December 18, 2014
Israel says rocket fired from Gaza as Egypt talks end
Israeli police reported a rocket was fired from Gaza and landed in southern Israel, breaking a three-day truce two hours before it was due to expire, while negotiations between Israel and Palestine continued in Cairo.
Israeli spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said the rocket caused no damage or casualties, and that it was the first rocket fired from Gaza at Israel since the truce took effect on Monday.
Meanwhile, a Hamas spokesman denied any rockets had been fired from the Gaza Strip at Israel. Spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said Hamas "denies there was any rocket fire at the occupation this evening", referring to Israel.
A Hamas website reported that talks in Cairo had hit obstacles and Palestinian delegates were preparing to leave. But a source knowledgeable about the talks said earlier that though the sides were far apart, Egypt might try to get them to extend a truce for another 72 hours.
Israeli negotiators had returned to Egypt after overnighting in Israel, with the truce in the month-old hostilities that have killed 1,945 Palestinians in the Gaza Strip and 67 on the Israeli side due to expire at 2100 GMT (5 p.m. EDT).
Hamas, which dominates Gaza, and its allies seek a lifting of Israeli and Egyptian blockades of the coastal enclave. Israel and Egypt harbor deep security concerns about the Islamist group, complicating any deal on easing border restrictions.
Israeli and Palestinian negotiators were tightlipped today on whether any agreement on a long-term end to hostilities was near. A Palestinian embassy source said the talks were continuing and Palestinian delegates would hold more meetings with Egyptian mediators.
The two sides are not meeting face-to-face. Israel regards Hamas, which has advocated its destruction, as a terrorist organization that cannot be a direct negotiating partner.