Israeli envoy in Egypt to discuss cease-fire in Gaza Strip

CAIRO - Egyptian security officials say a senior Israeli official has arrived in Cairo for talks on reaching a cease-fire to end an Israeli offensive in the Gaza Strip.

The officials said the official arrived at Cairo's airport and was immediately rushed away from the tarmac into talks. The officials, speaking on condition of anonymity under security guidelines, did not identify the Israeli.

Israeli officials declined comment.

Egypt has been leading international efforts to broker a truce to end five days of fighting between Israel and Hamas militants in Gaza.

Nabil Shaath, an aide to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas who was in Cairo, confirmed the Israeli's arrival.

He says there are "serious attempts to reach a cease-fire."

Shaath was headed to Gaza later Sunday to work on cease-fire efforts.

 

Civilians killed in Gaza

Palestinian medical officials say at least 10 civilians, including women and young children, have been killed in an Israeli airstrike in Gaza City.

The strike flattened the two-story building of the Daloo family.

Gaza health official Ashraf al-Kidra says four women and four small children are among the dead.

Frantic rescuers pulled the children's bodies from the rubble, including a toddler, as survivors and bystanders screamed in grief. Later, the four children were laid out in the morgue of Gaza City's Shifa Hospital.

It was not immediately clear what the target of the airstrike was.

Al-Kidra says the deaths brought to 66 the number of Palestinians killed in Israel's Gaza offensive, including 32 civilians.

 

Reporters Without Borders condemns Israeli strikes

Reporters Without Borders has condemned Israeli missile attacks on two media centers in Gaza that wounded six Palestinian journalists Sunday and damaged the equipment of foreign media outlets.

The attacks on the two high-rise buildings damaged offices of the Hamas TV station, Al Aqsa, and a Lebanese-based broadcaster, Al Quds TV, seen as sympathetic to the Islamists.  Germany's public broadcaster ARD; Russia Today, a state TV network that broadcasts in English; and Sky News Arabia said they lost equipment in the attacks.

A Gaza press association said six Palestinian journalists were wounded, including one who lost a leg.

Christophe Deloire, the director of Reporters Without Borders' international headquarters in Paris, called the attacks unjustified and a threat to freedom of information. He demanded an investigation into the circumstances of the raid.

"Even though the outlets targeted are linked to Hamas, it does not legitimize the attacks," he said. "Attacks against civilian targets constitute war crimes."

The Israeli military said the strikes targeted Hamas communications equipment on the buildings' rooftops and accused the group of using journalists as "human shields."

Lt. Col. Avital Leibovich, an Israeli military spokeswoman, urged journalists to stay clear of Hamas bases and facilities.

In Moscow, Russia Today, a state TV network that broadcasts in English, reported that the office of its Arabic-language channel, Rusiya Al-Yaum, was heavily damaged in the strike but none of the crew was injured.

"Fortunately for them, they had left the Shawa building about an hour before the Israeli planes delivered the strike. RT's office was damaged, so the crew will move to a less-affected floor of the center."

Germany's public broadcaster ARD said its Gaza office was hit.

"Thanks God, nobody was injured," said correspondent Markus Rosch in a blog entry on the broadcaster's website. "At night, I went to bed hoping for a ceasefire. But in the morning it went off again on both sides. Our ARD office in Gaza was also hit."

Sky News Arabia issued a statement condemning the attacks and saying they caused extensive damage to its property and "considerable and unacceptable distress to our staff."   Sky News Arabia is a joint venture between BSkyB in Britain and the Abu Dhabi Investment Corp, based in Abu Dhabi.

The statement claimed the Israeli attacks "targeted journalists covering the current military operations in Gaza" and demanded "that Israeli authorities respect and abide by the international conventions not to target media and to ensure the safety of journalists covering conflict zones."

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