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CAIRO/RAFAH: Hamas negotiators stayed in Cairo for a third day of ceasefire talks on Tuesday in an attempt to halt the fighting in the Gaza Strip in time for the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, free Israeli hostages and stave off famine.

A 40-day ceasefire in the war between Hamas and Israel would allow some hostages captured by Palestinian militants in the October attack that precipitated the war to go free, while aid to Gaza would be increased and families able to return to abandoned homes.

Ramadan begins at the start of next week.

“The delegation will remain in Cairo on Tuesday for more talks, they are expected to wrap up this round later today,” Hamas official told Reuters.

Three security sources from host and mediator Egypt said told Reuters the warring sides were sticking to demands that had held up an agreement.

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