Abbas Heads to Turkey as Gaza Truce Talks Stall

n_65586_1Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas was to head to Turkey on Friday to push a ceasefire in Gaza after Egyptian-mediated negotiations stalled and Israel launched a ground operation.

Cairo has been the hub of intense negotiations to end the 11-day conflict between Hamas and Israel, after the Palestinian militants in Gaza rejected an initial Egyptian truce proposal.

Egypt, under recently-elected President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, has moved to isolate Hamas, accusing it of backing insurgents on its own territory.

It has worked instead to bolster the role of Abbas — its ally based in the West Bank and rival to Hamas — in reaching a deal to end the conflict, which has cost more than 260 Palestinian lives since it broke out on July 8.

A senior official with Abbas said the talks, which extended into Thursday night, had stalled over Hamas’s insistence on guarantees from Israel before its militants halt their cross-border rocket fire.

Amid the diplomatic flurry in Cairo, Abbas was due to meet French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius before heading to Turkey, which has ties with both Hamas and Israel, said the official, Azzam al-Ahmed.