Israelis in Egypt for Gaza ceasefire talks

Thursday, January 08, 2009 |  Israel Today Staff

Israeli defense officials traveled to Cairo on Thursday to discuss the basic details of an Egyptian-French ceasefire initiative for Gaza.

The plan calls for a temporary ceasefire and the opening of all Gaza border crossing to massive humanitarian aid, followed by negotiations on a permanent truce.

The Israeli government voiced approval for the ceasefire efforts, but stopped short of outright accepting the proposal.

Israel and the US are pushing for the official wording of the plan to include demands for an immediate and permanent halt to Hamas rocket attacks on southern Israel and a cessation of arms smuggling under the Gaza-Egypt border.

Israel views those two demands as the minimum requirements for a ceasefire.

Meanwhile, Israeli forces continued to attack Hamas targets in and around Gaza City. One Israeli officer and several of his soldiers were wounded when Hamas terrorists they were battling fired an anti-tank missile at them.

Israeli forces also intensified operations against arms smuggling tunnels in the southern Gaza border town of Rafah.

Hamas and its allied terror groups fired several dozen missiles and mortar shells at southern Israel on Thursday. Four Israelis were wounded when a mortar shell hit their community.

A school in the coastal city of Ashkelon also suffered a direct hit, but was empty at the time.

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