Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmer addressed his nation on Saturday indicating that the leadership's goals had been fully achieved in Gaza against Hamas and that the armed forces would begin a ceasefire at 2:00 a.m. local time.

Hamas was badly stricken, both in terms of its military capabilities and in the infrastructure of its regime. Its leaders are in hiding. Many of its members have been killed, Olmert said, according to a translation of his press conference address posted to the Prime Minister's office web site.

Hamas vowed to continue until all Israeli military left the Gaza Strip.

The occupier must halt his fire immediately and withdraw from our land and lift his blockade and open all crossings and we will not accept any one Zionist soldier on our land, regardless of the price that it costs, said Fawzi Barhoum, a Hamas spokesman in Gaza, according to the Associated Press.

Israel's cabinet approved an initiative from Egypt's president Hosni Mubarak along with his request for a ceasefire and it was accepted.

As part of the ceasefire, the American government on Friday agreed to take steps along with other countries to prevent weapons smuggling into Gaza.

It must be remembered that Hamas is not part of the arrangements we came to, he said. These are agreements involving many countries, and a terrorist organization like Hamas is not and need not be a part of them.

The army, or Israel Defense Forces as it is known, will remain deployed in the Gaza Strip, warning that hostilities could resume if attacks by Hamas persisted.

If our enemies decide that the blows they have already suffered are not enough and they wish to continue fighting, Israel will be ready for that scenario and will feel free to continue responding with force, he said.

Estimates indicate that 1,200 Palestinians have died in the attacks which began 22 days ago. Thirteen Israelis have died in the conflict.