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Palestinian negotiators in Egypt for truce talks

Aug. 5, 2014 7:25 P.M. (Updated: Aug. 6, 2014 12:03 P.M.)
CAIRO (AFP) -- Three remaining members of a Palestinian delegation negotiating a longer-term truce in Gaza were on their way to Cairo Tuesday after entering Egypt through the Rafah crossing, state media reported.

Israel and Hamas halted their fighting in Gaza from 8 a.m. Tuesday after a three-day temporary truce brokered by Cairo went into effect.

Israel also withdrew its troops from the coastal enclave.

The three Palestinian leaders who entered Egypt were Islamic Jihad member, Khaled al-Batsh, and senior Hamas officials Khalil al-Haya and Emad El-Elmy, said the official MENA news agency.

A joint Palestinian delegation representing president Mahmoud Abbas's Palestinian Authority, Hamas and Islamic Jihad has been in Cairo for the past few days at Egypt's invitation.

Israel earlier refused to send its negotiators, but an official said Tuesday that a team representing it was on its way to Cairo.

The main demands proposed to Egyptian mediators by the Palestinian delegation are a ceasefire, the withdrawal of Israeli troops from Gaza, the end of the siege of the enclave, and opening its border crossings.

They have also demanded fishing rights up to 12 nautical miles off Gaza's coast and the release of Palestinian prisoners demanded by Hamas and Abbas.

Egyptian mediators are to forward these demands to the Israelis.

Israel's assault on Gaza has killed over 1,800 Palestinians and injured at least 9,000. Gaza's deputy economy minister Taysir Amro said Tuesday that the assault has caused at least $4-6 billion in damages.

Sixty-four Israeli soldiers have been killed and three Israeli civilians.

The majority of those killed in Gaza are civilians, according to UN agencies.

Ma'an staff contributed to this report

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