Egypt: Israel delaying expanding Gaza offensive

November 1, 2011 - 2:20 AM

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — An Egyptian official says Israel has agreed to briefly delay expanding its military operations in the Gaza Strip to give Egypt time to try to persuade Palestinian militant factions to halt rocket fire on southern Israel.

Israeli aircraft have targeted rocket squads in Gaza in recent days, but the Egyptian official says Israel has also planned a wider operation. The official says Egypt asked for 24 hours to try to bring all factions into an informal cease-fire and Israel agreed to give Cairo until around midnight Tuesday.

The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss Egyptian mediation.

The Israeli defense ministry had no immediate comment.

At least 10 militants and an Israeli civilian have been killed in recent days in the worst violence in the area in months.