5-day truce stands despite Israeli/Gazan shelling: Palestinian diplomat
Azzam al-Ahmad Member of Fatah's Central Committee - YOUM7 (Archive)
By NOURHAN MAGDI

CAIRO: The 5-day truce announced late Wednesday night is still in effect, despite reported shelling from both Israeli and Gazan sides, said a Palestinian diplomat in Cairo Thursday who requested anonymity.

The diplomat said that although the Cairo negotiations were progressing, he blamed the Israeli delegation’s “stubbornness” for the slow pace.

Head of the Palestinian delegation Azam al-Ahmed said in a press conference late Wednesday following Egypt-mediated indirect talks between Hamas and Israel that they reached an agreement on a new 5-day ceasefire.

The truce is one of several bids to end the ongoing war in Gaza, which began in early July, and has killed over 1,951 and wounded 10,193, according to Palestinian Health Ministry. Since the beginning of the aggression on July 8 on the strip, 67 Israelis were killed, three of whom were civilians.

It is unclear whether negotiations will be affected by the recent airstrikes. Rockets were reportedly fired Wednesday into South Israel, one of which was intercepted by the Iron Dome.

Hamas spokesperson Sami Abu Zuhri denied to Reuters that any rockets were fired into Israel.

The alleged rockets were shot into Israel hours before the end of a temporary three-day truce that started on Aug. 10 and amid wide expectations of a permanent ceasefire in the besieged strip.

During the past five weeks, the strip was intensively targeted by the Israeli military operation that was claimed to be originally aiming at the militant group Hamas.

The Rafah border was opened for several times to receive injured from Gaza and transfer them to hospitals in Egypt for treatment, as well as to allow humanitarian aid convoys heading to Gaza strip.

The Israeli delegation returned to Cairo Wednesday, after it left Tuesday to present the last indirect negotiations on the Israeli government.

Hamas was represented in Cairo talks by a delegation comprising multiple Palestinian factions. They demanded an end of the Israeli blockade on Gaza, the opening of Rafah border crossing, and an expansion of the permitted fishing area by 12 miles, and Israel demanded the disarmament of the Palestinian factions.

Some demands have been achieved: Israel accepted to release the salaries of Hamas employees through a third party, allow the entry of 600 trucks of food and medical items to Gaza on daily basis through Kerem Shalom crossing, expand six miles of the fishing zone and relax parts of the blockade, according to Leading member in Palestinian Fatah Movement, Ayman el-Raqb.

El-Raqb told Al-Masry Al-Youm Wednesday that the Palestinian delegation agreed to transfer the management of the Rafah border to the Palestinian authority instead of Hamas.

“It is apparent that both sides want to continue with the negotiations, but it is difficult to achieve all demands,” added El-Raqb.

A demand for the swap of Palestinian prisoners for the remains of Israeli soldiers’ captives has been postponed, according to The Guardian newspaper.

The main areas of disagreement include Hamas’s demand for establishing a seaport and airport for Gaza, which is totally objected by Israel and was set off the talks table, according to Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper Aug. 8.

Additional reporting by Amira el-Fekki.

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