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New truce is agreed after Israeli attacks

ISRAEL has accepted an Egyptian-brokered ceasefire plan to end a seven-week war against Islamic militants in the Gaza Strip.

An Israeli official said Israel had responded positively to Egypt's call for an open-ended ceasefire which began at 7pm local time last night.

Israel has agreed to ease its blockade of Gaza to allow humanitarian and construction materials to enter the war-battered territory.

Indirect talks on more substantial issues are to begin in Cairo within a month.

The new peace move came hours after Israel bombed some of the tallest buildings in Gaza, bringing down a 13-storey apartment and office tower and destroying most of a 16-floor residential block after warning occupants to get out.

The Israeli military, declining to comment specifically on the attacks that flattened the Basha Tower and wrecked the Italian Complex, said it attacked 15 "terror sites", including some in buildings that housed Hamas command and control centres.

Hamas, the dominant militant group in the Gaza Strip, accused Israel of an "unprecedented act of revenge against civilians" aimed at deterring Palestinians from supporting the Islamist movement.

Israel has now attacked three of Gaza's most prominent high-rise buildings since Saturday, when it destroyed a 13-storey tower.

No fatalities were reported in two of the bombings, which were preceded by non-explosive warning missiles that sent residents fleeing. Twenty people were wounded in the attack on the Italian Complex building.

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