Israel sends more troops as Egypt and Hamas make progress in truce talks
Israeli leaders trying to further hit Hamas in the Gaza Strip have sent army reservists into battle. With the Palestinian death toll nearing 900 and international pressure for a ceasefire mounting, Israeli forces might launch a full-scale attack on Hamas smuggling tunnels on the Strip's border with Egypt, and perhaps a wider urban operation.
According to Reuters, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Defence Minister Ehud Barak and Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni met late on Sunday and decided to tighten pressure on Hamas. Livni told Army Radio that the Gaza offensive had "restored Israel's deterrence" and "created a new equation ... which says that when our citizens are attacked we respond with force."
Meanwhile, Egypt's state-owned news agency reportsed progress in talks with a Hamas delegation on an end to fighting in Gaza. The Middle East News Agency has quoted an unnamed Egyptian official as saying talks Sunday between the Egyptian intelligence chief Omar Suleiman and a Hamas delegation were "positive."
It said the Hamas delegation agreed on the need to stop fighting as soon as possible. Two of Hamas' Syria-based leaders and three officials from Gaza participated in the talks.