Gaza rocket hits Israel ahead of truce deadline: police

JERUSALEM (AFP) - At least one rocket fired from Gaza struck Israel late on Wednesday, just two hours before the expiry of a 72-hour truce which Israel had offered to extend, police said.

"A rocket hit an open area in Shaar HaNegev regional council without causing casualties or damage," police spokeswoman Luba Samri told AFP referring to a district of southern Israel.

An army spokeswoman confirmed there were "sirens and rocket launches" and that one rocket had struck an open area in southern Israel north of the Gaza Strip.

An Israeli official told AFP shortly before the rocket attack that the Jewish state was willing to extend the ceasefire by another 72 hours, following a third day of intense talks with Egyptian mediators in Cairo.

A previous 72-hour truce crumbled last Friday with pre-dawn rocket attacks on Israel and with Hamas refusing to extend the ceasefire arrangement.