(dpa) - Hamas movement will give Egypt its final decision on a ceasefire with Israel on Thursday, a spokesman for the militant Islamist movement said Tuesday.
Salah al-Bardaweel, a Hamas spokesman, said a Gaza-based delegation from Hamas, who left for talks about a truce with the Egyptian officials and with Khaled Mashaal, the exiled Hams leader, is expected to meet Egyptian intelligence head Omar Suleiman later this week.
Egypt, according to reports, has been mediating a ceasefire between the Palestinian militants, led by Hamas, in the Gaza Strip who have been regularly launching cross-border rockets, and Israel, which has been attacking the Strip with airstrikes ands ground forays.
Hamas has long angled for a truce, but Israel is hesitant, fearing the militants will use the time to rearm and reorganise. Israel is also loathe to be seen as having even indirect contacts with Hamas, which it boycotts over the organizations refusal to change its charter to recognise the Jewish state's right to exist.
Although former US President Jimmy Carter said Monday Hamas was prepared to live in peace alongside Israel, Mashaal was quick to add that the movement was only interested in a 10-year truce and would not recognise Israel.
Israel has said it will halt its attacks on and in the Strip, if the militants halt their almost-daily rocket and mortar attacks.
Hamas has also demanded the truce apply to the West Bank, where Israel regularly conducts search and arrest raids, but Israel rejects this condition.
But al-Bardaweel indicated that Hamas is now prepared to give up on this demand, when he said the Israel should not be allowed to respond in the Gaza Strip to a "distinguished" attack against Israeli targets in the West Bank.
"The lull in Gaza Strip alone has its price and a full truce has its price too," he said.
Another Hamas spokesman, Ismail Radwan, said any truce agreement with Israel should be "comprehensive and mutual" and had to include Israel lifting its blockade on the Gaza Strip, tightened last June when Hamas gunmen routed forces in the salient loyal to President Mahmoud Abbas.
Israel has intensified the siege in response to intensified rocket attacks from the salient, although it allows trucks carrying humanitarian aid through.
But the head of the Gaza fuel authority, Kan'an Obaid, said Tuesday that Gaza's sole power station will stop functioning on Wednesday evening because of a lack of fuel.
Israel cut off fuel supplies to the salient after militants attacked the Nahal Oz fuel delivery depot, on the Gaza border, on April 9, killing two Israeli civilians.
With enough fuel, the Gaza power plant produces between 50 to 80 megawatts of power. The bulk of the electricity in the Strip comes directly from Israel - 120 megawatts - and Egypt, which provides 20 megawatts to the southern Gaza Strip.