Palestinian official: Egypt mediating Hamas-Israel truce

Official close to talks say Hamas gave "verbal promise" to calm situation down; PRC say group hasn't been informed of ceasefire whilst UN special coordinator calls for calm in Gaza Strip following volley of rockets, IAF strikes.

By JPOST.COM STAFF, REUTERS
October 24, 2012 23:04
1 minute read.
Trails of smoke left after rocket launched

Rockets damage 6 390. (photo credit: REUTERS/Amir Cohen)

 
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A Palestinian official on Wednesday said Egypt was trying to mediate a truce between Israel and Hamas. Palestinian terrorists in Gaza have fired nearly 80 rockets and mortar shells into southern Israel in the past 24 hours, wounding five. Four Palestinians have been killed in IAF strikes on Gaza.

"The contacts Cairo made resulted in a verbal promise by Hamas to calm the situation down and Israel said it was monitoring calm on the ground and would refrain from attacks unless it was subject to rocket fire from Gaza," said the official, who is close to the talks.

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At the time of this report, only one rocket had been fired over the span several hours. The Iron Dome rocket defense system intercepted the Grad rocket near Ashkelon.

The Egyptians have reportedly played a role in ceasefire mediation before, most recently in March, where a high-level Hamas delegation headed by Musa Abu Marzouk arrived in Cairo for talks with Egyptian officials on ways of ending the violence that erupted after the IDF killed Zuheir al-Qeisi, commander of the Popular Resistance Committees.

However, the PRC said Wednesday that no such truce had been reached, Palestinian news agency Ma'an reported. A group spokesman said the PRC would continue responding to Israeli attacks.

Meanwhile in a visit to Gaza, United Nations special envoy Robert Serry called for calm in the Strip, official Palestinian news agency WAFA reported.

Serry said he "deeply deplore[d]" the escalation of violence between Israel and the Gaza Strip, according to WAFA. He further called on both sides to exercise "maximum restraint," and return calm to the area.

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