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Egypt calls on Israelis, Palestinians to halt fire as violence continues

Egypt calls on Israelis, Palestinians to halt fire as violence continues

PanARMENIAN.Net - Egypt called on Israel and the Palestinians on Saturday, Aug 23, to halt fire and resume ceasefire talks, but violence continued unabated with Israeli air strikes in the Gaza Strip and Hamas militants firing rockets at the Jewish state, Reuters reported.

A senior Egyptian diplomat said Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas had informed Sisi that Hamas was prepared to come to Cairo for further talks, but Hamas did not immediately confirm the report. Israel also had no immediate comment.

Gaza health officials said five people, including two children, were killed in an Israeli strike on a house in central Gaza. Four more Palestinians were killed in other strikes.

The Israeli military said it bombed about 20 targets across the Hamas-dominated strip, including rocket launchers and weapon caches. It said Gaza militants had fired more than 40 rockets at Israel and no Israeli casualties were reported.

Indirect ceasefire talks mediated by Egypt to end the deadly six-week conflict collapsed on Tuesday after rockets were fired from Gaza during a truce and Israel responded with air strikes.

The Egyptian Foreign Ministry issued a short statement on Saturday calling on both sides to resume talks. Palestinian President Abbas, in Cairo after meeting President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, also urged swift resumption of negotiations.

The Egyptian diplomat said Cairo expected to receive responses from both Israel and Hamas, the Islamist militant group which dominates Gaza, by Monday, according to Reuters.

Hamas has said it will not stop fighting until the Israeli-Egyptian blockade on Gaza is lifted.

Both Israel and Egypt view Hamas as a security threat and are reluctant to make sweeping concessions without guarantees weapons will not enter the economically-crippled enclave.

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