Although the truce began on June 19 "it was agreed explicitly that there is no expiration date" in the agreement, head of the Defense Ministry's Diplomatic-Security Bureau Maj.-Gen. (res) Amos Gilad told Channel 2 on Monday night. "In the end, the test is the calm and the benefit the residents have had for long months, even though it is relative calm," he added. Exiled Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal however, said on Sunday that the truce would not be renewed when it expires on Friday. Other Hamas officials said that the group had not yet made a decision on whether or not they would seek to renew the agreement. Asked whether any progress had been made on the issue of captured soldier Gilad Schalit during the talks in Egypt that he took part in on Sunday, Gilad said the only real test was "whether he's [in Israel] or not." He said that the issue of the cease-fire with Hamas was crucial to freeing the captured soldier, and expressed hope that Schalit would be returned "alive and well."

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