Truce unlikely 'in coming days' - Israel minister

2014-07-24 10:55
Israeli missiles hit smuggling tunnels between Egypt and the Gaza Strip, in Rafah, southern Gaza Strip. (Hatem Ali, AP)

Israeli missiles hit smuggling tunnels between Egypt and the Gaza Strip, in Rafah, southern Gaza Strip. (Hatem Ali, AP)

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Jesusalem - An Israeli cabinet minister said on Thursday that a pullout of troops from Gaza was not imminent and that Israel's army would continue hunting Palestinian cross-border tunnels under any humanitarian truce.

Egyptians mediating between Israel and Gaza's dominant Hamas Islamists have said 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 ceasefire in the coming days where the IDF (Israel Defence Forces) leave," Science Minister Yaakov Peri, a former security chief, told the Walla news site, adding that troops needed more time to complete their mission of destroying cross-border tunnels used by Gaza guerrillas.

"Even if there is a humanitarian truce, we would continue tackling the tunnels," he said. "I can say authoritatively that two or three days will not be enough to finish tackling the tunnels."

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