TEL AVIV, August 19 (RIA Novosti) – Israel and Palestinians announced Monday that the sides agreed to extend a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip by another 24 hours to allow further negotiations on a long-term solution to the conflict.
"On Egypt's request the ceasefire shall be extended by 24 hours to allow further negotiations," a source at the Israeli government said.
"There were difficulties in the negotiations because of the intransigence of the occupiers. The extension … was agreed at the suggestion of the Egyptian mediator to give one more chance to the negotiations," Izzat Risheq, a senior Hamas official, said.
Israel and the Palestinians resumed the peace talks, mediated by Egypt on Sunday.
The head of the Palestinian negotiations team to Cairo, Azzam Ahmad, told reporters that no progress has been made so far.
Palestinians have been urging Israel to end the blockade of the Gaza Strip. Since Israel occupied Gaza in 1967, it has been exercising control over the territory's borders, including goods and human flows.
On July 8, Israel launched an offensive against the Hamas movement in response to the military group’s rocket attacks. On July 17, the Israeli switched to a ground offensive to destroy the network of Hamas tunnels along the Gaza border with western Israel.
Around 1,900 people have lost their lives in Gaza, the majority of whom are civilians. Sixty-four Israeli soldiers have died since the operation Protective Edge was announced by Tel Aviv, with further three civilians killed in Israel.