Hamas official denies new truce deal with Israel, efforts ongoing

GAZA CITY, Palestinian Territories (AFP) - A Hamas official denied a ceasefire deal with Israel has been reached, rejecting claims from an Israeli official that they had agreed to halt fire early on Friday.

"The news about a ceasefire is incorrect. There are continuing efforts but no agreement until now," Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri told AFP on Thursday.

The denial came after an Israeli official who spoke to AFP on condition of anonymity said the Jewish state had agreed a ceasefire with Hamas that would begin at 3am GMT on Friday.

Meanwhile, a rocket fired from Gaza hit the Israeli city of Ashkelon on Thursday, the army said, just as a five-hour lull in 10 days of Israel-Hamas fighting ended.

The rocket hit at exactly 3pm, the army said in a statement, after the two sides had agreed to cease hostilities on humanitarian grounds for five hours from 7am GMT, at the request of the United Nations.

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