Gaza rockets hit Israel as ceasefire expiry nears: army


JERUSALEM (AFP) – Rockets fired from the Gaza Strip crashed into Israel Friday, the army said, less than four hours from the scheduled expiry of a three-day truce.

“Just now, two rockets fired from Gaza hit southern Israel. No injuries reported,” the army said in a text message to journalists ahead of the 0500 GMT deadline for the truce to be renewed or collapse.

“Terrorists have violated the cease-fire,” it added on its official Twitter site.

Israel has said it is ready to “indefinitely” extend the 72-hour lull but there has so far been no announcement from Hamas, whose representatives and those of the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) and Israel are in Cairo for talks with Egyptian mediators on an extension.

A senior Palestinian official on Thursday accused Israel of stalling.

“The Israeli delegation is proposing extending the ceasefire while refusing a number of the Palestinian demands,” he said, without elaborating.
“If Israel continues its procrastination, we will not extend the ceasefire.”

A spokesman for Hamas s armed wing, the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades, warned just hours before the truce expired that fighting would resume if their demands were not met, first and foremost to open a sea port to the blockaded Palestinian enclave.

“If there is an agreement, it will be possible to extend the truce, but if there is not, we will ask the delegation to withdraw from the talks,” a spokesman using the nom-de-guerre Abu Obeida said in a televised address.231723_35767944



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