Mideast Crisis

Israel Announces Cease-fire

Israel said Saturday that its three-week military offensive into the Gaza Strip was over and that a cease-fire was now in effect. "The conditions have been created that our aims, as declared, were attained fully, and beyond," Prime Minister Ehud Olmert declared in a televised address. Hamas, however, refused to agree to the truce, saying it was void until Israeli troops left the territory. "A unilateral ceasefire does not mean ending the aggression and ending the siege. These constitute acts of war and so this will not mean an end to resistance," a Hamas spokesman responded. Since the campaign began on December 27, over 1,200 Palestinians have been killed. Hamas rockets were fired into Israel minutes before Olmert's speech. Overnight, the Israeli military deployed 50 air strikes into Gaza as a final show of force.