07/17/2014, 00.00
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"Comprehensive" ceasefire between Israel and Hamas announced, then denied

by Joshua Lapide
Today's "humanitarian ceasefire" to allow drugs and basic necessities into the Gaza Strip held despite three mortars fired into Israel. For Egyptians, securing a truce is hard because the Hamas leadership is divided, physically and politically.

Jerusalem (AsiaNews) - As today's humanitarian ceasefire held, reports about a truce between Israel and Hamas were denied by Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman in Jerusalem.

This comes after reports suggested that Israel had accepted an Egyptian proposal for a comprehensive Gaza ceasefire starting 6 am (3am GMT) tomorrow.

There was no immediate word from Hamas, which rejected a previous ceasefire offer two days ago.

Azza al-Ahmad, a Fatah representative in Cairo, told Al Jazeera that although there was no agreement, communications were ongoing to broker a deal, with the participation of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas who is in Cairo today.

Notwithstanding rumours about a comprehensive truce, today's five-hour "humanitarian" ceasefire held.

It came into effect at 10:00 local time (07:00 GMT) to allow in medicines and basic necessities (pictured).

Meanwhile, Israel announced that three mortars fired from Gaza hit its territory two hours into the ceasefire.

This confirms that Hamas does not control all the groups - starting with Islamic Jihad - operating in the Strip.

Also today, the Israeli military announced that Hamas gunmen were killed after they used tunnels to enter Israel and attack Kibbutz Sufa. Hamas denied any of its fighters was killed.

So far, the violence has cost the lives of 227 Palestinians. As the brief ceasefire held, discussions continued in Cairo to find ways to secure a lasting truce.

One of the difficulties is that the Hamas leadership is fractured, physically and politically, an Egyptian official said.

Hamas has always said it would agree to a truce in exchange for an end to the blockade imposed on Gaza by Israel and Egypt.

This would allow the movement to declare victory, but Cairo and Jerusalem are unlikely to accept it those terms.

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