Palestinian factions have announced a conditional cease-fire with Israel, pledging to halt attacks as long as Israel does the same.
Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon welcomed the announcement, calling it a positive first step. Palestinian militants and top officials meeting in Cairo said the agreement is an extension of the truce that was agreed to last month, but it will expire at the end of 2005 unless Israel releases prisoners and makes other concessions. Israel said it would honor the cease-fire as long as Palestinian militants refrained from attacks. However, officials repeated demands for Palestinians to dismantle militant groups.