Hamas to respond to ceasefire proposal Thursday (Lead)

April 22nd, 2008 - 8:07 pm ICT by admin  

Gaza, April 22 (DPA) Hamas movement will give Egypt its final decision on a ceasefire with Israel 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 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.

He said a truce was also dependant on 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.

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