Israel agrees to brief bombing break in Gaza
The daily three-hour pause comes amid indications that cease-fire talks may be near.
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Mr. Mubarak said the new plan includes a cease-fire for a specific period in order to allow the delivery of urgent aid and to give Egypt time to broker a permanent halt to hostilities, reports the Associated Press. The warring sides would meet to try to resolve underlying issues such as securing Gaza's borders, reopening crossings and ending Israel's "siege," he said. Egypt brokered a cease-fire between Hamas and Israel that expired last month.Skip to next paragraph
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U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice told the [UN] Security Council that the United States, Israel's closest ally, understands "the urgency of an end to the fighting" and is working around the clock to achieve it.
But she cautioned that any solution must include an end to Hamas rocket and mortar attacks on southern Israel, the opening of all borders in Gaza, and an end to arms smuggling into the Palestinian territory.
Sakorzy also met Syrian President Bashar al-Assad Tuesday during his diplomatic tour. Along with Iran, Syria is seen as a key backer of Hamas. In an interview with CNN, Mr. Assad said an Israeli pullout was needed to bring Hamas to the table.
"They are ready [to make a deal]," Al-Assad told CNN's Cal Perry in an exclusive interview. "They were ready, they are ready. Today, the factors have changed so the requirement will change at the same time.
"We cannot talk about the same condition, like what happened a few years ago. Otherwise, we'll keep moving from a cease-fire to another conflict to another breaking of this cease-fire and so on. The more blood you have, the more difficult to talk about peace will be."
Al Qaeda, on the other hand, in an Internet message posted Tuesday, called for strikes on Western and Israeli targets worldwide in retaliation for the Gaza conflict, according to Reuters. US President-elect Barack Obama received a pointed critique.
"Hit the interests of the Zionists and crusaders wherever and in whichever way you can," [Al Qaeda second-in-command] Ayman al-Zawahri said in an audio tape posted on Islamist websites....
"We are keen to realize the vow of our Sheikh Osama bin Laden ... that America or anyone living there won't be able to even dream of security until we truly experience it in Palestine and until all infidel armies leave the lands of (Prophet) Mohammad," Zawahri [sic] said, citing a bin Laden message in 2001.