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Ceasefire Talks 'Still On', Says Egypt

Egypt says its invitation to Israeli and PA delegations for ceasefire talks is still in place despite failure of 72-hour humanitarian truce.
By Elad Benari, Canada
First Publish: 8/2/2014, 1:55 AM

Soldiers deploy near Gaza
Soldiers deploy near Gaza
Flash 90

Egypt said Friday its invitation to Israeli and Palestinian Authority (PA) delegations for talks on a longer-term Gaza ceasefire was "still in place" despite the fact that the 72-hour humanitarian truce had broken down.

At the same time, reported AFP, Egypt condemned Israel for "keeping on targeting innocent Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip".

A proposed three-day truce that began at 0500 GMT collapsed almost as soon as it began as Hamas captured an IDF soldier and killed two others.

Despite the collapse of the ceasefire, PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas said a joint Palestinian delegation, including Hamas and Islamic Jihad, will travel to Cairo on Saturday for ceasefire talks.

The foreign ministry said Cairo was following "with great interest and concern" the latest developments in the Gaza Strip.

It urged all parties to "fully abide by the conditions of the humanitarian truce" which had been announced overnight by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.

Earlier on Friday, Egypt invited the Israeli government and the Palestinian Authority to come to Cairo for longer-term truce talks, with the two teams expected to arrive later in the day.

Islamic Jihad's deputy leader Ziad al-Nakhale told AFP that the Egyptian authorities "postponed" the dialogue after Israel revealed one of its soldiers may have been captured.

But the foreign ministry in Cairo insisted in a new statement later on Friday that its invitation to talks was "still in place".

"Egypt assures that the invitation it sent to the Palestinian Authority and the Israeli government to send their two delegations to Cairo to study all issues of concern... within the framework of the Egyptian initiative is still in place," a ministry statement quoted by AFP said.

The ministry later called on Israel to "stop, immediately and completely, targeting civilians and using excessive and unjustified force" which it said "only complicates matters ... and does not pave the way for a resumption of the negotiations."

Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukri held telephone talks on Friday with Kerry, Abbas and several other Arab leaders to discuss the situation in Gaza, the ministry said.

(Arutz Sheva’s North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)