on Wednesday (May 19).

An Egyptian security source said the sides had agreed in principle to a ceasefire after help from mediators but details were still being negotiated in secret.

However, Israel's intelligence minister Eli Cohen refused to be drawn on any details when asked on public radio if it would begin on Friday (May 21).

He said: "We will finish the operation when we decide we have attained our goals".

Netanyahu has said Israel wants to achieve "forceful deterrence" to dissuade Gaza's ruling Hamas Islamists from future confrontation.

Since the fighting began on May 10, Palestinian health officials say 228 people have been killed in aerial bombardments.

Israeli authorities put the death toll to date at 12 in Israel.

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