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Hamas to respond to truce proposals Saturday: Egypt
Thu Feb 5, 2009 6:42am EST
CAIRO (Reuters) - The Palestinian Islamist group Hamas is expected
to give Egypt its response to proposals to reach a truce with Israel
Saturday, Egypt's state-run Middle East News Agency (MENA) reported
Thursday.
Talks between Egyptian intelligence officials and a Hamas delegation
ended Wednesday without a deal. Hamas said Israeli proposals for an
agreement, carried through Egypt, were vague.
An unidentified Egyptian official told MENA the Hamas delegation
"will come back to Cairo Saturday to inform the Egyptian officials of
the final response."
Hamas and Israel have held separate talks with Egyptian mediators on
terms for a long-term truce after three weeks of Israeli attacks on the
Gaza Strip and Hamas rocket barrages on southern Israel.
Both sides declared separate ceasefires on January 18 but acts of violence have 
continued.
Hamas wants Israel and Egypt to reopen all Gaza's border crossings
so that people and goods can move freely. Gaza has been under blockade
for most of the time since Hamas took power there in June 2007.
"We have received through the brothers in Egypt an Israeli offer.
This offer has a lot of vagueness," said Mohamed Nasr, a member of the
Hamas delegation to Cairo.
"This offer does not talk about lifting the blockade," he told the Arabic 
television station Al Jazeera.
He said the Egyptians needed time to relay Hamas's questions to Israel.
Senior Hamas official Moussa Abu Marzouk said Wednesday the Israelis
were offering to reopen the crossings at 70 percent capacity but said
Hamas wanted a more precise definition of Israel's commitment.
(Writing by Alaa Shahine)
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