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Italy plays down Gaza peacekeeper idea

Italy played down Israeli expectations that international peacekeepers could be stationed in the Gaza Strip.Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi, whose country has led the UNIFIL peacekeeping force in southern Lebanon since Israel’s war with Hezbollah last year, said Monday that a similar deployment in Gaza was unlikely.”While in Lebanon we sent international troops because there was a common request from the parties, here, certainly for now, there are not the conditions to do the same thing,” Prodi told reporters during a visit to Israel’s border with Gaza.Israeli officials have suggested that with Hamas in control of Gaza since it ousted the more moderate Fatah faction last month, international peacekeepers could be the only way to prevent the cramped territory from becoming a major terrorist base. Hamas has threatened to attack any foreign troops that come to Gaza.