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Rocket and air strikes continue as truce talk goes on

Published on Nov 21, 2012 8:38 AM
A picture taken from the southern Israeli border with the Gaza Strip shows Israeli artillery flares illuminating the Palestinian coastal enclave on November 20, 2012. -- PHOTO: AFP

GAZA/JERUSALEM (REUTERS) - Israeli air strikes shook the Gaza Strip and Palestinian rockets struck across the border as United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton held talks in Jerusalem in the early hours of Wednesday, seeking a truce that can hold back Israel's ground troops.

Hamas, the Islamist movement controlling Gaza, and Egypt, whose new, Islamist government is trying to broker a truce, had floated hopes for a ceasefire by late on Tuesday; but by the time Mrs Clinton met Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu it was clear there would be more argument, and more violence, first.

Hamas leaders in Cairo accused the Jewish state of failing to respond to proposals and said an announcement on holding fire would not come before daylight on Wednesday. Israel Radio quoted an Israeli official saying a truce was held up due to "a last-minute delay in the understandings between Hamas and Israel".

An initial halt to attacks may, however, not see the sides stand their forces down from battle stations immediately; Mrs Clinton, who flies to Cairo to see Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi later on Wednesday, spoke of a deal "in the days ahead".

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