Palestinians say Israel `stalling` truce talks before deadline

Palestinian officials accused Israel on Thursday of stalling truce talks as a 72-hour ceasefire in Gaza neared its end, saying they have not decided whether to extend it or resume fighting.

Cairo: Palestinian officials accused Israel on Thursday of stalling truce talks as a 72-hour ceasefire in Gaza neared its end, saying they have not decided whether to extend it or resume fighting.

Egyptian mediators in Cairo were expected to meet with a Palestinian delegation later on Thursday to relay Israel`s terms, with one Palestinian official saying the Israelis were "procrastinating."

Israel indicated on Wednesday it would be willing to extend the ceasefire, which expires at 0500 GMT on Friday.

But a Palestinian official in Cairo said the Israeli proposal amounted to just a ceasefire while refusing key Palestinian demands, which include an end to Gaza`s blockade and the release of prisoners.

"The Israeli delegation is proposing extending the ceasefire while refusing a number of the Palestinian demands," said the official.

Another Palestinian official accused the delegation of "wanting to procrastinate and stall the negotiations."

In Gaza, devastated by the four-week conflict that killed 1,886 Palestinians according to medics, a Hamas spokesman said no decision had been reached on renewing the ceasefire.

"As of now there is no official stance on renewing the truce or resuming the fighting," said Fawzi Barhoum.
Another Palestinian official close to the talks in Cairo said the factions think the talks could fail and "they will resume fighting tomorrow."
Egypt, however, is exterting "tremendous pressure to achieve progress in the talks," said a Palestinian official in Cairo.

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