International

Aug 14, 2014 6:38 PM by Associated Press

Gaza truce extension fans hopes of lasting deal

CAIRO (AP) - A cease-fire that continues in the Gaza Strip is now the longest one since the war between Israel and Hamas broke out last month. The five-day extension of a three-day cease-fire is due to run through Monday.

Israel says eight Hamas rockets were launched at Israel at around the time the initial 72-hour truce was supposed to expire last night. The firing stopped early this morning. The Israeli military says it responded with airstrikes on rockets and rocket-launching sites in Gaza.

Police in Gaza say there were 17 Israeli strikes, but that no one was killed or wounded.

In the meantime, indirect negotiations through Egyptian go-betweens continue in Cairo between Israel and major Palestinian factions, including Hamas. Negotiators are expressing optimism that an agreement on a sustainable peace plan for Gaza can soon be achieved.

The deputy leader of the Islamic Jihad militant group says he's confident a satisfactory agreement will be reached. He says the war in Gaza is "now behind us."

Hamas wants to end a blockade of Gaza imposed by Israel and Egypt in 2007. 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.

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