Palestinians arrive in Cairo for Gaza truce talks
A senior Palestinian delegation arrived in Cairo to discuss a truce in the Gaza Strip, even though Israel has said it would not send representatives for the talks.
Cairo: A senior Palestinian delegation arrived in Cairo on Sunday to discuss a truce in the Gaza Strip, even though Israel has said it would not send representatives for the talks.
The Palestinian delegation, which included the Palestinian Authority`s spy chief Majid Faraj, will be joined by Hamas representatives and meet Egyptian officials on Sunday.
US Middle East envoy Frank Lowenstein was also expected to arrive in Egypt`s capital for talks on ending the 26-day conflict in Gaza, which has so far claimed more than 1,670 Palestinian lives and displaced up to a quarter of the territory`s population.
Israel had been invited to send a delegation, but a senior political official quoted by army radio accused Gaza`s Hamas rulers of not being "interested in an arrangement" after a temporary ceasefire broke down on Friday.
Israel has instead begun to pull back troops towards the border of the small enclave, with some commentators suggesting the pullback could signal the start of a unilateral Israeli withdrawal.
The Palestinian delegation will discuss their demands with Egyptian mediators on Sunday, including a call for the end of an eight-year blockade of Gaza and the release of Palestinian prisoners.
Israel called off its participation after accusing Hamas of abducting one of its soldiers on Friday after a 72-hour ceasefire went into effect.
Hamas denied knowledge of the soldier`s whereabouts. And suggested he had perhaps been captured in fighting and then killed in subsequent Israel bombardment alongside Palestinian militants.