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Officials: Arab League chief, ministers to visit Gaza on Tuesday

Nov. 18, 2012 3:25 P.M. (Updated: Nov. 19, 2012 2:04 P.M.)
CAIRO (Reuters) -- The head of the Arab League and a group of Arab foreign ministers will visit Gaza on Tuesday to show solidarity with Palestinians under Israeli attack, officials said on Sunday.

Arab league ministers had called at an earlier meeting for a mission to go to Gaza. Arab League chief Nabil al-Arabi told reporters in Cairo the visit would take place on Tuesday. A League source said al-Arabi would lead the delegation.

The source also said that al-Arabi set the date of the visit in coordination with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and the names of the traveling ministers would be announced later.

In an urgent meeting in Cairo on Saturday, the Arab ministers gave their backing to Egyptian efforts to secure a truce between the Israelis and the Palestinians.

They also condemned the Israeli offensive in Gaza that started last Wednesday and has killed over 50 Palestinians and wounded hundreds, according to Palestinian officials. More than 500 rockets fired from Gaza have hit Israel, killing three civilians and wounding dozens.

Turkish Prime Minster Tayyip Erdogan, who is currently visiting Cairo, also called for a truce between the Palestinians and Israel at a business forum on Sunday. "We want a synchronized ceasefire," Erdogan told a group of Egyptian and Turkish businessmen.

"I call upon Israel and Gaza. The ceasefire agreement should be established within 24 hours... The embargoes should be abolished in a gradual way. And these talks should start within 90 days," he added.

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