TEL AVIV — Israel on Saturday proposed extending the 12-hour humanitarian truce in Gaza by four hours, but a Hamas official said the group rejected the plan.
Hamas official Sami Abu Zuhri sent a text message to reporters Saturday, saying: "No agreement to extending the calm for an additional four hours." The ceasefire reached Friday night is set to expire at 8 p.m. local time (1 p.m. ET), but the extension proposed by Israel would have allowed for a break until midnight local time. The Israeli cabinet will meet at 9:30 p.m. local time, at the end of the Jewish Sabbath, to discuss further extensions to the truce.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry was in Paris on Saturday meeting with European foreign ministers about extending Saturday's pause to hostilities — the longest so far since Israel-Hamas fighting erupted July 8. Israel on Friday rejected a proposal by Kerry and U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon to halt fire for a week. Hamas has said it would not agree to a cease-fire until it gained a guarantee that the border blockade, enforced by Israel and Egypt, would be lifted.
The Palestinian death toll has risen above 1,000 as an additional 132 bodies were retried from the rubble during Saturday's humanitarian truce, Palestinian health official Asraf al-Kidra said. Israel has lost 40 soldiers and two civilians. A Thai worker in Israel also has been killed.
— Kate Snow and Elisha Fieldstadt
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
First published July 26 2014, 7:46 AM