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Reserve troops on border Photo: Gil Yohanan
Reserve troops on border Photo: Gil Yohanan
 
IDF bombings in Gaza Photo: EPA
IDF bombings in Gaza Photo: EPA
 
 

Top ministers prefer lull to ground offensive in Gaza

Senior state official says forum of top nine ministers decided to attempt to reach lull

Attila Somfalvi
Published: 11.20.12, 09:19 / Israel News

While the massive firing of rockets at Israel's south continues alongside IDF airstrikes in Gaza it appears Operation Pillar of Defense may be drawing to an end. A senior state official said that the forum of top nine ministers has decided that Israel will attempt to reach a lull.

 

"The goal is to reach a ceasefire and discontinue the operation," the official said. The ministers discussed the Egyptian proposal for a truce until 4 am. An official statement about the contents of the meeting has yet to be issued.

 

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Meanwhile, a heavy barrage of Gaza rockets was fired at Israel Tuesday morning. The Iron Dome system intercepted at least nine of the 16 rockets fired at Beersheba since 7:30 am. Three grads landed in the city. One of the rockets landed near a bus, which sustained shrapnel damage.

 

Another rocket damaged a vehicle and a third hit a soccer field. No injuries were reported but several people suffered from anxiety. Two rockets were fired at Ashkelon; one was intercepted and another landed in an open area. Rockets were also fired at Ofakim.

 

Also Tuesday, al-Arabiya reported that Israel and the Palestinian factions are expected to sign a ceasefire agreement within a matter of hours. It was also reported that preparations for the signing are already underway in Cairo. The report could not be confirmed by any other source.

 

According to al-Arabiya, Israel asked Egypt to play the role of mediator during a 24-48- hour ceasefire before the final agreement is signed. Sources told the network that the agreement includes the lifting of the Gaza blockade and the opening of various crossings.

 

Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi will vouch for the deal. An Israeli state official said Tuesday that the "IDF will continue to act with force in the Gaza Strip.

 

Before deciding about a ground invasion (Prime Minister) Netanyahu intends to exhaust the diplomatic route in order to explore the possibility of a prolonged ceasefire."

 

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will meet with the German foreign minister and other world leaders on Tuesday.

 

Roi Kais contributed to this report

 

 

 

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