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Cease-fire in Gaza holds

Wednesday, August 06, 2014 - Updated: 10:39 AM

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) -- A cease-fire between Israel and Hamas that ended a month of war was holding for a second day today, ahead of negotiations in Cairo on a long-term truce and a broader deal for the war-ravaged Gaza Strip.

In the coming days, Egyptian mediators are to shuttle between delegations from both sides to try to work out a deal. The Palestinian delegation is composed of negotiators from all major factions, including Hamas, the Islamic militant group that controls Gaza. Names of those in the Israeli team have not been disclosed.

Some details have emerged about the negotiating points of Hamas, including an internationally funded reconstruction of the coastal strip that would be overseen by a Palestinian unity government led by President Mahmoud Abbas.

Meanwhile, Norway is organizing a donor conference and the Western-backed Abbas is expected to take the lead in overseeing the rebuilding in the coastal territory, which his Fatah movement lost to Hamas in 2007. International Mideast envoy Tony Blair, who is also involved in arranging the conference, was in Cairo and was to meet with Egypt's foreign minister and Arab League officials today.

The cease-fire is the longest lull in a war that has killed nearly 1,900 Palestinians. Israel has lost 67 people, including three civilians.

The war broke out on July 8, when the Israeli military began bombarding targets in Gaza in an attempt to stop Hamas from launching rockets at Israel. On July 17, Israel sent ground troops into the densely-populated territory to destroy underground tunnels it said Hamas had constructed for attacks inside Israel.

But in the weeks leading up to the war, Israeli-Palestinian tensions were soaring in the wake of the June killings of three Israeli teenagers, whose bodies were discovered two weeks after they disappeared in the West Bank.

Israel accused Hamas of being behind the abductions, and subsequently carried out a massive ground operation in the West Bank, arresting hundreds of Hamas operatives as part of a manhunt.


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