Israeli soldiers stand in front of the graffiti covered separation barrier during clashes in the West Bank.
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Egyptian mediators clinched an agreement from Israel and the Palestinians Wednesday to extend a Gaza truce by five days just minutes before it was to expire at midnight.Three days of frantic shuttle diplomacy had appeared in jeopardy only an hour earlier when a rocket struck Israel, hitting an open area near Gaza's northern border shortly after sirens rang out across the south. Chief Palestinian negotiator Azzam al-Ahmed confirmed the cease-fire would last for five days, unlike two previous 72-hour lulls.Millions of people had been banking on Egyptian mediators to avoid a resumption of the fighting, which has killed more than 1,950 Palestinians, mostly civilians, and 67 on the Israeli side, mostly soldiers, since July 8 .Israel has said it will facilitate Gaza's reconstruction only if the enclave is fully disarmed, a demand rejected by the Palestinians.
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