Cairo – Israel Agrees To Extend Gaza Truce: Israeli Official

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Fatah official and delegation leader Azzam Ahmed (C) and other Palestinian negotiators arrive at a hotel after negotiations in Cairo August 13, 2014.  ReutersCairo – Israel is willing to extend a temporary truce in and around Gaza for another 72 hours after the current one expires at midnight (2100 GMT), an Israeli official said late Wednesday.

“Israel agreed to an Egyptian proposal to extend the truce by 72 hours,” the official told AFP shortly after the negotiating team returned from Cairo following a third intensive day of talks aimed at agreeing a long-term ceasefire.

There was no immediate response from the Palestinians who had said they would hold a news conference in Cairo at 1830 GMT. The head of Hamas’s armed wing, Mohammed Deif, was also expected to issue a statement later in the evening.

“We agreed to extend the truce and continue the negotiations but (the Palestinians) are digging their heels in,” the Israeli official said.

“The way things stand now, it doesn’t look like it’s going to stay quiet,” he said.

Shortly afterwards — just two hours ahead of the midnight (2100 GMT) deadline — air raid sirens rang out for the first time in three days, with a rocket striking southern Israel, police said.

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