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Egyptians Urge End to Attacks on Israelis

Egyptian mediators met Palestinian militants Sunday in an attempt to persuade them to halt attacks on Israelis, while Israel said it is considering a gradual withdrawal from Bethlehem and large parts of the Gaza Strip. Obtaining the militants’ support for a cease-fire is crucial for implementing a U.S.-backed peace plan. Expectations were running high Sunday that this time, Egypt would succeed in getting the armed groups to sign on to a truce, after several failed attempts in recent months. The Egyptian mediators arrived just hours after the Palestinian security chief, Mohammed Dahlan, held talks with a senior Israeli defense official, Maj. Gen. Amos Gilad. “We are helping the two sides, the Israelis and the Palestinians, with the aim of easing tension and sitting at the negotiation table,” Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak told reporters in Cairo. “Israeli efforts are also needed. Therefore, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon should help because this will be in the interest of his people’s peace and the Palestinians as well.” Full Story

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