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Hamas says ceasefire in Gaza close, Israel denies

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First published: November 20, 2012, 10:23 PM IST | Updated: November 20, 2012
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Hamas says ceasefire in Gaza close, Israel denies
The deal would end nearly a week of fighting between Israel and Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip.

Jerusalem: A senior Hamas official says his group is close to a cease-fire with Israel, but a deal has not yet been reached. Moussa Abu Marzouk said on Tuesday from Cairo that "we haven't struck the deal yet, but we are progressing and it will most likely be tonight."

Cease-fire talks have been taking place in the Egyptian capital. The deal would end nearly a week of fighting between Israel and Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip. Some 130 civilians, including dozens of civilians, have been killed. Three Israelis have died in the fighting.

Israel's prime minister says Israel would be a "willing partner" in a cease-fire with Gaza's ruling militant group Hamas. Benjamin Netanyahu made the pronouncement on Tuesday at a meeting with UN chief Ban Ki-moon, who is in the region as part of an international diplomatic push to end nearly a week of fighting between Israel and Hamas.

Netanyahu says that "if a long-term solution can be put in place by diplomatic means, Israel will be a willing partner." Israel launched the offensive last week to end months of rocket fire from the Gaza Strip. Ban has condemned the rocket attacks but urged Israel to show "maximum restraint." He also has offered his services to help broker a truce.

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