Report: Hamas Still in Hiding
Report: Hamas Still in Hiding

Hamas leaders Ismail Haniyeh and Mahmoud A-Zahar are still in hiding, a senior Egyptian official told Al-Hayyat on Friday. The two fear Israel still sees them as a target despite the conclusion of the Cast Lead operation in Gaza, he explained.

Haniyeh, A-Zahar and others went into hiding during the operation as the IDF targeted Hamas leaders and bombed hundreds of the terror group's buildings, weapons caches and tunnels. Among those killed were senior Hamas heads Nizar Rayyan and Said Siam.

The official reported that Israeli political-security official Amos Gilad told Egyptian diplomats that Israel was not interested in a temporary ceasefire deal like the six-month ceasefire (also known as the tahadiyah) in the second half of 2008. Hamas has drastically reduced attacks from Gaza for the time being following a unilateral Israeli ceasefire, but no agreement has been struck. Israel, which does not want to grant Hamas legitimacy as a partner for negotiations, refers to any possible deal as a hasdarah, or 'arrangement.'

Govt. Plans Security Deal

Acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Defense Minister Ehud Barak, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and a number of senior defense officials met Thursday night to discuss the practical details of a security deal with Egypt. Amos Gilad attended the meeting as well and reviewed his meeting with Egyptian diplomats and Egypt's plans to prevent weapons smuggling to Gaza.

Defense officials discussed methods of preventing smuggling, including ways to stop smugglers and weapons from approaching the Gaza border through the use of checkpoints and a constant naval presence in the area.

Egypt Wants More Soldiers near Gaza

Egypt has asked to triple the number of its troops along the Philadelphi Route dividing Egypt from Gaza. Currently, 750 soldiers are present in the area. The number of Egyptian troops in the Sinai Peninsula is limited under the Israel-Egypt peace deal.

Egyptian officials reported Friday that Israel is expected to agree to increase the number of troops, but an exact number has not been determined.

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