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Middle East Unrest

Gaza Talks Continue as End to 72-Hour Cease-Fire Looms

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GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip - Mediators worked against the clock on Thursday to extend the Gaza truce as a three-day ceasefire went into its final 24 hours. Israel has said it is ready to agree to an extension. Meanwhile, Egyptian mediators pursued talks with Israelis and Palestinians on a longer-term deal to end a war that devastated the Hamas-ruled enclave.

At a rally in Gaza on Thursday, Hamas vowed to "continue fighting" if its demands were not met in the Cairo talks. Hamas wants an Israeli-Egyptian blockade of Gaza to be lifted and prisoners held by Israel to be freed. After a month of bitter fighting, the two sides are not meeting face-to-face. Gaza officials say the war has killed 1,874 Palestinians, most of them civilians. Israel says 64 of its soldiers and three civilians have been killed since fighting began on July 8, after a surge in Palestinian rockets into Israel.

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- Ghazi Balkiz

The Associated Press contributed to this report.