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Gaza truce holds as US ties with Israel show strain

GAZA CITY, Palestinian Territories--A fragile cease-fire around Gaza held for a second day Friday as Israel's relations with its U.S. ally showed new signs of strain with tough talks looming on a more lasting peace.

Washington denied a report that the White House was tightening the reins on the routine delivery of military aid to Israel over concerns about the proportionality of its military action in Gaza.

But the State Department acknowledged that arms shipments were being kept under review in the face of a conflict that has killed 1,962 Palestinians and 67 people on the Israeli side since July 8.

Egyptian mediators won a new five-day cease-fire late Wednesday to give Israeli and Palestinian negotiators more time to thrash out a longer-term truce.

The cease-fire got off to a rocky start in its first few hours but Israeli officials said it had held into a second day Friday.

The military said there was no Palestinian rocket fire overnight and that it had carried out no air strikes.

“There was nothing,” a spokeswoman told AFP.

Negotiations are expected to resume in Cairo on Saturday evening, as Palestinian and Israeli negotiators consult with their political leaderships about the parameters for an eventual long-term truce.

Gaza's Islamist de facto rulers Hamas, who have representation on the Palestinian negotiating team, insist there can be no return to peace without a lifting of Israel's eight-year blockade of the beleaguered coastal enclave.

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