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4 more killed in Gaza as truce delayed

Nov. 20, 2012 9:59 A.M. (Updated: Nov. 21, 2012 6:20 A.M.)
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- While political leaders struggled to conclude a truce deal in Cairo, medics said four Palestinians were killed in Israeli airstrikes in the Gaza Strip on Tuesday night, bringing the day's death toll to 27.

Two brothers -- Abed Abu Mour, 24, and Khalid Abu Mour, 19, -- were killed in an Israeli airstrike on the al-Juneina district of Rafah.

An earlier airstrike killed another two brothers in Deir al-Balah, medics said. They were identified as Salim Ayish Abu Sitta and his brother Muhammad.

Meanwhile, witnesses reported heavy artillery shelling in the northern Gaza Strip.

The violence continued unabated as Hamas officials said a ceasefire had been reached and would go into effect within hours.

Three Palestinian journalists were killed when Israel bombed their cars in Gaza City and Deir al-Balah, and another man died in Deir al-Balah.

Israel's army confirmed that an Israeli soldier was killed earlier Tuesday in a rocket attack on south Israel, and Israeli media reported that an Israeli civilian was also killed by a rocket in Beersheba.

A senior Hamas official later said that Egyptian efforts to broker a truce with Israel had been held up because the Israeli government had yet to respond to proposals, indicating there would be no ceasefire until Wednesday at the earliest.

"The Israeli side has not responded yet, so we will not hold a (news) conference this evening and must wait until tomorrow," Ezzat al-Rishq, a senior Hamas leader, told Reuters. "The truce is now held up because we are waiting for the Israeli side to respond," he added in a short telephone interview.

An Egyptian official had earlier said Cairo was hopeful of an agreement on Tuesday, following a statement by Ayman Taha, another Hamas official, that a ceasefire had been agreed.
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