Palestinian president to meet Sisi over Gaza crisis

Photo: Palestinian president to meet Sisi over Gaza crisis
 / Arab-Israel Relations

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas was to meet Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi Thursday amid intensifying efforts to end the deadly Israeli military offensive on Gaza, AFP reported.

The meeting, announced by Egypt's presidency, comes as Israel and Hamas, the Palestinian Islamist movement that is the main power in Gaza, agreed to briefly halt hostilities Thursday on humanitarian grounds.

The brief respite comes on the 10th day of Israel's Operation Protective Edge, launched on July 8 to stamp out rocket fire from Gaza militants.

So far 227 Palestinians have died in the operation, according to Gaza medics. In the same period, one Israeli died in cross-border rocket fire.

Cairo has once again become a diplomatic hub to end the fighting in Gaza after Egypt initially proposed a failed truce without consulting Hamas.

Abbas met Hamas deputy leader Mussa Abu Marzuq in Cairo Wednesday, who insisted on changes to the Egyptian truce plan including guarantees on opening border crossings to the besieged Gaza Strip.

The initiative called for a return to an Egyptian-brokered 2012 cease-fire that ended eight days of fighting, and loosened border restrictions on goods for the blockaded Gaza Strip.

Israel initially accepted the Egyptian initiative but later intensified its airstrikes after Hamas rejected the plan, saying it had not been consulted.

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