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Palestinian Authority Says Militants Agree to Stop Attacks on Israel

30 October 2005

Palestinian militants have agreed to halt rocket attacks against Israel, after a fourth day of Israeli air strikes. But Israel is vowing to continue an offensive against the Islamic Jihad group.

Islamic Jihad militants in the Gaza Strip have agreed to halt rocket attacks on Israel, on condition that Israel ends a wave of air strikes. Israeli helicopters and fighter jets have been pounding Gaza, since Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing last week that killed five Israelis.

Islamic Jihad official Anwar Abu Tah said the group remains committed to the eight-month-old cease-fire.

"The Islamic Jihad was only responding to Israeli aggression," Mr. Abu Tah said in remarks broadcast on Israel Radio. He said the Palestinian Authority must pressure Israel to halt the air strikes and restore calm.

Israeli officials said if rocket attacks end, then Israel would halt air raids on Gaza. At the same time, they said operations against Islamic Jihad would continue in the West Bank, to cripple the group's capabilities.

"We are making maximum efforts to prevent terrorist attacks," Mr. Mofaz told reporters. He said Israel would strike at the Islamic Jihad infrastructure until the group "can no longer carry out suicide bombings."

The United States is mediating between the parties to end the current round of violence. It warned Israel to avoid a further escalation, and it urged the Palestinian Authority to crack down on militant groups, as demanded by the "Roadmap" peace plan.

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