Sunday, 10 August 2014

New 3-day Gaza ceasefire to start at midnight


BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Palestinian factions have agreed on a new 72-hour halt to hostilities in Gaza starting at midnight, sources close to the Cairo ceasefire talks told Ma'an Sunday.

The Israeli delegation was to return to Cairo later in the evening, the sources said.

They said that during the three-day ceasefire, there will be extensive negotiations to reach a more lasting ceasefire.

Meanwhile, humanitarian aid is expected to flow through Gaza crossings.

A Palestinian source in Cairo told AFP that the Egyptian mediators had received "simultaneous consensus" from both the Israeli and Palestinian side.

In order to reach a lasting truce in Gaza, Palestinians have demanded Israel end its eight-year siege on the Strip, release dozens of prisoners whom Israel has re-arrested that were released in 2011 as part of the Shalit exchange, re-open a seaport and airport in Gaza, and create a safe passage between the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

Egypt, for its part, insisted on a lifting of Israel's blockade on Gaza.

"This siege should be lifted in accordance to Israel's responsibilities as an occupation force," the foreign ministry in Cairo said in a statement.

Four weeks of bloody fighting have killed more than 1,917 Palestinians and 67 people on the Israeli side, most of them soldiers. more

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