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Palestinian delegation heads for cease-fire talks in Cairo

English.news.cn   2014-08-02 20:44:48            

RAMALLAH, Aug. 2 (Xinhua) -- A senior Palestinian delegation headed to Egypt for talks on a cease-fire to end 25 days of Israeli-Palestinian fighting in the Gaza Strip that has so far killed 1,654 Palestinians, officials said Saturday.

Azzam el-Ahmad, a senior leader in Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah Party, who heads the delegation, told Xinhua that the delegation also includes representative of Hamas and Islamic Jihad movements.

"The delegation members left Ramallah, and Hamas and Islamic Jihad representatives departed from Lebanon, and all will meet later in the afternoon in Cairo," el-Ahmad said.

However, Hamas and Islamic Jihad members from the Gaza Strip will not be able to leave the coastal enclave because the road to Rafah crossing with Egypt is closed by Israeli army ground forces, said el-Ahmad.

"The efforts now will focus on renewing the United Nations- proposed humanitarian cease-fire for 72 hours," he said.

That cease-fire collapsed on Friday, only two hours after its start, when Israeli ground forces and Palestinian militants engaged in fierce battles that killed more than 100 Palestinians, two Israeli soldiers. One Israeli soldier is still as missing in action.

In Cairo, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi said on Saturday that an Egyptian truce plan provided a "real chance" to end the Gaza conflict, urging both Israel and the Palestinians to implement it.

"The Egyptian proposal is the real chance to find a solution to the crisis in Gaza and to end the bloodshed," Sisi said in a televised joint news conference with Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi.

"Time is limited, and we have to make full use of it to stop the bloodshed of Palestinians as soon as possible," he added.

The Israeli offensive on the Gaza Strip has been going on for 25 days, leaving 1,654 Palestinians dead and 8,900 others wounded, Palestinian health authorities said on Saturday.

Ashraf al-Qedra, the health ministry spokesman in Gaza, told reporters that two-thirds of the dead and wounded were civilians, including women, children and the elderly.

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