Hamas to give Gaza truce response Saturday: Egypt

A Hamas delegation will give a final response to a proposed long-term Gaza truce to Egyptian mediators on Saturday, Egypt's state news agency MENA reported on Thursday.

A Palestinian girl eats as she sits on the rubble of houses that were destroyed during Israel’s 22-day offensive in the Gaza Strip on February 4, 2009 in Jabalia, northern Gaza. (AFP Photo)

"The team will return here on Saturday to inform Egyptian officials on the final stance on the issues," an unnamed official told MENA.

Hamas officials from both Gaza and the Islamist group's exiled leadership in Damascus held two days of talks in Cairo with Omar Suleiman, Egypt's pointman for Israel-Palestinian affairs.

Hamas has said the group is ready to agree to a one-year truce with Israel following the 22-day war in Gaza that ended last month, but has not ruled out an 18-month truce proposed by Egyptian mediators.

Hamas has repeatedly demanded the opening of Gaza's crossings in exchange for a truce. Israel has imposed a crippling blockade on the territory since the Islamists seized control there in June 2007, routing forces loyal to Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas.

MENA said the truce agreement would provide for opening the border crossings, resuming inter-Palestinian dialogue and rebuilding Gaza.

Cairo had proposed February 5 as a start date for a long-term truce between Gaza-based militants and Israel.

Source: AFP

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