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Gazans takes advantage of truce

JERUSALEM (AP) -- Residents of Gaza don't appear to be expecting a quick end to the fighting with Israel. They took advantage of a five-hour cease-fire today, flocking to banks, vegetable markets and other shops after enduring ten days of Israeli attacks.

Gaza City had been a virtual ghost town during the ten days, but all appeared normal just minutes after the truce began. Streets were jammed, with motorists honking.

Hundreds lined up outside banks, with people jostling and shouting to get to ATM machines. In an outdoor market, shoppers filled plastic bags with fruit, vegetables and freshly slaughtered chickens.

Right as the cease-fire expired, Palestinian militants fired a rocket that hit the Israeli city of Ashkelon. No injuries were reported. In all, Hamas fired 10 rockets at Israel at the end of the temporary truce, while security officials say Israel launched two airstrikes at the Gaza Strip.

Meanwhile, Egypt is continuing with diplomatic efforts to bring all sides to the table. Israel accepted Egypt's call earlier this week to stop all fighting, but Hamas rejected the idea. It first wants to lock in achievements, such as easing the seven-year blockade of Gaza by Israel and Egypt.

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Washington Times