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Hamas Orders Militants To Hold Their Fire For 24 Hours

Huffington Post   |  Hanna Ingber Win
First Posted: 12-22-08 01:20 PM   |   Updated: 01-22-09 05:12 AM

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Israel

Hamas has ordered its militants to hold their fire for 24 hours and has expressed interest in renewing its truce with Israel, Al Jazeera reports.

"Hamas and other factions agreed in order to give a chance to the Egyptian mediation and to show that the problem was always on the Israeli side," Ayman Taha, a senior Hamas official told Reuters on Monday.


Taha said that the ceasefire went into effect on Sunday evening, three days after a six-month Egyptian-brokered truce between Israel and Hamas expired.

The AP reports that Hamas has called the ceasefire to see if it has an affect on the blockade of Gaza.

Hamas said militants were told Monday to halt rocket fire for 24 hours to see if Israel would allow vital supplies to be shipped into Gaza.

The International Middle East Media Center reports that the Islamic Jihad Movement has agreed to the ceasefire to allow food and aid into the Gaza Strip.

Khalid Al Batsh, a senior political leader of the Islamic Jihad, said that his movement and the rest of the Palestinian factions agreed to 24-hours of calm. He added that this short period of calm is not an extension to the truce which officially ended of Friday.

The AP also reports that Israel is preparing for a possible escalation of the conflict.

Israel's dispatched diplomats to win international sympathy for the plight of Israelis within range of militant fire _ a reflection of the fact that most world attention has been focused on hardships in Gaza. Since Hamas overran Gaza last year, Israel has severely limited shipments through its crossings with Gaza, and shortages are widespread. Israel accuses Hamas of manipulating supplies for propaganda purposes.


Israel's new diplomatic offensive sends an indirect message to Hamas that Israel is ready to act. Analysts believe both sides want to renew the truce that held for five months before unraveling in November and ending formally on Friday.

Explaining the diplomatic push, Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor said, "People abroad perhaps do not understand the real distress of Israelis in the south who live with the rocket threat. Then you wake up in the morning with an Israeli response, and you don't understand where it came from."


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