Middle East Unrest

Gaza Truce Unlikely ‘In Coming Days,’ Israeli Minister Says

JERUSALEM - A pullout of troops from Gaza is not imminent and Israel's army will continue hunting Palestinian cross-border tunnels during any humanitarian truce, an Israeli Cabinet minister said Thursday. Egyptians mediating between Israel and Gaza's dominant Hamas Islamists have suggested hostilities could be suspended, perhaps by the Muslim Eid al-Fitr festival early next week, to allow aid to reach the territory and to facilitate more permanent truce talks.

"I do not see a cease-fire in the coming days where the IDF (Israel Defence Forces) leave," Science Minister Yaakov Peri, a former security chief who advises Israel's top strategic decision-makers, told the Walla news site. He added that troops needed more time to complete their mission of destroying cross-border tunnels used by guerrillas. "Even if there is a humanitarian truce, we would continue tackling the tunnels," Peri said. "I can say authoritatively that two or three days will not be enough to finish tackling the tunnels."

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- Reuters