Israel, Militants Begin Talks on Truce Details

Smoke rises during an explosion from an Israeli forces strike in Gaza City, Saturday, Nov. 17, 2012. Israel bombarded the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip with nearly 200 airstrikes early Saturday, the military said, widening a blistering assault on Gaza rocket operations by militants to include the prime minister's headquarters, a police compound and a vast network of smuggling tunnels.
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After four years of deadlock in peace efforts with Israel, Abbas this week is asking the United Nations to grant the Palestinians upgraded observer status and recognize a Palestinian state in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem, territories captured by Israel in the 1967 Mideast war. The motion, largely symbolic, is expected to pass easily in the U.N. General Assembly.

In a statement, Hamas announced that its supreme leader, Khaled Mashaal, called Abbas to welcome the decision to go to the U.N.

Israeli officials — backed by the Obama administration — strongly oppose the move in the belief it is an attempt to bypass negotiations, but they have not said how they will respond.

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Associated Press writers Ibrahim Barzak in Gaza City, Gaza Strip, and Mohammed Daraghmeh in Cairo contributed to this report.

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