Jerusalem: An Israeli cabinet minister said on Thursday that a pullout of troops from Gaza was not imminent and that Israel`s army would continue hunting Palestinian cross-border tunnels under any humanitarian truce.
Egyptians mediating between Israel and Gaza`s dominant Hamas Islamists have said hostilities could be suspended, perhaps by the Muslim Eid al-Fitr festival early next week, to allow aid to reach the territory and to faciliate more permanent truce talks.
"I do not see a ceasefire in the coming days where the IDF (Israel Defence Forces) leave," Science Minister Yaakov Peri, a former security chief, told the Walla news site, adding that troops needed more time to complete their mission of destroying cross-border tunnels used by Gaza guerrillas.
"Even if there is a humanitarian truce, we would continue tackling the tunnels," he said. "I can say authoritatively that two or three days will not be enough to finish tackling the tunnels."