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Hamas denies collapse of Israel truce talks

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A senior Hamas official denied Tuesday that Egyptian-brokered talks on reconciliation with the Palestinian Authority and a lasting truce with Israel have collapsed, but admitted progress was slow.

“The efforts of our Egyptian brothers continue on the file of Palestinian reconciliation and the calm with the [Israeli] occupation,” spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri told AFP.

“We in Hamas are responsive to these ongoing efforts.”

Egypt has for months been seeking to broker two separate deals.

One would bring Hamas and president Mahmoud Abbas’ secular Fatah party together a decade after a bloody split, and another would see a lasting truce between Hamas and Israel in exchange for a loosening of the Jewish state’s blockade of the Gaza Strip.

U.N. officials have also been involved in the indirect discussions between Gaza’s Hamas and Israel, which have fought three wars since 2008.

Abu Zuhri accused Fatah of obstructing the talks, while Fatah has accused Hamas of being intransigent.

A senior Hamas leader told AFP Tuesday that a delegation would visit Cairo to continue negotiations in the coming days.

An Egyptian security delegation traveled to Gaza for a few hours Saturday for a visit that included a meeting with Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh.

Hamas has encouraged months of violent border protests against Israel.

After a lull, protests have regained strength in recent weeks as talks were seen to stall.

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