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Archive for Friday, June 16, 2006

Hamas offers to restore cease-fire with Israel

June 16, 2006

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— The Hamas-led Palestinian government offered Thursday to restore a cease-fire with Israel, nearly a week after calling off the truce to protest a deadly explosion on a Gaza beach.

Israel responded favorably, signaling that both sides are prepared to step back from fighting that threatened to escalate into a broader conflict.

A Hamas official said the group was in touch with other Gaza militants to try to halt daily rocket barrages against Israel, which set off punishing Israeli air and artillery retaliation.

The truce, declared in February 2005, greatly reduced Palestinian-Israeli violence that claimed more than 3,000 lives in the four years before.

But Hamas called it off after a June 9 explosion on a Gaza beach that killed eight Palestinian civilians. Israel was shelling Gaza around that time, but insisted it was not responsible for the explosion.

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