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Gaza ceasefire extended for 24 hours: Egypt

IANS 19 Aug 2014, 8:28:08 AM IST
Cairo: Egypt announced that Israeli and Palestinian negotiators agreed to extend ceasefire in the Gaza Strip for 24 hours, state media reported on Monday.

"Both sides have agreed to extend the ceasefire to 24 hours, to continue the ongoing negotiations," media reported citing an official Egyptian statement, as a five-day truce was set to expire at midnight on Monday.

Palestinian delegation chief Azzam al-Ahmed also confirmed the statement, saying that his delegation accepted Egypt's call for the extension of the ceasefire by 24 hours.

Hours before the new ceasefire announcement, Israel and Hamas hardened their positions, with Israeli officials insisting on Gaza demilitarization, while Hamas said it would not accept an agreement that does not include lifting the Gaza blockade.

However, a diplomatic source was quoted by the state-run al- Ahram newspaper as saying that issues like re-opening the Gaza airport and seaport will be raised in fresh talks, while Egypt managed to persuade Israel to open five border crossings into the coastal strip.