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Qurei calls on militants to stop attacks

Ahmed Qurei, the Palestinian prime minister, on Wednesday urged militant groups to declare an end to attacks on Israel, with officials predicting a permanent ceasefire could be in force within two weeks. Talks being held in Gaza are the latest stage in an Egyptian-sponsored initiative to end violence by groups such as Hamas, Islamic Jihad and al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades. An Egyptian delegation on Wednesday invited leaders of factions to attend talks on the ceasefire in Cairo after next Wednesday’s Eid el-Fitr festival, marking the end of the fasting month of Ramadan. Israeli officials have said publicly a ceasefire is not a solution to the conflict but privately concede Israel would stop assassinations and other military operations if Palestinian violence ended. A unilateral ceasefire collapsed in August when militants resumed bomb attacks, accusing Israel of provoking the violence by targeting activists. This time, both sides are under pressure from their constituencies to grasp the opportunity presented by the appointment of Mr Qurei’s new government. Full Story

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