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    15-Jul-2019

Egyptian delegation seeks to prevent new Gaza flare-up

 

Reuters

 

RAMALLAH, Palestinian Territories — Egyptian security officials have held talks with Palestinian leaders in recent days in part to prevent a new flare-up of tensions between Israel and the Gaza Strip, Palestinian officials said on Sunday.
 
The Egyptian delegation led by deputy intelligence chief Ayman Badie was in the Gaza Strip on Friday and Saturday and the occupied West Bank on Saturday, the officials said.
 
A statement on Saturday from Islamist movement Hamas said the discussions included talks on "understandings with the enemy" — a reference to a fragile ceasefire with Israel tested in recent days.
 
Contacted on Sunday, a Hamas official said the movement did not want to comment further beyond its official statements.
 
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas met with the delegation in Ramallah on Saturday on the Gaza-Israel ceasefire and attempts to heal the long-existing division between Hamas and Abbas’ Fateh, official Palestinian news agency WAFA said.
 
Fresh tensions were feared after Israel shot dead a Hamas member on Thursday along the border with the Gaza Strip, prompting the Islamist movement to vow revenge.
 
Israel later signalled it had fired in error, saying an initial inquiry showed soldiers misidentified a Hamas security agent as “an armed terrorist and fired as a result of this misunderstanding”.
 
On Friday night, Israel’s military claimed that two rockets were fired from the Gaza Strip into Israeli territory, but no damage or injuries were reported.
 
Earlier in the day, at least 33 Palestinians were shot and wounded during weekly demonstrations and clashes along the Gaza-Israel border, according to the Hamas-run health ministry.
 
Under a fragile ceasefire brokered by Egyptian and UN officials following a severe flare-up in May, Israel is meant to ease aspects of its blockade on the strip in exchange for relative calm.
 
At least 295 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire in Gaza since major Hamas-backed protests began along the border fence in March 2018.
 
Most were killed during the protests and clashes but others died in air strikes or tank fire.
 
Six Israelis have been killed.
 
Israel and Hamas have fought three wars since 2008.
 
 

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