Five-day ceasefire extension appears to be holding in Gaza | South China Morning Post
  • Thu
  • Feb 26, 2015
  • Updated: 3:25pm
NewsWorld
GAZA

Five-day ceasefire extension appears to be holding in Gaza

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 14 August, 2014, 9:47pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 14 August, 2014, 10:26pm

A five-day extension of a Gaza truce appeared to be holding despite a rocky start yesterday, fanning cautious optimism of progress in negotiations under way in Cairo between Israel and major Palestinian factions, including Hamas.

It's the longest ceasefire yet since the war broke out last month in the Gaza Strip. The fighting has so far killed more than 1,900 Palestinians, the majority of them civilians, according to Palestinian and UN officials. Israel has lost 67 people, all but three of them soldiers.

Violence briefly rose as the extension of a previous, 72-hour truce was announced shortly before midnight on Wednesday. The extension is to last until midnight on Monday.

Israel's military said eight Hamas rockets were launched at Israel but that the firing stopped in the early hours of yesterday. Israel retaliated with air strikes on rocket-launching sites in Gaza.

Gaza police said they recorded 17 Israeli strikes but no casualties were reported.

Palestinian negotiators in Cairo expressed optimism that a deal to create a sustainable roadmap for the war-torn territory could soon be achieved.

Hamas is seeking an end to a crippling blockade imposed by Israel and Egypt in 2007. The blockade has greatly limited the movement of Palestinians in and out of the territory of 1.8 million people. It has also restricted the flow of goods into Gaza and blocked virtually all exports.

Israel says the closure is necessary to prevent arms smuggling, and officials are reluctant to make any concessions that would allow Hamas to declare victory.

Israel wants Hamas to disarm, or at least be prevented from rearming. Hamas has recovered from previous rounds of violence with Israel, including a major three-week ground operation in January 2009 and another week-long air offensive in 2012.

In Cairo, Hamas official Izzat al-Rishiq said agreement on some points in a long-term deal had already been reached, but that additional time was needed to hammer out a comprehensive agreement.

Share

For unlimited access to:

SCMP.com SCMP Tablet Edition SCMP Mobile Edition 10-year news archive
 
 

 

 
 
 
 
 

Login

SCMP.com Account

or