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Gaza factions, Israel extend ceasefire by 24 hours

Palestinian factions and Israel have agreed to an Egyptian proposal to extend a temporary ceasefire in the Gaza Strip by 24 hours. "The 24-hour extension aims at completing negotiations for a permanent ceasefire," top Palestinian negotiator Azzam al-Ahmad told Anadolu Agency late Monday. Israel also agreed to extend the ceasefire by 24 hours starting by Monday midnight, sources were quoted as saying by Israeli daily Yediot Aharonot. Egypt, which has been mediating indirect talks between the two sides, also officially announced the one-day extension. Speaking to a press conference in Cairo following the announcement, al-Ahmad said that the talks had not made any progress, describing Tuesday as a "decisive day" for an agreement. "The talks should have been finalized by now, but the maneuvers of the Israeli delegation did not bring about any progress," he told reporters. "All the reports about progress in the talks are baseless. There is no progress in any point [of the talks]," he added.

"We hope to reach an agreement within the upcoming 24 hours, or the cycle of violence will continue to remain open."

An earlier five-day ceasefire between Palestinian faction and Israel expired by Monday midnight.

Palestinian factions and Israel have been holding indirect talks in Cairo aimed at reaching a permanent ceasefire to end one of Israel's deadliest ever offensives against the Gaza Strip, which left at least 2016 people dead and more than 10,000 others injured.

About 64 Israeli troops were also killed in Gaza combat, while three Israeli civilians were killed by rockets fired from the coastal enclave.

The coastal strip, home to some 1.8 million Palestinians, has reeled under a crippling Israeli blockade since 2007, which has badly affected residents' livelihoods

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