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Israel 'very close' to Gaza goals: Barak

Israel is very close to securing the objectives of its 22-day-old offensive in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip, Defence Minister Ehud Barak said.

world Updated: Jan 17, 2009 20:02 IST

Israel is very close to securing the objectives of its 22-day-old offensive in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip, Defence Minister Ehud Barak said on Saturday.

"After three weeks of Operation Cast Lead, we are very close to reaching the goals and securing them through diplomatic agreements," Barak said during a visit to the south of the country, according to a statement from his office.

His comments came ahead of a meeting of Israel's security cabinet which is expected to approve a proposal for a unilateral ceasefire while keeping troops in Gaza for an unspecified period.

"The defence forces must continue their operation and be ready for any development," Barak said.

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