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Israelis, Palestinians Talk Possible Ceasefire

Egyptian officials are leading the efforts for a long-term halt to violence in the Gaza Strip.

Egyptian mediators hope for a possible ceasefire Monday in the Gaza Strip as they lead Israeli and Hamas officials in negotiations.

Khaled Mashaal, the leader of the Islamic militant group Hamas that rules Gaza, said the group refuses to halt rocket fire until Israel lifts its blockade of Gaza.

"We don't accept Israeli conditions because it is the aggressor," Mashaal said to Egyptian reporters. "We want a cease-fire along with meeting our demands."

Israeli officials said they are not searching for a "quick fix," but are looking for long-term promises from Hamas to stop re-arming or promoting militant warfare in the Sinai peninsula.

These talks are ongoing as the Palestinian death count is rising as result of the Israeli offensive that has targeted the Gaza Strip since Wednesday. Over 100 Palestinians, including 53 civilians, have been killed. Around 840 people, including 225 children, have been wounded.

Israel began its offensive in response to Palestinian rocket attacks on Israel last week. A handful of Israelis have died, while a dozen have been wounded. Israeli officials say the death toll would be much higher if not for a rocket-defense system that has intercepted hundreds of rockets.

Egypt is negotiating for a ceasefire with the help of Turkey and Qatar. An Egyptian official with knowledge of the negotiations said both Israeli and Hamas parties are looking for a long-term end to the hostilities.

Students at the University of Southern California, representing both Israel and Palestine groups, are hosting events on campus Monday.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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