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Israeli official plans 'decisive' talks in Egypt

JERUSALEM (AP) – The Israeli Defense Ministry says the point man in efforts to reach a cease-fire with Hamas is headed to Egypt later this week for what officials call decisive talks.

Egypt has been a key mediator in attempts to forge a truce during Israel's 18-day offensive in Gaza.

Israel's decision to send Defense Ministry official Amos Gilad to Egypt on Thursday could be a signal of progress. Gilad had put off the trip for days, saying the time was not yet ripe.

Defense officials say that depending on what happens in Cairo, Israel will decide to move closer to a cease-fire or whether to launch a new, even tougher stage of its offensive. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were discussing sensitive policy matters.

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