5 Jan 2009

Hamas to attend talks in Cairo

3:13 pm on 5 January 2009

Hamas plans to send a delegation to Egypt on Monday for the first diplomatic talks since the launch of an Israeli offensive in the Gaza Strip.

Hamas official Ayman Taha said the delegation was in "answer to an Egyptian invitation to hold discussions" in Cairo. A senior Palestinian official said on Friday that Egypt had launched contacts with Hamas to achieve a truce.

The trip would coincide with the expected visit of French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

Social Affairs Minister Isaac Herzog told CNN on Sunday that Hamas was "looking for a respectable way ... to get out of this situation". He said Hamas was under "huge pressure" to do so.

The Israeli attacks began on 27 December after Hamas ended a truce on 19 December.