4:29 p.m.: Pulling back from the brink, Israel and the various Palestinian factions have agreed to extend the temporary ceasefire.
#BREAKING Israel, Palestinians agree to extend Gaza truce, says Egypt official— Agence France-Presse (@AFP) August 13, 2014
The extension will reportedly begin in 90 minutes and last another five days as the two sides try to work out a long-term ceasefire. And you know it's a weird day when Hezbollah is breaking news about America's role in advancing regional peace.
Hizbullah-affiliated @AlMayadeenNews says Obama has stepped in to prevent avoid collapse of cease-fire talks.— Khaled Abu Toameh (@KhaledAbuToameh) August 13, 2014
Two rockets fired from Gaza reportedly struck near the Israeli city of Ashkelon on Wednesday evening just hours before a three-day truce was set to end. This development comes as the Egypt-mediated ceasefire talks between Israeli and Palestinians delegations in Cairo were also said to be on the brink of collapse.
Cairo talks failed; Gaza ceasefire collapses. Great danger of serious escalation on the ground— Barak Ravid (@BarakRavid) August 13, 2014
War-weariness in #Israel - not one TV channel changed its normal schedule. All made do with putting the rocket warning in corner of screen— Anshel Pfeffer (@AnshelPfeffer) August 13, 2014
Per Haaretz, Hamas is reportedly denying responsibility for the rocket attack.
Earlier on Wednesday, there had been some optimism that the two parties could reach a breakthrough in the negotiations for a long-term ceasefire. President Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke by phone on Wednesday afternoon to discuss the efforts to iron out a deal.
At the very minimum, it was expected that the ongoing temporary truce would be extended as the Israelis and Palestinians were rumored to be close to a deal. That optimism seems to have dried up as the Israeli delegation departed Cairo to return to Israel this evening.
Meanwhile, there are also reports of activity at the Egyptian border area near Gaza.
Egypt has also been enforcing a blockade of Gaza, which intensified greatly after former Egyptian president (and Muslim Brotherhood leader) Mohamed Morsi was deposed last year.
(Update: According to the Times of Israel, while the source of the rocket fire remains unknown, a 13-year-old Egyptian girl was reportedly killed in the attack. Two other children were injured.)
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.