BEIRUT

Middle East

Palestinian president meets Sisi over Gaza crisis

An Israeli mobile artillery unit fires towards Gaza from outside the northern Gaza Strip, before the start of a five-hour humanitarian cease-fire July 17, 2014. (REUTERS/Baz Ratner)

CAIRO: Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas met Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi Thursday amid intensifying efforts to end the deadly Israeli military offensive on Gaza, a Palestinian official told AFP.

The talks came as Israel and Hamas, the Palestinian Islamist movement that is the main power in Gaza, resumed their strikes, after a brief halt of hostilities Thursday on humanitarian grounds.

More than 230 Palestinians have been killed since Israel launched Operation Protective Edge on July 8 to stamp out rocket fire from Gaza militants, medics say. An Israeli died in cross-border rocket fire.

Details of the meeting between Abbas and Sisi were not immediately available.

Cairo has once again become a diplomatic hub to end the fighting in Gaza after Egypt initially proposed a failed truce without consulting Hamas.

Abbas met in Cairo Wednesday Hamas deputy leader Mussa Abu Marzuq, who insisted on changes to the Egyptian truce plan including guarantees on opening border crossings to the besieged Gaza Strip.

The initiative called for a return to an Egyptian-brokered 2012 cease-fire that ended eight days of fighting, and loosened border restrictions on goods for the blockaded coastal enclave.

Israel initially accepted the Egyptian initiative but later intensified its airstrikes after Hamas rejected the plan, saying it had not been consulted.

 

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