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Terrorism & Security

Israel launches airstrikes in Gaza Monday

Israel said it was responding to rocket attacks Sunday.

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According to a joint report of the Lebanese daily The Daily Star and Agence France-Presse, a Hamas delegation was supposed to continue negotiations on Monday in Cairo. However, Egyptian demands may present obstacles before the cease-fire agreement is finalized.

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Egypt is hopeful that a Gaza truce accord between Israel and the Palestinian resistance movement Hamas can be reached in the next few days, Foreign Ministry spokesman Hossam Zaki said Sunday. "There are positive signs that in the next few days we will reach an understanding on a truce and a partial reopening of crossing points [into Gaza]," Zaki said....
A Hamas delegation from Gaza led by deposed Foreign Minister Mahmoud Zahar was in Syria on Sunday for consultations on the truce with Damascus-based members of the group's politburo, Hamas official Mohammad Nasr told AFP.
Mohammad Nazzal, a senior Hamas official based in Damascus, told Qatar-based Al-Jazeera television that there are still "obstacles" in the truce talks. He said Egypt is linking the opening of its Rafah border crossing to Gaza with Palestinian reconciliation. Egypt has refused to permanently open the crossing in the absence of EU monitors and representatives of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas....
The delegation is due to return to the Egyptian capital on Monday, the Egyptian Foreign Ministry spokesman said.

Negotiations are expected to continue in Cairo on Tuesday and Wednesday as Hamas representatives are eager to negotiate a cease-fire before a new Israeli government is sworn in.

Meanwhile, politicians in Israel are making final appeals to voters before a general election scheduled for Tuesday, reports the BBC.

The favourite to become prime minister is Binyamin Netanyahu, leader of the right-wing opposition party, Likud.
But his opinion-poll lead has been clawed back in recent weeks by Tzipi Livni, who heads the centrist Kadima, the largest party in the government.
The BBC's Tim Franks, in Jerusalem, says opinion polls suggest the far-right will make the biggest gains.
He says the popularity of Israel Our Home Party led by Avogdor Lieberman is on the increase.
The party advocates annexing Israel's settlements on the West Bank, and redrawing the borders so that Israel's large Arab minority comes under the control of the Palestinian Authority.

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