A senior Hamas official said on Tuesday that his group was locked in "difficult" talks in Egyptian-mediated efforts in Cairo to forge a lasting cease-fire in Gaza with Israel.

"We are facing difficult negotiations. The first truce passed without notable achievements. This is the second and final cease-fire," Palestinian news agency Ma'an quoted Mousa Mohammed Abu Marzook as saying, evidently in light of the three-day halt if fighting that started Sunday.

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