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Israel, Hamas look to end Gaza flare-up

[ 2011-04-11 11:13]     字号 [] [] []  
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Israel and the Gaza Strip's Hamas rulers signaled on Sunday they were looking to end a flare-up in violence that began four days ago with a missile attack on an Israeli school bus and has claimed the lives of 19 Palestinians.

A Palestinian official close to UN- and Egyptian-mediated negotiations said Israel and militant groups in Gaza had agreed terms for a truce to end four days of cross-border violence in which 19 Palestinian militants and civilians were killed.

"Palestinian factions have agreed to halt rocket fire and Israel agreed to cease attacks on the Gaza Strip," the official said.

Israel had no immediate comment, but a senior official suggested a tacit deal may have been reached.

"What happens from here on is up to the other side," the Israeli official told reporters in Tel Aviv, speaking on condition of anonymity. "It seems calmer now, but it is still not clear where this is going."

"We will judge the other side over the next few days. The extent to which Hamas controls the other militant groups will affect the way we choose to act," the Israeli official added.

Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak said earlier Hamas had already been hit hard and a ceasefire might be the way to go.

"If they stop firing on our communities, we will stop firing. If they stop firing in general, it will be quiet, it will be good," Barak said on Israel Radio.

The fighting since Hamas militants fired an anti-tank rocket at an Israeli school bus, critically injuring a teenager, has stoked fears of a larger escalation that could include an Israeli ground incursion in Gaza reminiscent of the war in 2008.

Despite behind-the-scenes intervention by Egypt and a UN envoy in search of a ceasefire, militants fired at least eight rockets at Israel on Sunday, in addition to more than 120 in the previous two days, Israeli police and military officials said.

There were no reported Israeli air strikes on Gaza on Sunday.


(中国日报网英语点津 Helen 编辑)

Israel, Hamas look to end Gaza flare-up

About the broadcaster:

Israel, Hamas look to end Gaza flare-up

Lee Hannon is Chief Editor at China Daily with 15-years experience in print and broadcast journalism. Born in England, Lee has traveled extensively around the world as a journalist including four years as a senior editor in Los Angeles. He now lives in Beijing and is happy to move to China and join the China Daily team.