Cairo hosts Israel, Hamas talks

Nov. 27, 2012 at 5:45 AM
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CAIRO, Nov. 27 (UPI) -- Egyptian officials met separately with Israeli and Hamas officials Tuesday in Cairo to discuss the cease-fire in Gaza.

Discussions focused on easing the blockade imposed on Gaza and reopening border crossings between Gaza and Israel, Ahram Online said. Egyptian officials shuttled between delegates to obtain responses as they work toward drafting an agreement, the Egyptian news site said.

There are no deadlines for the talks, al-Quds al-Arabi, an Arabic-language newspaper in London, said.

Hamas officials in Gaza said last weekend Israel must open all border crossings between Gaza and Israel to people and goods. At the same time, they said, Hamas would continue to rearm.

Since the cease-fire went into effect, Israel eased some restrictions, including extending the area in which Gazans are permitted to fish from 3 miles from shore to 6 miles.

Unidentified Egyptian officials told the Palestinian Ma'an News Agency, Raafat Shehata, head of Egypt's intelligence, worked with President Mohamed Morsi for many hours to finalize the cease-fire agreement between Israel and Hamas that went into effect last Wednesday night. The deal brought an end to eight days of rockets fired by Palestinian militants at southern Israel and Israeli air force counter strikes.

Six Israelis and more than 160 Palestinians were killed during Israel's Operation Pillar of Defense.

The officials told the Palestinian news agency while efforts would be made to improve passage via the Rafah border crossing between Gaza and Egypt, it wouldn't remain opened permanently without the presence of a Palestinian Authority representative.

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