JERUSALEM (Ma'an) -- Egypt called upon the Palestinian Authority and the Israeli government on Friday to send their respective delegations to Cairo to discuss "critical issues" necessary to resolve in order to come to a lasting ceasefire.
A statement by the Egyptian Foreign Ministry said that the invitation was extended amid a 72-hour ceasefire that went into effect on Friday morning at 8 a.m., with the hopes that the cessation of hostilities would not only offer a humanitarian respite but also a chance for negotiations.
The statement added that the ceasefire and accompanying talks were linked to the Egyptian proposal from July 14, which the ministry said was supported by Arab and international countries.
Israel announced an unconditional Egyptian-brokered ceasefire in mid-July, but Hamas leaders said at the time that the group was not consulted before the announcement was made.
Israel used the apparent "rejection" of the ceasefire to step up and widely expand its ground assault into Gaza.
Hamas has insisted that any ceasefire be accompanied by an end to the eight-year blockade of the Gaza Strip, which has crippled the seaside territory's economy and led to recurring shortages of basic humanitarian goods.