(GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip) -- Despite a flurry of strikes and counter-strikes Thursday by the militant group Hamas and Israel, it appears that a five-day cease-fire will proceed unhindered. The news is particularly good for the residents of Gaza who have seen their homeland battered and under siege for the past five weeks.
More than 1,950 Palestinians have died during that time with Israeli fatalities at 67, most of them soldiers. The temporary truce, if it holds, would be the third and longest since Israel began its air and ground offensive on July 8 in response to Hamas rocket attacks on Israel.
Meanwhile, talks between Israeli and Palestinian delegations in Cairo are set to resume Sunday. The goal there is a more lasting peace although the objectives of both sides vary widely and are difficult to bridge. Israel is looking for the complete demilitarization of Hamas in Gaza while Hamas wants a seven-year-long blockade lifted and a seaport opened.
Hamas negotiator Khalil al-Hayya told reporters in Gaza, "There is still a real chance to clinch an agreement, but Israel must stop playing with words." Failing to get its demands could mean a resumption of the conflict, Hayya said. Israel's Cabinet is also meeting to discuss the talks.
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