The Israeli government has approved extending a cease-fire in Gaza that is set to expire Friday morning, officials told NBC News, but a Hamas leader today said the militant group has not agreed to an extension.
An Egypt-based Hamas official participating in indirect talks in that country, Moussa Abu Marzouk, tweeted Wednesday that “there is no agreement on extending the truce."
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Gazans enjoyed a brief return to some sense of normalcy Wednesday as the 72-hour cease-fire held for a second day, with some residents going fishing, banks reopening their doors, and customers enjoying treats at an ice cream shop that was powered by electricity. The cease-fire is set to expire at 8 a.m. local time (10 p.m. Thursday ET).
The conflict has killed 1,886 Palestinians and injured 9,806 since July 8, according to the Ministry of Health in Gaza. Israel has lost 64 soldiers and three civilians. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressed “deep regret” for civilian losses, but laid the blame on Hamas, saying, “Hamas has gone to extraordinary lengths to ensure that they have civilian casualties.”
— Charlene Gubash and Phil Helsel