The 72-hour truce is nearing its end as ceasefire negotiations continue in Cairo.
Early reports indicated that the temporary ceasefire was likely to be extended by two to four days, both to allow negotiations to continue and because neither side wanted to return to the conflict. However, multiple Hamas sources have rejected this, with one specifically saying that Hamas would resume its attacks at 8am on Friday. It is unclear if this is a bluff to increase Hamas’s leverage at the negotiations, or a serious threat. An Israeli source told AFP “Israel has no problem extending the ceasefire unconditionally.”
Inside Israel, the de-escalation continued as the Home Front Command removed most restrictions on public gathering, summer camps and other activities and residents of Southern Israel returned to their homes and began spending time outdoors again. 27,000 reservists have been released but another 55,000 remain on duty in case the ceasefire is breached.
Back in Cairo, Israel, Egypt, the Palestinian Authority, Hamas and Islamic Jihad are negotiating, but there has been no indication that Hamas and Islamic Jihad’s maximal demands are likely to be met, partly because Egypt opposes them and the Palestinian Authority is more willing to compromise. Reports suggest that some of the key sticking points include the opening of the Rafah crossing into Egypt – a demand Egypt is unwilling to agree to – and the release of hundreds of Hamas prisoners by Israel.