Egypt, Hamas: Violence May End in Hours

November 20, 2012, Tuesday // 06:31
Bulgaria: Egypt, Hamas: Violence May End in Hours
Palestinian families evacuate their homes following an Israeli airstrike Tuesday in Gaza City. More than 100 Palestinians have been killed in the weeklong attacks, the Gaza Ministry of Health says. Photo by Getty Images

An outcome of talks to halt violence between Israel and militants in Gaza could come within hours, a Hamas spokesman said.

"It's in the hands now of the Israelis," Osama Hamdan, Hamas spokesman in Beirut, told CNN following negotiation efforts by Egypt.

"It's in the hands now of the Israelis. I think the Egyptians are waiting for some support, promised support, from the United States in order to make an end for that. So we expect to have an outcome of this issue today as President Morsy has said."

Egyptian President Mohamed Morsy said earlier, "The travesty of the Israel aggression on Gaza will end in a few hours."

Israel did not immediately confirm any plans to halt military actions, a response to numerous rocket attacks from militants in Gaza that have long plagued Israel.

Egypt has been working to negotiate a cease-fire to end the seven days of intense fighting, but Morsy did not say what his statement was based on.

An Israeli official said earlier that Israel was holding off on a ground offensive to give diplomatic efforts time.

While Israeli troops are ready near the Gaza border, Israel has decided "to give time -- limited time -- for a diplomatic solution" before potentially launching a ground offensive, an Israeli official close to the negotiations said. "That solution must result in no more Hamas rockets fired on Israel."

Hamda, the Hamas spokesman in Lebanon, said Hamas' actions have been "a good lesson for the Israeli government. It's not good to attack the Palestinians, expecting that they will not react against the attack."

Asked whether Hamas would accept Israel's right to exist, Hamdan said the Palestinian people would not consider it without an end to occupation.

Earlier in the day, Mohammed al-Deif, a commander of the al Qassam Brigades -- Hamas' military wing -- said of Israel, "The ground operation that they keep threatening of waging will be the greatest hope to release our prisoners." He said the brigades' operation "will be the starting point for the next phase to liberate Palestine."

On Twitter, the brigades quoted him as saying the "Zionist enemy would pay high price for his crimes in Gaza."


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