Egypt intelligence chief expected in occupied Palestinian territories after Israel-Gaza truce

Egypt's intelligence chief Abbas Kamel is expected to meet Palestinian leadership in the occupied Palestinian territories. PHOTO: AFP

RAMALLAH, PALESTINIAN TERRITORIES (AFP) - Egypt's intelligence chief Abbas Kamel was expected in the occupied Palestinian territories Sunday (May 30), a Palestinian minister said, after an Egyptian-brokered ceasefire ended a flare-up of fighting between Israel and Gaza's rulers Hamas.

Mr Kamel was set to meet with Palestinian leadership, Palestinian civil affairs minister Hussein al-Sheikh said on Twitter, following the truce on May 21 that ended 11 days of deadly exchange of fire between Israel and armed Palestinian groups that ravaged the besieged coastal enclave.

"Abbas Kamel arrives today in Palestine to consult with the Palestinian leadership on the latest developments after the recent aggression and its repercussions," Mr Sheikh said on Twitter.

He would also "discuss what Jerusalem and its sanctities are exposed to, and the Gaza reconstruction, and the Palestinian national dialogue," he added.

Israeli public radio reported that Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi was headed to Cairo, and that Mr Kamel was travelling to Israel.

Egypt's foreign ministry confirmed Israel's top diplomat was visiting Cairo.

Palestinians have been politically divided between Hamas and its rival Fatah, but analysts say the latest escalation in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has served to unite the geographically fragmented Palestinian community in a way not seen in years.

The flare-up was the result of increased tensions in Jerusalem, including over Israeli security forces cracking down on Palestinians inside the Al-Aqsa mosque compound, Islam's third holiest site, which is also revered by Jews as the Temple Mount.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has pledged US$500 million (S$661 million) to help reconstruction efforts in the densely populated Gaza Strip, which was pummelled by Israeli air strikes.

Israeli strikes on the enclave killed 248 Palestinians, including 66 children, the Gaza health ministry says.

Rockets and other fire from Gaza claimed 12 lives in Israel, including one child and an Arab-Israeli teenager, medics say.

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