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Israel, Hamas extend truce in Gaza

Posted on Aug 14 2014 | IANS

Cairo, Aug 14 : A five-day ceasefire extension agreement has been reached between Israel and Hamas in Cairo to give the two sides a chance to hold further consultations on a permanent truce.

The truce begins at 01.00 a.m. Thursday, after an earlier 72-hour truce mediated by Egypt was due to expire Wednesday midnight, MENA reported.

However, just hours before the truce deadline, the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) said that a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip hit southern Israel Wednesday evening.

In response, Hamas dismissed Israeli claims that its militants fired rockets at Israel.

Spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said, "Hamas denies there was any rocket fire at the occupation this evening."

The Palestinian conditions for a permanent truce, most of which are declined by Israel, include lifting the Israeli seven-year long blockade in the Gaza Strip, opening the border crossings and releasing Palestinian prisoners agreed upon with Israel in a previous prisoner swap, Xinhua reported.

"The Palestinian delegation will reject any negligence of its legitimate demands," Fatah member Azzam al-Ahmed, head of the Palestinian delegation, told reporters Wednesday night in Cairo.

With regard to Rafah border crossing, Ahmed said it was not included in the indirect negotiations between the Palestinians and Israel "because it is an Egyptian-Palestinian affair".

He said that there is understanding between the Palestinian and the Egyptian sides about the crossing issue.

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