Israeli minister says his country is keen to maintain calm - Egyptian statement

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FILE PHOTO: Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi speaks during a joint news conference with Cypriot Foreign Minister Nikos Christodoulides, Greece's Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias and Anwar Gargash, diplomatic adviser of UAE's President, in Paphos

CAIRO (Reuters) - Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi told his Egyptian counterpart, Sameh Shoukry, on Friday that Israel was keen to maintain calm, less than a day after an Egyptian-brokered ceasefire between Israel and Palestinian factions in Gaza came into effect, Egypt said in a statement.

Israel and Hamas, the Islamist militant group that rules Gaza, both claimed victory on Friday after their forces ended 11 days of fighting, but humanitarian officials said the damage to Gaza would take years to rebuild.

The truce appeared to be part of a two-stage deal, with Cairo sending security delegations to Tel Aviv and the Palestinian territories to agree on measures to maintain stability.

Shoukry and Ashkenazi also discussed measures to facilitate the rebuilding of Gaza, the statement added, following an announcement from Egypt on Tuesday allocating $500 million for the construction efforts.

"(The ministers) stressed the importance of coordinated work between their two countries, the Palestinian Authority and international partners, both with regard to securing the stability of the situation and resuming communication channels aimed at achieving peace," the statement said.

(Reporting by Nadine Awadalla; Editing by Kevin Liffey)

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