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Palestinian delegation en route to Cairo for ceasefire talks

Aug. 2, 2014 1:38 P.M. (Updated: Aug. 3, 2014 9:47 A.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- A Palestinian delegation on Saturday left the West Bank en route to Cairo for talks aimed at securing a deal to end Israel's ongoing offensive on Gaza, a statement said.

The delegation was originally set to travel to Cairo Friday, but talks were delayed after a temporary ceasefire collapsed with Israel and Hamas blaming each other for breaking it.

A statement from President Mahmoud Abbas' office said that the delegation would consist of 12 representatives of Palestinian factions, headed by senior Fatah official Azzam al-Ahmad.

Hamas officials Mousa Abu Marzouq, Khalil al-Hayya, and Izzat al-Rishiq are expected to meet the delegation in Cairo.

The Islamic Jihad movement will be represented by Ziad al-Nakhala and Khalid al-Batsh.

Abbas himself will not be joining the delegation.

Earlier, President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi said on Saturday an Egyptian truce plan provided a "real chance" to end the Gaza conflict, stressing the need for its speedy implementation.

"The Egyptian proposal is the real chance to find a solution to the crisis in Gaza and to end the bloodshed," Sisi told a joint news conference with visiting Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi.

"Time is decisive, we have to take advantage of it quickly to douse the fire in the (Gaza) Strip ... and to stop the bloodshed of Palestinians."

AFP contributed to this report.
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