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Bush stresses end to rocket fire

WASHINGTON (JTA) — In conversations with foreign leaders, President Bush stressed the importance of ending Hamas rocket fire as the basis of a cease-fire in the Gaza Strip.

Bush discussed the Gaza war on Saturday with Turkish President Abdullah Gul and with Mirek Topolanek, the prime minister of the Czech Republic, which has just started its six-month presidency of the European Union.

"President Bush emphasized the importance of bringing an end to rocket-fire against Israel and preventing arms smuggling into Gaza as the basis for a durable ceasefire," spokesman Gordon Johndroe said in a statement describing the conversation with Gul. "The President welcomed Turkey’s support for the Egyptian-French mediation efforts." The Egyptian-French bid also emphasizes an end to Hamas rocket fire.

In his conversation with Topolanek, Johndroe said, Bush and the Czech leader"discussed the situation in Gaza, agreeing on the importance of bringing an end to the rocket fire against Israel, implementing a plan to prevent smuggling into Gaza, and ensuring humanitarian assistance reaches the Palestinian people."

Israel launched major operations on Dec. 27, about two eeks afater hamas, the terrorist group controlling Gaza, ruptured a fragile cease-fire with a massive intensification of rocket attacks on southern Israel.

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