Israel announces ceasefire after Killing 1200++ says Goals Accomplished

Israel is to halt its three week military offensive against Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has said.

He said Israel had achieved its aims and the unilateral ceasefire would start at 0200 (2400 GMT). But he said troops would remain in Gaza for now.

The announcement came after the 3 weeks long brutal killings of innocent people in Ghaza. A Hamas spokesman said it would not accept one Israeli soldier in Gaza.

Nearly 1,200 Palestinians have been killed since the violence began on 27 December. Thirteen Israelis have died.

The US has welcomed the ceasefire, saying it “expects that all parties will cease attacks and hostile actions immediately”.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon expressed relief, saying the ceasefire should be “the first step leading to the full withdrawal of Israeli troops from Gaza”.