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Arab League calls on "all parties" to back Egypt-proposed Gaza truce

Arab foreign ministers in Cairo early Tuesday called on "all parties" to accept an Egyptian proposal to end the raging conflict between Israel and Hamas, after the Palestinian militant group signalled its rejection of the truce.

CAIRO: Arab foreign ministers in Cairo early Tuesday called on "all parties" to accept an Egyptian proposal to end the raging conflict between Israel and Hamas, after the Palestinian militant group signalled its rejection of the truce. The ministers, meeting for an extraordinary Arab League session, also backed a Palestinian demand for "international protection."

Hours before the meeting, Cairo announced a proposal for a ceasefire that would begin Tuesday, saying it was willing to host high-level Israeli and Palestinian delegations for talks after a truce went into effect. At least 186 Palestinians have been killed in Israeli bombardment of the Gaza Strip as the conflict entered its eighth day. Israel says its air strikes are in response to Hamas rocket fire on its cities, which have mostly been blown out of the sky by Israeli interceptor missiles without causing any deaths.

The Arab foreign ministers "demand all parties concerned accept the Egyptian initiative" and commit to its terms, they said in a statement after the meeting. Hamas appeared to reject the idea, with spokesman Fawzi Barhum saying the group would not accept a truce without a fully-fledged deal to end hostilities.

Israel said it would weigh the Egyptian truce proposal. The proposal came as Egyptian state media reported that US Secretary of State John Kerry was due in Cairo to discuss an end to the hostilities, and after Washington warned Israel against a ground invasion of Gaza.

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