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Wed August 13, 2014
Amid Reports Of Cease-Fire Extension, Hostilities Continue
Originally published on Wed August 13, 2014 8:12 pm
This post was updated at 8:10 p.m. ET.
Palestinian factions have agreed to a cease-fire, NPR's Alice Fordham reports. But there are reports of more hostilities on both sides.
"Israel says four rockets were fired from Gaza into Israel just before the last 72-hour truce ended," Fordham tells our Newscast Desk from Gaza. Israel responded with airstrikes.
"Earlier in Cairo, Hamas official Mousa Abu Marzouk told Hamas media the militant group had agreed to extend a three-day cease-fire that had expired. Palestinian delegates say progress has been made on their demands, which include more open borders between Gaza and Israel, expanded fishing rights and a seaport, but many sticking points remain."
Israeli and Palestinian officials have been meeting in Egypt via Egyptian intermediaries in an attempt to reach a deal to stop the monthlong fighting in the Gaza Strip. As we've told you, the fighting that began in June has claimed the lives of nearly 2,000 Palestinians, mostly civilians, and 67 Israelis, mostly soldiers.
The Associated Press reports:
"The Egyptian proposal calls for easing parts of the Israeli blockade of Gaza, bringing some relief to the territory, according to Palestinian officials in the talks. But it leaves the key areas of disagreement, including Hamas' demand for a full lifting of the blockade and Israeli calls for Hamas to disarm, to later negotiations."
Here's some background on how we got to this point:
"A previous three-day cease-fire ended last Tuesday when Hamas militants resumed firing rockets; Israel retaliated. Talks that accompanied that previous truce collapsed partly because Israel rejected Hamas' demands for an end to Israel and Egypt's blockade of the Gaza Strip that has had a severe impact on the territory's nearly 2 million people. Israel has been reluctant to provide concessions to Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip. Israel considers the group a terrorist organization.
"The current fighting between the two sides began in June following the abduction and killing of three Israeli teenagers in the West Bank and the subsequent killing of a Palestinian teenager in Jerusalem."
Update at 3:55 p.m. ET. Reports Of Rocket Fired:
Israel is saying a rocket launched from the Gaza Strip has landed in southern Israel, just hours before the cease-fire was due to end (midnight local time; 5 p.m. ET), NPR's Jackie Northam reports.
A spokesman for Hamas has denied that militants fired any rockets, according to Reuters and CNN.
Update at 12:06 p.m. ET. Journalist And Translator Killed:
An AP video journalist and a freelance Palestinian translator were killed in Gaza when ordnance from the fighting between Israeli and Hamas exploded as they were reporting.
Here's more from the news service:
"Simone Camilli and Ali Shehda Abu Afash died when an unexploded missile believed to have been dropped in an Israeli airstrike blew up as Gaza police engineers were working to neutralize it in the northern town of Beit Lahiya.
"Police said three police engineers also were killed. Four people, including AP photographer Hatem Moussa, were badly injured."