Turkey brokers restoration of Gaza calm: Hamas official

17:09, March 29, 2011      

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Turkey has contributed to preventing the heightened tension in the Gaza Strip from developing into an all-out military confrontation, a Hamas official said on Monday.

Contacts between Turkey and the two sides, namely Israel and the Hamas, helped to bring Gaza factions and Israel back to a kind of cease-fire that has lasted for two years, a Hamas official told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.

Turkey alerted the Hamas that Israel will launch a large-scale military operation against Gaza if militants continue firing rockets from there, the Hamas then asked the Turkish government to mediate between it and Israel, Ankara accepted the request and succeeded in calming down the situation after intensive contacts with concerned sides, the official added.

On Saturday, Palestinian militant groups announced they decided to stop firing rockets into Israel after a week of violence that killed 10 Gazans, including four civilians.

The shaky cease-fire has been in place since Israel ended a three-week offensive against the enclave in 2009. Several days ago, the Hamas suddenly broke the lull, firing tens of mortar shells and crude missiles at Israeli army posts and Jewish communities near Gaza.

Source: Xinhua

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