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Three top Hamas commanders killed in Israeli strike

Three senior Hamas military commanders have been killed in Israeli air strike in the Gaza Strip, the Islamist militant group said.

Hamas named the men as Mohammed Abu Shammala, Raed al-Attar and Mohammed Barhoum and said they were killed in a bombing of a house in the southern town of Rafah.

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Cairo talks continue as Friday morning deadline looms

Talks to extend the current three-day truce in Gaza between Israel and Hamas are ongoing in Cairo as the Friday morning deadline looms but both sides have declared their readiness to resume arms if the latest negotiations fail.

A senior Hamas official earlier threatened to quit the talks unless the group's truce demands were met. Palestinians want an Israeli-Egyptian blockade of Gaza to be lifted and prisoners held by Israel to be freed.

A month of bitter fighting has devastated towns like Khuzaa in southern Gaza. Credit: Reuters/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa

Israel said it is only ready to agree to an extension to the truce, which is set to expire at 8am local time tomorrow (6am BST), though Egyptian mediators appeared publicly optimistic of progress being reached.

Indirect talks are ongoing and we still have today to secure (a truce extension). Egypt's aims are to stabilise and extend the truce with the agreement of both sides and to begin negotiations towards a permanent agreement to cease fire and ease border restrictions.

– Egyptian official

The head of Israel's armed forces, though, confirmed his troops would use "whatever force necessary to ensure the security of Israeli citizens" if Hamas broke the truce.

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