Israel agrees to extend Gaza ceasefire

Updated: 2014-08-07 08:49


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CAIRO - Israel has agreed to extend the ongoing ceasefire with the Gaza-ruling Hamas movement, the Egyptian state TV reported late on Wednesday.

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"Israel has announced willingness to extend the current truce with neither conditions nor time limit," said the Egyptian state TV.

Egypt is currently hosting Israeli and Palestinian delegations for talks on extending the ongoing Cairo-brokered "extendable" 72- hour humanitarian truce that started early Tuesday.

During the ongoing talks, the Palestinian delegation, including influential Hamas and the Islamic Jihad, conditioned a list of demands to be presented by the Egyptian leadership to the Israeli side.

These demands include a ceasefire, withdrawal of the Israeli forces from Gaza, lifting the Israeli blockade against the Strip, opening the border crossings and releasing Palestinian prisoners agreed-upon with Israel in a previous prisoner swap and holding an international donor conference for Gaza reconstruction.

On the Israeli side, its key demand is that Hamas be disarmed, in exchange for the rehabilitation of the Gaza Strip, an Israeli official told Xinhua.

But Hamas vehemently rejects the notion of disarmament and wishes for a long-term arrangement, mainly to end the blockade on the strip, the Army Radio quoted a Hamas member of the Palestinian delegation as saying earlier on Wednesday.

The Israeli offensive on the restive Gaza Strip that lasted for less than one month has left more than 1,850 Palestinians killed and over 9,550 wounded, while 64 Israeli soldiers and three civilians were killed in the conflict.

Cairo has lately been the destination of United States, European and Asian diplomats until the 72-hour humanitarian truce was reached. The Egyptian leadership is currently intensifying communications and talks to reach a permanent truce between the Palestinians and the Israelis.

Egypt brokered a truce between Hamas and Israel in 2012, during the one-year reign of former Islamist President Mohamed Morsi who was ousted by the military last year.