Israel Presses On With Gaza Assault as Truce Talk Builds

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Israeli aircraft pounded homes, weapons warehouses and underground tunnels in the Gaza Strip in an attempt to consolidate gains from 11 days of fighting, ahead of what could be an imminent cease-fire.

Moussa Abu Marzouk, deputy chief of the militant Hamas movement that rules Gaza, was cited on the website of Lebanon’s Al-Mayadeen TV on Wednesday as saying that he expects that “a cease-fire will be reached within a day or two.” Israel’s Channel 12, citing unidentified people, reported Thursday that a Friday afternoon truce was shaping up.

Israel, Hamas Near Possible Cease-Fire After Biden Pressure

Reports of a pending cease-fire have circulated before, but this time, they follow more intense U.S. pressure on Israel to dial back an onslaught that has killed about 230 Palestinians. President Joe Biden’s reluctance to publicly press Israel to end its attacks had set him on a collision course with Democratic congressional allies who wanted him to be more forceful, and on Wednesday, he told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that he expected a “significant de-escalation” that very day.

But the Israeli leader rebuffed the squeeze, and declared himself determined to continue the operation until quiet and security are restored to Israel, where 12 people have died in relentless rocket assaults.

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