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Cease-fire begins between Israel and Hamas

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"We thank Iran for its support along with all the other nations that supported us," he said.

Mashaal said Hamas would demand a package that ends Gaza’s isolation. "We talked about the crossings, and the freedom of movement and cargo," he said.

At a glance

Previous bomb attacks in Tel Aviv

A bus bombing that wounded 27 people is the latest attack in Tel Aviv, Israel’s largest metropolis and frequent target of militants:

April 23, 2006 » A Palestinian suicide bomber kills 11 people and injures 68 at a sandwich stand near the city’s old central bus station.

Feb. 25, 2005 » A Palestinian suicide bomber blows himself up outside the “Stage” beachfront nightclub in Tel Aviv, killing five Israelis and injuring 50.

April 30, 2003 » A Palestinian suicide bomber attacks “Mike’s Place” beachfront bar next to the U.S. Embassy, killing three and wounding 50.

Jan. 5, 2003 » A double suicide bombing near the old central bus station kills 23 people — 15 Israelis and eight foreign nationals — and injures more than 100.

Sept. 19, 2002 » A suicide bomber blows up a local bus outside the city’s Great Synagogue, killing six people and injuring about 70.

July 17, 2002 » A double suicide bombing near the old central bus station kills five people and injures 40.

June 1, 2001 » A Hamas suicide bomber blows himself up outside the Dolphinarium discotheque on the Tel Aviv beachfront, killing 21 Israeli teenagers and wounding 132.

March 21, 1997 » A suicide bomber blows himself up inside the Cafe Apropo coffee shop in Tel Aviv, killing three Israeli women and wounding 48.

March 4, 1996 » A suicide bomber explodes outside a shopping, killing 13 Israelis and wounding 130 more.

Oct. 19, 1994 » A Hamas suicide bomber blows up aboard a bus on busy Dizengoff Street, killing 22 civilians and wounding more than 50.

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By brokering the truce, Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi emerged as a pivotal player in the new Middle East, which has been swept by Islamist fervor during the Arab Spring changes of the past two years. As the key sponsor of the deal, serving as a middleman in cases of truce violations, Morsi will continue to play a key role.

His Muslim Brotherhood is the parent movement of Hamas, and the Egyptian leader has sympathized with the Palestinian Islamic group.

However, he has largely kept in place the restrictions on the Gaza-Egypt border that were imposed five years ago by his pro-Western predecessor, Hosni Mubarak, when Israel began sealing Gaza. Only Gazans fitting certain criteria can enter Egypt, and Morsi has resisted Hamas demands to open a cargo crossing.

Morsi has continued Mubarak’s policy, in part, because of Egyptian concerns that an open border between Gaza and Egypt would allow Israel to "dump" the territory onto Egypt and undermine Palestinian statehood dreams.

Gaza and the West Bank flank Israel, which prevents virtual all travel between the two territories. If Gaza is open to Egypt, this would deepen the Palestinian territorial division and further undermine Abbas.

In closed meetings with Egyptian intelligence officials, Israel expressed concern about weapons entering Gaza from Libya and elsewhere.

Egyptian officials responded that they are keen on stopping the flow of weapons, which affect security in the Sinai Peninsula and end up in militants’ hands there, according to Egyptian intelligence officials present in the meetings. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to release the information.

The deal offered key accomplishments to both Israel and Hamas. By bringing quiet to Israel’s embattled south, Netanyahu is likely to enjoy a boost of popularity just as he prepares to seek re-election in January.

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Hamas’ ability to stand up to Israel, combined with the international recognition it has gained, solidifies its control of Gaza, prolonging the rule of a militant group pledged to Israel’s destruction.

After more than five years of political isolation, Gaza became a magnet for foreign leaders during the past eight days. The prime minister of Egypt, the foreign minister of Turkey and foreign ministers of several Arab countries visited Gaza to show their support for Hamas.

More importantly, both Israel and the U.S. engaged in negotiations with the Islamists, albeit indirectly. Both countries consider Hamas to be a terrorist group.

The biggest loser appears to be Abbas, the main political rival of Hamas, who was forced to watch the events in Gaza from the sidelines. Since losing control of Gaza, Abbas has been unable to end the bitter rift with Hamas, leaving him governing in the West Bank only. Abbas seeks an independent state that includes both territories.

The events of recent days, coupled with a four-year impasse in peace efforts with Israel, will underscore Abbas’ image as an ineffective leader.

As the streets of Gaza City snarled with celebrations, chants of "God is great!" echoed from mosque speakers.

"I came out from under the fire. I want my children and I to live in safety. I don’t want war," said Abdel-Nasser al-Tom, a resident of northern Gaza who had huddled for shelter in a U.N. school. "I just hope they commit to peace."

Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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