Hamas leaders to meet in Gaza amid Israel truce reports

Hamas leaders to meet in Gaza amid Israel truce reports

Twenty-nine fires erupted in Israeli communities ‎near the Gaza Strip border in a single day this week, as Palestinian ‎arson terrorism continued to wreak havoc near the ‎volatile frontier.

Palestinians in Gaza marched during the 19th Friday protests under the slogan of "Martyr of Jerusalem, Muhammad Youssef", in remembrance of the killed 17-year-old Palestinian youth.

The Hamas website Safa said Friday this marks the first time all members of the political bureau have come together in Gaza.

On Saturday, the Israeli army said an aircraft had fired at "a terrorist squad" launching "arson balloons" at Israel.

Hamas has led months of border protests aimed in part at drawing attention to the Israeli-Egyptian blockade imposed after it took control of Gaza in 2007.

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The political bureau is discussing Egyptian proposals for a truce with Israel and the United Nations -led reconstruction of Gaza, said Ghazi Hamad, a Gaza-based official in the group. "We want to break the siege on Gaza once and forever", said Hussam Badran, one of the visiting Hamas leaders.

On Friday around 8,000 protesters gathered at different spots along the fence, attempting to sabotage the Israeli border fence, the army said.

The military said both vessels were taken to an Israeli port without incident.

According to sources, the Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu chose to postpone the trip to South America to monitor the situation in Gaza. Several thousand Gazans have been wounded by Israeli fire since the start of the "March of Return" protests on March 30.

Worldwide experts and aid organizations including the United Nations have repeatedly called the Israeli policy a collective punishment against Gazans for what Israel perceives as a threat by the Islamic Resistance group Hamas.

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Abdul-Latif Qanou, Hamas spokesman in Gaza, said in a statement that the marches have become very close to achieving its goals.

Should the truce hold, a seaport and airport serving Gaza would be constructed on Egyptian territory in the Sinai Peninsula, as well as a power plant.

Critics say it amounts to collective punishment of the coastal territory's two million residents.

The 12 activists on-board the "Freedom for Gaza" boat were attempting to bring urgently needed medical supplies to Gaza, when the vessel was intercepted by the Israeli navy in global waters.

Similar attempts by activists to challenge the Israeli naval blockade of Gaza have been foiled before.

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