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French, Italian leaders urge immediate truce in Gaza


11:05, November 22, 2012

PARIS, Nov. 21 (Xinhua) -- French President Francois Hollande and visiting Italian counterpart Giorgio Napolitano urged an immediate ceasefire in Gaza Strip and to reach a lasting truce crucial to resume deadlock peace talks.

In a joint statement, both leaders said "determined to play an active role in intensifying their contacts with all parties engaged in efforts to reach a durable ceasefire."

"We believe that a truce must be set quickly in order to create the conditions for the resumption of an open and constructive dialogue between Israelis and Palestinians," they added.

While diplomatic efforts continued to press for truce in Gaza as discussions dragged on, fresh Israeli explosions rocked on Wednesday the Strip and a bus exploded in Tel Aviv injuring 15 people.

"Our countries are determined ... to contribute to the efforts led by Europe, the United States and the international community to advance the cause of peace in a region that is close to us and which is threatened by increasing and extremely serious dangers," they said.

Earlier report said that the death toll of Palestinians in Israeli air raids since Nov. 14 has reached 146, with over 1,200 wounded, while five Israelis were killed due to rockets fired by Gaza militants.

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