Israel scales back Gaza ops


Israeli forces have dramatically scaled back operations in the Gaza Strip in what appears to be a bid to secure a de facto truce with Hamas.

While Israel’s ground and air forces stationed around Gaza remain on standby to retaliate for any cross-border Palestinian attacks, military chiefs have been ordered to obtain government approval for any proactive operations such as raids or aerial assassinations, Army Radio reported Monday.

The move comes as Jerusalem officials consider Egypt’s efforts to talk Hamas, which has also largely held its fire since last week’s Israeli offensive against Gazan rocket crews, into declaring a truce.

Israel denies being in direct or indirect cease-fire negotiations with Hamas, but Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has also said there will be no attacks on Gaza if the cross-border rocket fire ceases.


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