Abbas to meet Hamas leaders in Cairo

Abbas "wants a ceasefire to end the Israeli aggression on the Gaza Strip," senior Fatah leader Nabil Shaath told a Wednesday press conference in Ramallah.

Abbas to meet Hamas leaders in Cairo


Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is set to meet with Hamas leaders Khaled Meshaal and Moussa Abu Marzouq in Cairo this week to discuss an Egyptian proposal for a ceasefire between Israel and Gaza-based Palestinian resistance factions.

Abbas "wants a ceasefire to end the Israeli aggression on the Gaza Strip," senior Fatah leader Nabil Shaath told a Wednesday press conference in Ramallah.

Abbas is due to arrive in Cairo later Wednesday for a three-day visit during which he is slated to meet with Arab League Secretary-General Nabil al-Arabi, Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi and Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry.

Hamas, for its part, has yet to comment on Shaath's remarks regarding the planned meeting.

"Abbas' talks in Cairo will focus on a ceasefire and how to stop Israel's barbaric attack on Gaza," Shaath said.

"He will then travel to Turkey for a meeting with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan before heading to the Gulf region," he added.

Blair also arrives in Cairo for Gaza ceasefire talks

Quartet envoy Tony Blair arrived in Cairo on Saturday for talks with Egyptian officials on means of promoting a ceasefire between Israel and Palestinian resistance factions in the embattled Gaza Strip.

According to sources at Cairo airport, Blair arrived from Israel, where he had spent two days discussing the situation in Gaza with Israeli officials.

The former British prime minister is now set to meet with Egyptian officials with whom he is expected to discuss a recent Egyptian ceasefire proposal.

It is Blair's second visit to Cairo within five days.

Since July 7, Israeli warplanes have pounded the Gaza Strip with the ostensible aim of ending Palestinian rocket fire from the besieged coastal enclave.

At least 208 Palestinians, mostly civilians, have been killed in unrelenting aerial attacks by Israel while more than 1500 have been injured, many seriously.

Gaza-based resistance factions, meanwhile, have continued to fire rockets at Israel – some of which have reached Tel Aviv – in response to the crippling airstrikes.

Since Israel's air campaign began last week, one Israeli has been killed as a result of rocket fire from Gaza.

The ongoing operation, dubbed "Operation Protective Edge," is Israel's third major offensive against the embattled Gaza Strip – which is home to some 1.8 million Palestinians – in the last six years.

On Monday, Egypt proposed a ceasefire between Israel and Gaza-based resistance factions, to come into effect on Tuesday at 6am GMT.

Cairo's initiative called on Israel to cease all hostilities in the Gaza Strip, halt all ground operations and refrain from targeting civilians, according to an Egyptian Foreign Ministry statement.

It also called on Palestinian resistance factions to cease hostilities against Israel, halt rocket fire and cross-border attacks and stop targeting civilians.

The overture further calls for reopening Gaza's closed border crossings and facilitating the movement of persons and goods in and out of the embattled coastal strip.

Israel accepted the ceasefire before quickly making a U-turn and resuming its deadly airstrikes on Tuesday, citing failure from Hamas and Islamic Jihad to respond positively to the initiative.

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