23:30 , 06.16.08


To Be Continued...
Photo: AP Abu Marzouk Photo: AP
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Hamas leaves Cairo without answer on truce

Islamist group's delegation demands further clarification prior to committing to final answer on ceasefire. Gaza armed groups say, however, they are genuinely seeking to expedite negotiations
Ali Waked

After yet another day of fighting in southern Israel and the Gaza Strip, Hamas left Cairo on Monday evening without giving Egyptian mediators an answer regarding the burgeoning ceasefire agreement with Israel.

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The Hamas delegation, headed by the organization's deputy politburo chief, Moussa Abu Marzouk, held several meetings with Egyptian intelligence minister, Gen. Omar Suleiman, over the past few days.


This following a similar visit by the head of Israel's Defense Ministry Security-Diplomatic Bureau, Maj. Gen. Amos Gilad.


Gaza officials say the delegation sought more time to confer with Hamas representatives and that another visit to Cairo may be scheduled in the near future. The organization also says it wants further clarification on each of the phases detailed in the ceasefire agreement, particularly the connection between the cessation of hostilities and the opening of Gaza's border crossings.


However, Hamas and the other armed groups in Gaza have all said they do not expect the negotiations to last much longer and their stated intention is to see a truce come into effect as soon as possible.


Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh said earlier on Monday that he believes a successful result is at hand. "The talks under way in Egypt on calm are nearing an end, an end that would bring about what the Palestinian people aspire to – a lifting of the siege, the opening of the crossings and an end to the aggression," said Haniyeh.


Terror groups launched five rockets towards Israel on Monday, one of them an upgraded Qassam that landed in Ashkelon and wounded one man.


The IDF subsequently targeted an armed cell launching rockets in northern Gaza. Palestinian sources reported one gunman killed and another seriously wounded. Earlier in the day IDF troops killed three gunmen spotted advancing towards the border fence in southern Gaza.