Palestinian sources claim initial agreement reached in Cairo talks
Egyptian mediators help bridge gaps between Israeli, Palestinian delegations; Netanyahu: 'We are prepared for every scenario.'

Palestinian newspaper Al-Quds reported Monday night that sources in the Palestinian delegation to Cairo claimed a breakthrough was achieved in the negotiations which could lead to reaching an agreement by midnight, when a five-day ceasefire between Israel and Hamas expires.



Palestinian sources also reported that an initial agreement was reached between the two delegations in Cairo with the help of Egyptian mediators.


Earlier in the night Hamas sources claimed that there was a high probability that an accord based on the Egyptian proposal would be agreed upon tonight, as long as Israel did not torpedo the effort.


Meanwhile, Palestinians reported an increase in air traffic over the Gaza Strip.


Sources close to the Palestinian delegation in Cairo added: "The current effort is focusing on reaching an agreement on extending the ceasefire by a few days." The head of the delegation, Azzam al-Ahmad, is expected to brief reporters on the latest updates in the talks.


In Israel, officials have prepared for every possible end to the ceasefire. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon met Monday night at a naval base in Ashdod to discuss Israel's options.


"We are prepared for every scenario. The IDF has made arrangements for a forceful response if the fighting resumes. In the Middle East you need a combination of force and resilience. The IDF has the necessary force, and the 'eternal people' have proved they are not afraid of a winding road," said Netanyahu.


He emphasized: "The combination of perseverance and fortitude will help us reach the aim of the operation – security and safety for all Israelis."


Ya'alon stressed that "Operation Protective Edge is not over. As we promised, we will not stop until we return the calm. Hamas will not drag us into a war of attrition, and if it tries it will receive twice as much back."


Yet, despite the declarations from Netanyahu and Ya'alon, a cabinet minister told Ynet that an extension of the ceasefire was likely.


Meanwhile, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas was expected to arrive in Qatar on Monday to meet with Hamas political bureau chief Khaled Mashal.


The PA's ambassador to Egypt also said Abbas was expected to fly into Cairo on Friday for a Saturday meeting with Egyptian President al-Sisi. The two leaders will likely discuss the creation of an international donors conference scheduled for September in Sharm el-Sheikh.


Roi Kais and Elior Levy contributed to this report.


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