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Hamas accepts 24-hour ceasefire to allow food aids into Gaza
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21:34, December 22, 2008

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An Islamic Hamas movement spokesman announced on Monday that Hamas and Palestinian armed groups in theGaza Strip accepted a 24-hour ceasefire with Israel to allow Egyptian food aids into Gaza.

Ayman Taha, Hamas spokesman in Gaza, told reporters that the Palestinian factions had accepted the 24-hour truce with Israel "to allow several trucks loaded with food into Gaza through Rafah border crossing."

Meanwhile, the London-based al-Hayat newspaper of Saudi Arabia quoted Egyptian sources as saying that Cairo has asked Hamas to accept a cessation of rocket attacks on Israel for 24 hours.

The sources told the Saudi daily that Egypt wants to send around 80 truckloads of food and fuel aids to the Gaza population through the Israeli-controlled Kerem Shalom crossing on the border between Egypt and Israel.

A six-month truce, brokered by Egypt between Israel and Gaza militant groups, expired on Friday following failed efforts to resume the truce or extend it for another six months.

Before the truce between the two sides, Israel has imposed a tight blockade on Gaza. It has barred all kinds of food products and fuels into the enclave, saying the blockade was in response to rockets fire from Gaza at Israel.

Earlier, Qatari satellite channel of al-Jazeera reported that Egypt's First Lady Suzanne Mubarak decided to send aids to the Gaza Strip, which has been under a tight Israeli blockade for several weeks.

Israel has not yet agreed to allow the 80 Egyptian aid-laden trucks through the Israeli-controlled crossing of Kerem Shalom.

It is the first contact between Egypt and Hamas movement, which rules the Gaza Strip, since Hamas refused to attend the national Palestinian dialogue due to be held in Cairo on Nov. 10.

Source: Xinhua

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