Gaza Cease-Fire Near - Maybe

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JERUSALEM, Israel - Israel's 20-day military operation in Gaza may soon end. Hamas says it will accept Egypt's proposal for a cease-fire. But in the meantime, the fighting in Gaza is more intense than ever.

Gazans Flee Homes

Thousands of Gaza City residents fled their homes today as the air force struck nighttime targets and the Israeli army searched neighborhoods for Hamas terror cells.

After nearly three weeks of this conflict, a top Israeli defense official says it will take years for Hamas to recover.

Israel has hit as many as 70 targets throughout the Gaza Strip in the past 24 hours. And the military believes it has destroyed 70 percent of the tunnels used to smuggle weapons from Egypt to Gaza.

Israeli Leaders Hope for Truce

On the diplomatic front, Israeli leaders are hopeful that talks in Cairo will lead to a truce.

"There is momentum in these discussions and we are hopeful that a deal, that will be based on a total cessation of all Hamas fire into Israel and on an arms embargo to prevent Hamas from rearming, is close and attainable," Israeli government spokesman Mark Regev said Thursday.

Although Israel has hit Hamas hard, the terror group managed to fire at least 20 rockets into Israel today.

Israeli Jews Support Gaza Operation

The world may be criticizing Israel for its Gaza campaign, but a new Tel Aviv University poll shows Israeli Jews back the military action in huge numbers.

Seventy-eight percent believe the operation is a success. And in another poll, 80 percent say they don't want a cease-fire with Hamas without bringing home Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, who was kidnapped in the summer of 2006, and still hasn't been returned.

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Chris Mitchell

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