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Israel makes talks conditional on halting Gaza rocket fire

Israel's Communications Minister Gilad Erdan said the Israeli army would respond if rockets continue to pour on Israel from the Gaza Strip. Erdan, also a member of Israel's minor security cabinet, told Israel's Channel 2 that his country would not accept to negotiate at gunpoint. He said all options are on the table to stop rocket attacks from Gaza on Israel, even without clarifying the nature of these options. Amos Gilad, the chief of the Israeli army's Planning Directorate, meanwhile, told Israel Radio that Israel would not negotiate with the Palestinians if rocket attacks from Gaza did not stop The same message was delivered by some unnamed Israeli politicians who told Israel Radio that the return of the Israeli delegation to Cairo for the negotiations is not on the table at the time. An unnamed Israeli official was quoted by the website of the Israeli newspaper Haaretz as saying earlier that his country would not negotiate with the Palestinians so long as rockets continue to pour from the Gaza Strip on Israel. An Israeli delegation indirectly negotiating a durable ceasefire in Gaza with the Palestinians in Cairo left the Egyptian capital to Tel Aviv early on Friday, a short time before a three-day ceasefire in the Palestinian enclave came to an end at 08:00am on the same day. Israel has pounded the Gaza Strip for almost a month since July 7, killing at least 1906 Palestinians and injuring 9817 others. Thousands of homes have also been destroyed in the offensive.

At least 64 Israeli soldiers have also been killed in battles with Palestinian fighters in the Gaza Strip and three civilians by rocket fire, according to Israeli figures.

Israel resumed its airstrikes on the Gaza Strip on Friday after the expiry of a three-day ceasefire with Palestinian factions.

The Gaza Strip, home to 1.8 million Palestinians, has been reeling under a crippling Israeli blockade since 2006, badly affecting livelihoods in the seaside enclave.

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