Gaza truce extended for 24 hours

Agence France-Presse

Posted at Aug 19 2014 07:41 AM | Updated as of Aug 19 2014 03:41 PM

CAIRO - Israeli and Palestinian negotiators agreed on Monday to extend a temporary ceasefire in Gaza by 24 hours to conduct more talks on a long-term truce, Egypt and a Palestinian official said.

Hamas confirmed the extension, but blamed Israeli "obstinacy" in the gruelling negotiations.

A previous five-day ceasefire expired at midnight local time (2100 GMT).

"Both sides have agreed to a 24-hour ceasefire," the official with the Palestinian delegation in Cairo said.

The official Egyptian MENA news agency later quoted an "official Egyptian statement" confirming the ceasefire's extension.

The negotiations centre on an Egyptian proposal that meets some of the Palestinian demands, such as easing the blockade of Gaza, but defer other stumbling blocks to later negotiations.

Hamas had repeatedly warned it would not extend the ceasefire, pressing for immediate gains that would allow it to claim concessions from Israel after the devastating four-week war in July and August.

"The negotiations have faced difficulties because of the occupation's obstinacy, and the 24-hour (extension) came as a result of a request by the mediators to have another chance," senior Hamas official Ezzat al-Rishq wrote on Twitter.

The militant group has come under pressure from both Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas and Egypt, which borders Gaza to the west.