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Gaza truce extension fans hope of Cairo talks deal



By MOHAMMED DARAGHMEH

CAIRO (AP) - A five-day extension of a Gaza truce appeared to be holding despite a rocky start on Thursday, fanning cautious optimism of progress in the negotiations underway in Cairo between Israel and major Palestinian factions, including Hamas.

It's the longest cease-fire 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 U.N. officials. Israel has lost 67 people, all but three of them soldiers.

Violence briefly spiked 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 Thursday morning. Israel retaliated with airstrikes on rockets and rocket-launching sites in Gaza, the military said.

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

Gaza Truce Extended for Five Days

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 re-arming. Hamas has recovered from previous rounds of violence with Israel, including a major three-week ground operation in January 2009 and another weeklong air offensive in 2012. It now controls an arsenal of several thousands of rockets, some with long ranges and relatively heavy payloads.

In Cairo, Hamas official Izzat al-Rishiq official 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.

"We are holding onto our demands to open the seaport and the airport in Gaza so we can end the blockade once and for all," he said, referring to what has been a key Hamas demand in the talks for two links with the outside world.

Al-Rishiq said Hamas negotiators were leaving Cairo on Thursday for consultations in the Qatari capital of Doha, the first time they have been permitted to fly directly from that airport since a military-backed government took over in Egypt last year, replacing an Islamist president whose Muslim Brotherhood group was closely allied with Hamas.

That could be a sign that Egypt's new anti-Hamas leadership is satisfied with the degree of flexibility that Hamas and other Palestinian negotiators are demonstrating in the current talks with Israel.

Egypt has positioned itself as the key mediator in the talks, but its tough anti-Hamas policies could limit its effectiveness. The tiny Gulf Arab nation of Qatar is seen as a conduit for Hamas demands. It hosts several senior Hamas leaders and has staunchly opposed the Egypt-Israel blockade of the Palestinian coastal strip.

Israeli government spokesman Mark Regev would not comment on the progress of Cairo talks.

Related:
Timeline of the War in Gaza
Political Conflict of 2014
United Nations
Civilian Casualties in Gaza
Hamas
Saudi Arabia's Economy

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wbearl August 14 2014 at 8:38 AM

Wow, from the looks of the cover picture it was a bad idea for Hamas to mess with Israel. I remember my Father once saying something about cutting off my nose to spite my face, that seems to apply here. I would suggest that the first thing the Palestinians should build when this is over is a Mental Institution to put Hamas in.

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5 replies
mvnup August 14 2014 at 8:26 AM

They keep showing the casualties and graves of the Palestinians but why should anyone care aren’t the Palestinians the same people who strap bombs on their women and children and send them into malls and on buses to kill others?

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6 replies
John T's Voodoo August 14 2014 at 8:13 AM

Muslims lie in the name of Allah. The Koran is pure hatred particularly for Jews and women.

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6 replies
mvnup August 14 2014 at 8:26 AM

It sad to see Israel getting targeted by these terrorist all these years. It’s good to see they are finally reacting to the threat.

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3 replies
renner1234 August 14 2014 at 8:40 AM

There is only one issue that will prevent peace.

The Palestinians/Hamas do not want peace.

Killing teenagers and firing 3,000 plus rocket into a country does not lead to peace.

Wake up world the Palestinians could have had a peace deal numeroius times in the past all resulting in failure for one simple truth.

Palestinians do not want peace.

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1 reply
golffrdlrs renner1234 August 14 2014 at 9:23 AM

I agree with you that there is only one issue that will prevent peace. I just think its a different one. Continued delusional belief in religions.

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sparticlistic August 14 2014 at 8:05 AM

Mohammed, There is only ONE reason for a lack of right/freedom/peace in ANY country in the world ISLAM. Islam is a great RELIGION. Muslim followers who practice JUST THE RELIGION (like other religions are practiced) are moral, ethical, peaceful, live lives pleasing to God and look forward to an eternal reward in heaven. The unacceptable, uncivilized, danger to world peace is the insidious spread of the freedomless forms of Islamic "GOVERNMENTS". These Fascist like GOVERNMENTS, with Totalitarian Muslim leaders, use hundreds of different interpretations of the Quran, to inflict brutal, Communistic like, secular laws, punishments and death on native populations and societies. Through intimidation, burnings, kidnapping,rape,torture and death, they convert or kill native populations and drive them from their homelands. These forms of demonic, Islamic GOVERNMENTS, are diametrically opposed to any free, Pluralistic, Western Democratic societies. Ones with feedoms, rights, goverments and secular laws CREATED BY THE PEOPLE AND FOR THE PEOPLE.
Islamic GOVERNMENTS, and Muslim's that promote, support and inflict themselves on native populations, belong back in the 16th century, in their old freedomless, sexist, racist, Christophobic, Homophobic, bigoted, anti semitic, Islamic homelands..””

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3 replies
mantlelives7 August 14 2014 at 10:25 AM

"exports" that is a good one. what exactly are they exporting. look, I feel for the people but you know when that blockade is lift more weapons will flow in for sure.

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frankiegallo33 August 14 2014 at 10:11 AM

Israel, kill every Hamas terrorist that lives.
Don't listen to Obama.
End your peoples daily fear once & for all.
Obama is strengthening Iran which is his #1 adviser's birth place and home land.
Don't trust Obama., PLEASE!!!!!!!!!

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1 reply
leanne212 frankiegallo33 August 14 2014 at 2:30 PM

lsughing at you

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jjholtkamp August 14 2014 at 7:55 AM

There are actually two major demands from Hamas that are holding ip the "peace" process.
1. The State of Israel has no right to exist and all Jews must be killed.
2. Muslims want Jerusalem.
These are non-starters obviously. The only road to peace is to anex Gaza.

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breid2 August 14 2014 at 7:57 AM

there will never be lasting peace in this region. i dont like sounding cynical- but we all know this.

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2 replies
blackcoffeeparty breid2 August 14 2014 at 1:09 PM

Yes there will be peace but sadly not until all of Israel's enemies are buried in the Valley of Hinnon

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leanne212 breid2 August 14 2014 at 2:31 PM

This is war amongst barbarians on both sides - PLEASE.

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