The 72-hour ceasefire is continuing to hold in the Gaza Strip, but whether or not it will be extended beyond the Friday deadline remains to be seen, with the armed wing of Hamas saying they oppose any such extensions without some concessions made on the final peace deal.
The statement from the Izzedine al-Qassam Brigades wing urged the Palestinian delegation in Cairo not to agree to any ceasefire extensions unless Israel agreed in principle to the demand to open a Gaza seaport under UN supervision. The faction said it was ready for a “long war” and a withdrawal from the talks entirely without such a deal.
The Palestinian negotiation team, which includes Hamas political leaders as well as Fatah and Islamic Jihad members, has not yet made it clear if they’re going to push the Qassam Brigades’ demand.
But with the peace talks so far stuck on several key points, including Israel’s demand for a full, unilateral disarmament of the entire Gaza Strip, the Qassam Brigades present another obstacle to a deal to end the war. At the same time, Hamas’ armed wing has the most to lose under a disarmament deal, and may be trying to simply sabotage the talks to avoid a deal that costs them influence within the overall Hamas framework.
The death toll of the Gaza war so far is continuing to be finalized, but current stands at 1,976 Gazans killed, 83.1% of them civilians and 463 (23.4%) children under the age of 18. The Israeli toll is 67, with 64 of them soldiers.
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