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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Palestinian Militants Sign 3-Month Truce

JERUSALEM -- In a breakthrough toward implementing a U.S.-backed peace plan, Islamic militant groups signed an agreement to halt attacks on Israelis for three months, a senior official of Yasser Arafat's Fatah faction said.

Fatah, whose own military wing has also carried out attacks, was also a signatory to the agreement. Smaller armed groups have not yet signed on.

In the Gaza Strip, Palestinian officials said Israeli helicopters fired rockets at two cars, causing an explosion. But there was no witness account.

Israel said the internal Palestinian deal was of no consequence. A senior Israeli official said the Palestinians will be judged on their actions, including whether they can halt violence.

The Fatah official, Kadoura Fares, said that recently there have been intensive contacts between Fatah leader Marwan Barghouti, who is jailed in Israel, and Khaled Mashal of Hamas and Ramadan Shalah of Islamic Jihad, in Damascus. The military wings of all three groups have carried out bombing and shooting attacks against Israelis during 33 months of fighting, killing hundreds.

A formal statement about a cease-fire was to be made later Wednesday. A Palestinian source said a document outlining the truce terms was signed in Mashal, Shalah, and Barghouti.

In exchange for the cease-fire, the groups demand Israel end targeted killings of militants and military incursions, and call for the release of Palestinian prisoners held by Israel -- but do not set any deadline or time frame.