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Hamas Chief Awaits Israeli Response on Gaza Cease-fire

The exiled Hamas chief, Khaled Meshaal, has warned there will be an "explosion of violence" in the Gaza Strip if Israel rejects a proposed truce with Hamas.

Meshaal said Saturday he is still waiting for an official decision from Israel. But Meshaal has also signaled that the cease-fire is not a long-term solution, calling the truce a "tactic" in the larger struggle being fought between Israel and Hamas.

Under terms of the Egypt-backed proposal, the militant group would stop its rocket attacks on Israel for six months, while Israel would open Gaza's border crossings and cease military operations in the territory.

Separately, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is to meet his Egyptian counterpart, Hosni Mubarak on Sunday, for talks on the mideast peace process.

Mr. Abbas told reporters Saturday that his recent meetings with U.S. President George Bush and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice failed to make progress towards a peace deal. But he stressed that he is still determined to negotiate with Israel.

Egyptian mediators are working to negotiate a possible truce between Israeli and Hamas officials. On Friday, an Israeli government spokesman dismissed the proposal as not serious, and said Hamas simply wants to buy itself time to regroup.

In other news, medical personnel in the Gaza Strip say a 14-year-old Palestinian girl has been killed during a pre-dawn Israeli raid in the Gaza Strip Saturday.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.