Olmert rejects Gaza Strip invasion

June 11, 2008 at 9:46 AM
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JERUSALEM, June 11 (UPI) -- Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said Wednesday he has shelved plans to launch an invasion of the Gaza Strip and will give truce talks with Hamas more time.

Olmert's spokesman, Mark Regev, released a statement saying that although the government won't move on a much-anticipated decision to invade Gaza in an attempt to stop rocket and mortar fire aimed at Israeli settlements, the preparations for military action will continue, the Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported.

The announcement came after a Cabinet meeting to discuss the status of the Egyptian-brokered cease-fire talks between Israel and Hamas. Israeli Vice Prime Minister Haim Ramon earlier the day called for a broad military campaign to dislodge Hamas from the Gaza Strip and Jordan's King Abdullah II warned against it, the newspaper said.

"Any vast Israeli military operation in Gaza poses a great danger to the security and stability in the Mideast and drastically harms efforts to achieve peace," Abdullah said in a news release.

Sources told Haaretz that some Israeli leaders believe the government will adopt an unofficial cease-fire with Hamas rather than formally accept any Egyptian-brokered agreement.

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