GAZA, August 14 (RIA Novosti) – Israel and Palestinian factions have agreed to a new five-days Gaza ceasefire to allow more time for negotiations, Azzam Ahmed, the head of the Palestinian delegation in Cairo, said Wednesday.
“The Israeli delegation kept on leaving Cairo for consultations. Therefore, we had two options: either to leave [Cairo], or to extend the ceasefire to continue consultations. We decided to extend the ceasefire for five days,” Azzam Ahmed said, according to Palestinian news channels.
Earlier, senior Hamas official Izzat al-Rishq said on Twitter the group agreed to extend the current ceasefire by three days.
Israel has yet to comment.
Earlier on Wednesday, the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) reported that Palestinian militants in Gaza fired a rocket that landed in southern Israel just two hours before the end of the previously agreed three-day ceasefire, which was set to expire at midnight local time (21:00 GMT). Hamas denied there was any rocket fire.
Egypt has been a mediator in the talks between Israel and Palestinians. Hamas is demanding from Tel Aviv to lift the Gaza Strip blockade. Israel wants to demilitarize Gaza.
On July 8, Israel launched an offensive against the Hamas movement in response to the military group’s rocket attacks. On July 17, the Israeli switched to a ground offensive to destroy the network of Hamas rocket launchers and tunnels along the Gaza border with western Israel.
Around 1,900 Palestinians have been killed in the fighting, the majority of whom are civilians. On the Israeli side, at least 67 people were killed, mostly soldiers.