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Egyptian prime minister arrives in Gaza

Nov. 16, 2012 8:57 A.M. (Updated: Nov. 16, 2012 10:30 P.M.)
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Egyptian Prime Minister Hisham Kandil arrived in the Gaza Strip on Friday amid a two-day Israeli military offensive in the enclave.

Kandil entered Gaza through Egypt's Rafah crossing and was greeted by Gaza officials. Yousef Rizqa, an adviser to the Gaza premier, told assembled reporters the visit was highly significant during the bombardment of Gaza, and would sent an important message to Israel.

Israel has said it will suspend all military action during Kandil's three-hour visit so long as Gaza militant groups also halt fire.

Kandil told reporters he will meet Gaza premier Ismail Haniyeh to discuss several issues, including the situation of civilians in Gaza.

During the three-hour tour, Kandil will visit Gaza's main hospital al-Shifa, and offer condolences to the family of assassinated Hamas commander Ahmad al-Jaabari.

Israel's targeted killing of al-Jaabari on Wednesday prompted an intense bombardment of the coastal enclave, killing 19 Palestinians. Gaza militants have fired barrages of rockets into Israel, killing three Israelis.

Israeli media reported that more than 20 rockets fell in Israel's southern Eshkol region on Friday morning, with no reports of injuries.
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