Hamas Says Will Not Extend Gaza Ceasefire

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Hamas Says Will Not Extend Gaza Ceasefire

An Israeli couple sleeps in a public bomb shelter in the southern city of Ashkelon August 4, 2014.

Cairo:  Two senior Hamas officials said the Palestinian militant movement will not extend a 72-hour ceasefire in Gaza that expires at 0500 GMT on Friday, accusing Israel of rejecting their demands for a truce.

A leader of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, a smaller faction in Gaza that is also present in Cairo-mediated truce talks, confirmed the factions had decided not to extend the ceasefire.

"We have one position, we refuse to extend the ceasefire, it is a final decision. Israel did not propose anything," said one senior Hamas official after a long meeting with Egyptian mediators.

"It did not agree to end the blockade" of Gaza, he added, referring to a key Hamas demand to end the four-week conflict that has killed almost 2,000 Palestinians.

A senior Islamic Jihad leader said the decision was taken with Hamas. Asked if there were any chance it would be reversed before 0500 GMT, he responded: "Not likely."

The delegation is led by a representative of Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas, whose Palestinian Authority in the West Bank signed a unity deal with Hamas in April to end a seven-year rift.


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