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The Latest: Egyptian mediators work to shore up cease-fire

Palestinians inspect the damage of their destroyed homes after returning following a cease-fire reached after an 11-day war between Gaza’s Hamas rulers and Israel, in town of Beit Hanoun, northern Gaza Strip, Friday, May 21, 2021. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)

By The Associated Press, CAIRO — An Egyptian diplomat says two teams of Egyptian mediators are in Israel and the Palestinian territories to continue talks on firming up a cease-fire deal — and securing a long-term calm.

The diplomat said Saturday discussions include implementing agreed-on measures in Gaza and Jerusalem, including ways to prevent practices that led to the latest fighting.

The official did not elaborate. He was apparently referring to violence at the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the planned eviction of Palestinian families from the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood in east Jerusalem.

The diplomat spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss behind-the-scenes deliberations.

The cease-fire took effect Friday. The 11-day war left more than 250 dead — the vast majority Palestinians — and brought widespread devastation to the already impoverished Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip

The diplomat also said Israel has given a green light to Gaza fishermen to return to sea Saturday as part of the cease-fire deal.

The Egyptian delegations arrived in Israel and the Palestinian territories Friday, according to Egypt’s official MENA news agency. The delegations met with Palestinian factions in Gaza directly after they arrived, MENA reported.

Hussein Sheikh, a senior aide to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, tweeted that one of the Egyptian delegation planned to hold talks with the Palestinian leadership in Ramallah on Saturday.

CAIRO — Egypt Foreign Minister Sameh Shukry has spoken with his Israeli counterpart, Gabi Ashkenazi, about stabilizing the Cairo-brokered Gaza cease-fire deal.

A statement by Egypt’s Foreign Ministry said the two diplomats on Friday discussed shoring up the deal, which has mostly brought a halt to fighting between Israel and the Palestinians. They hope that will facilitate the reconstruction of Gaza.

The statement said the ministers also agreed on the importance of coordination between the two nations, the Palestinian Authority and international partners on securing communication channels to achieve peace. It did not provide further details.

The Egyptian government, meanwhile, said it would send a 130-truck convoy carrying humanitarian aid and medical supplies to Gaza, according the presidency.

The convoy is expected to enter the territory Saturday.

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