Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak has dispatched an envoy to Egypt for talks on extending an expiring truce deal with Palestinian militant groups in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip, local daily The Jerusalem Post reported Sunday.
The Sunday trip to Cairo by Major General Amos Gilad came five days before the end of the first six-month phase of the Egypt-brokered Gaza truce, which has been rattled by resumed tit-for-tat attacks between the Israeli army and Gazan militants during the past five weeks.
Despite recent flare-ups, Israeli officials, including Barak, have voiced readiness to extend the ceasefire, while warning Gazan militant groups of harsh responses to their firing.
Meanwhile, Israeli defense officials were quoted by newspaper Ha'aretz as saying that they were expecting a tense week along the Israel-Gaza border, assuming that while Hamas will seek to extend the ceasefire, the Islamic organization will try to alter the terms of the agreement.
Earlier this week, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert met with Barak and Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni to discuss whether to renew the Gaza ceasefire, yet no detail was made public.