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Abbas to meet Egypt's Sisi over Gaza crisis

17 July 2014, 15:05

Cairo - Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas was to meet Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi on Thursday amid intensifying efforts to end the deadly Israeli military offensive on Gaza.

The meeting, announced by Egypt's presidency, comes as Israel and Hamas, the Palestinian Islamist movement that is the main power in Gaza, agreed to briefly halt hostilities on Thursday on humanitarian grounds.

The brief respite comes on the 10th day of Israel's Operation Protective Edge, launched on 8 July to stamp out rocket fire from Gaza militants.

So far 227 Palestinians have died in the operation, according to Gaza medics. In the same period, one Israeli died in cross-border rocket fire.

Egyptian truce plan

Cairo has once again become a diplomatic hub to end the fighting in Gaza after Egypt initially proposed a failed truce without consulting Hamas.

Abbas on Wednesday in Cairo met Hamas deputy leader Mussa Abu Marzuq, who insisted on changes to the Egyptian truce plan including guarantees on opening border crossings to the besieged Gaza Strip.

The initiative called for a return to an Egyptian-brokered 2012 ceasefire that ended eight days of fighting, and loosened border restrictions on goods for the blockaded Gaza Strip.

Israel initially accepted the Egyptian initiative but later intensified its air strikes after Hamas rejected the plan, saying it had not been consulted.

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