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Israel, Gaza Militants Reduce Fire Intensity on Truce Rumors

RIA Novosti

10:44 18/11/2012

TEL-AVIV, November 18 (RIA Novosti) – Israel and Gaza militants reduced the intensify of their rocket fire on Sunday amid increasing rumors of an imminent truce and the completion of the ongoing fighting without the Israeli army’s ground operation in the Palestinian enclave.

The Gaza militants have not fired a single rocket into Israel since early Sunday while the Israeli military struck 70 targets in Gaza or three times less than over the same time period on Saturday, an Israeli army spokesman told RIA Novosti.

“The last rocket [from Gaza] fell at about 9 p.m. yesterday. It would be right to say that the intensity of fighting has indeed declined,” the spokesman said.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told foreign leaders he spoke with this weekend he was prepared for a comprehensive ceasefire in the Gaza Strip as soon as possible, if the rocket firing stopped, the Haaretz newspaper wrote.

The foreign leaders asked Netanyahu not to escalate the fighting and give several days to the intensive mediation efforts led by Egypt.

Egyptian President Mohamad Morsi said on Saturday his government was in contact with both conflicting sides and "there are some indications that there is a possibility of a ceasefire soon.”

Israel launched Operation Pillar of Defense on Wednesday, killing Hamas military chief Ahmed al-Jabari and attacking hundreds of rocket-launching sites, ammunition depots and “terrorist” cells that belong to radical Islamist groups operating in Gaza, primarily Hamas and Islamic Jihad. Palestinian militants have fired hundreds of rockets at Israeli cities, including Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.

In a sign of further escalation, the Israeli cabinet has authorized the military to mobilize up to 75,000 reservists in anticipation of a possible ground offensive on Gaza. Two elite army brigades have completed the preparation to enter the Palestinian enclave “if necessary,” according to the military.

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