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Abbas to meet Egypt's Sisi over Gaza crisis

July 17, 2014 4:16 P.M. (Updated: July 18, 2014 5:09 P.M.)
CAIRO (AFP) -- President Mahmoud Abbas was to meet Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi on Thursday amid intensifying efforts to end the deadly Israeli military offensive on Gaza.

The meeting, announced by Egypt's presidency, comes as Israel and Hamas had agreed to briefly halt hostilities Thursday on humanitarian grounds.

The brief respite comes on the 10th day of Israel's Operation Protective Edge, launched on July 8.

So far 227 Palestinians have died in the operation, according to Gaza medics. In the same period, one Israeli died in cross-border rocket fire.

Cairo has once again become a diplomatic hub to end the fighting in Gaza after Egypt initially proposed a failed truce without consulting Hamas.

Abbas on Wednesday in Cairo met Hamas deputy leader Mousa Abu Marzouq, who insisted on changes to the Egyptian truce plan including guarantees on opening border crossings to the besieged Gaza Strip.

The initiative called for a return to an Egyptian-brokered 2012 ceasefire that ended eight days of fighting, and loosened border restrictions on goods for the blockaded Gaza Strip.

Egypt has kept the Rafah border crossing with Gaza closed during Israel's assault on the coastal territory, which has injured over 1,800 people.

Hamas says that it was not consulted on a failed Egyptian mediated ceasefire initiative, which Israel accepted.

Ma'an staff contributed to this report
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