Cairo leading intense push for Israel-Hamas ceasefire

Haaretz reports: Cairo was leading intense efforts to reach a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, Senior Egyptian sources told Haaretz on Saturday. The efforts, they said, were led by Egyptian Intelligence Minister Rafat Shehata.

Shehata has been conducting meetings in the Egyptian capital with the head of Hamas’ politburo Khaled Meshal and his deputy Moussa Abu Marzuk. According to the sources, Egyptian intelligence hopes to achieve agreement on a ceasefire that could go into effect within the next 24-48 hours.

It was not yet clear what the principles of this ceasefire would be, but it’s possible that Egypt will agree to a gesture toward Hamas by lifting some of the limitations it places on the entrance of goods through the Rafah crossing.

The reported push for lull in fighting began on Friday, as soon as Egyptian Prime Minister Hesham Kandil culminated his visit to the Gaza Strip.

As part of the efforts to reach ceasefire agreement between the sides, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Qatar’s Emir Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, and Egyptian President Mohammad Morsi were holding a meeting in Cairo.

Hamas’ political leader Khaled Meshal was also in Cairo, along with Ramdan Shallah, the Islamic Jihad secretary-general. Tunisian Foreign Minister Rafik Abdesslem who is visiting in Gaza, is expected to arrive in Cairo later on Saturday.

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