Palestinian sources have said that the 3-day truce which is currently underway in the Gaza strip could be extended to another 72 hours
The three-day truce, which is currently underway in the Gaza strip, could be extended to another 72 hoursReuters

Palestinian sources claim that the three-day truce, which is currently underway in the Gaza strip, could be extended to another 72 hours as delegations have been struggling to make progress on a number of issues under discussion in Cairo.

Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported, citing unnamed sources, that as the three-day ceasefire hit the midpoint on Tuesday, talks of a more sustainable truce between Israel and Palestine appeared to have stalled.

A senior Israeli official was cited saying that 'large gaps' between the two sides still remained to be bridged and that another temporary ceasefire - extending to three more days - could be negotiated after the current one expires on Wednesday.

The development comes after it emerged on Monday that Israel has agreed during the ongoing negotiations in Cairo to ease conditions in the Gaza Strip.

A 72-hour truce to the deadly fighting in Gaza went into effect at midnight on Sunday and appeared to be holding until Tuesday. With the ceasefire being respected by both sides, Israeli and Palestinian delegations returned to Cairo.

However, the newspaper quoted sources saying that if progress was not reached in the next few hours through Tuesday, there would be no point in extending the truce.

"The first cease-fire did not achieve anything," the report quoted Hamas' deputy political leader Moussa Abu-Marzouk as saying.

"This cease-fire will be the second and the last," he said, adding that talks so far have been difficult but contained "signs of seriousness".

Hamas has continued pressing for its demands, including the opening of border crossing and the construction of a port, but sources said the gaps are still large.

The conflict in the Gaza strip continues to make international headlines as around 2,000 people have died in the fight that began on 8 July, when Israel launched a deadly offensive intended to counterattack the Hamas militants.

Over 1,900 Palestinians, mostly civilians, were among those who lost their lives, according to the UN. On the Israeli side, around 67 people have died so far, including three civilians.

This is the second time a three-day truce has been agreed upon by the two parties, after another one expired on Friday.