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Last Updated: Friday, 7 March 2008, 12:38 GMT
Cairo Gaza talks make no progress
Mahmoud al-Zahhar
Mahmoud Zahhar headed the Hamas delegation in Cairo
A Hamas delegation has returned to Gaza after talks with Egyptian mediators about a possible truce with Israel.

A Hamas official, Ahmed Youssef, said on Thursday his group could not consider a ceasefire while Palestinians were being attacked on a daily basis.

Egypt had hoped to broker an agreement under which Palestinian militants halted rocket attacks on Israel.

The US had sent top state department official David Welch to Cairo to support the Egyptian mediation.

"[A truce is possible] if the siege is lifted and the almost daily assaults are stopped and the Rafah crossing is reopened," Hamas' Ahmed Youssef said.

Aides of Egyptian intelligence chief Omar Suleiman met officials from the two groups in the city of al-Arish, security officials said.

Mahmoud Zahhar, one of Hamas' senior leaders headed the delegation.

Hamas leaders have been in hiding in recent days because of the threat of assassination attempts by the Israeli military.

Correspondents say Egypt appeared to have launched the mediation under pressure from its ally, the US.

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