Egypt announced that Israel and Palestinian factions have agreed on Wednesday to extend the humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza for an additional five days, an arrangement confirmed by both sides.
The Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement that the ceasefire was extended to provide more time to continue ongoing indirect negotiations taking place in Cairo to reach a “lasting and comprehensive peace agreement”.
Israel Defense Forces spokesman Peter Lerner said on Thursday morning: “After eight rockets launched at Israel, we are waking up to an extended ceasefire. Israel Defense Forces will be prepared for further Hamas aggression.”
Member of Hamas’s political bureau and member of the Palestinian delegation negotiating in Cairo Ezzat El-Rashq stated that the ceasefire was extended for five days in order “to continue consultations”. He added that “the Palestinian delegation will leave the Egyptian capital, Cairo for consultation.”
The Israel Defense Forces claimed that the Palestinian side breached the ceasefire when rockets were launched from Gaza into Israel on Wednesday night, in the last few hours of the original 72-hour ceasefire.
The extension comes shortly before the expiration of a 72-hour humanitarian ceasefire between Israel and Palestinian factions brokered by Egypt. It came into effect one minute past midnight on Sunday and was the second ceasefire in under a week.
Indirect talks in Cairo resumed on Monday following the start of the ceasefire, with the Israeli delegation returning to Egypt despite the “low levels of trust”.
Hamas and Islamic Jihad leaders had described on Tuesday the “seriousness” of the latest round of talks. The Palestinian delegation includes representatives of the Palestinian Authority, Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad.
This latest conflict, which began on 7 July, has killed over 2,000. In Gaza alone 1,948 people have been killed, including “1,402 civilians, of whom 456 are children and 237 are women”, according to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.