Israel unleashes new strikes as expectations for truce rise

(AP) — Israel unleashed a new wave of airstrikes across the Gaza Strip on Thursday and Hamas fired more rockets into Israel, despite growing signs that the sides were close to a cease-fire that would end 11 days of heavy fighting.

In an apparent sign of progress, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu convened an emergency meeting of his Security Cabinet, where the issue of a cease-fire was expected to be debated.

An Egyptian official said Israel has informed his government, which is mediating a truce, that it intends to end its military operations in Gaza. Speaking on condition of anonymity because he was discussing behind-the-scenes diplomacy, he said an announcement was expected following the Security Cabinet meeting.

The official spoke shortly after Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi talked by phone with President Joe Biden. The two leaders discussed ways to stop violence in the Palestinian Territories, el-Sissi’s office said.

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