June 19, 2008

Airstrikes Come Hours Before Truce

Palestinian militants fired 50 rockets and mortars toward Israel on Wednesday, and Israel responded with airstrikes in Gaza just hours before a truce was to take effect, illustrating how fragile the cease-fire would be. "I hope it will succeed," Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said.

- The Associated Press

request of Lebanon

In another diplomatic initiative, Israel called on neighboring Lebanon to open peace negotiations - an overture that was quickly rejected by Lebanon's prime minister.

efforts from Egypt

In Gaza, Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh said the truce would ease the lives of Gazans but success or failure was in Israel's hands. "The calm is going to bring stability to Israel if they commit themselves to it," he said.

The truce deal between Israel and Hamas was reached after months of efforts by Egypt.

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