Gaza truce extended for 5 days to allow more talks-Palestinians

CAIRO, (Reuters) – Israel and Palestinian factions negotiating in Cairo agreed on Wednesday to extend a truce for five more days to allow them to reach a lasting agreement to end the fighting in Gaza, the head of the Palestinian delegation said.

Azzam Ahmed, a senior Fatah official, told reporters after a day of intense talks mediated by Egyptian intelligence that the Palestinians hoped to reach a final deal in the coming weeks, with Arab and international backing.

An Egyptian Foreign Ministry statement confirmed that a five-day extension to the ceasefire had been agreed.

Speaking as an existing 72-hour truce expired, Ahmed said that agreement had been reached on many issues but a few key sticking points remain, including on security.

“I say yes, there was progress and agreement on many of the sticking points,” said Ahmed. “We hope that when we return in five days, this will be the final period to announce an agreement … for a permanent ceasefire that ends the aggression against Gaza.”

The Palestinian team expects to head to Ramallah on Thursday for consultations with Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas, before returning to Egypt on Saturday to resume talks, several Palestinian officials said.

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