Egyptian mediators brokered the five-day extension to an existing truce to allow for further negotiations on a long-term ceasefire to fighting that has killed 1,962 Palestinians and 67 people on the Israeli side since July 8.

The calm held throughout on Thursday, after a flurry of Hamas rocket attacks and Israeli air strikes the previous night, even if great uncertainty persists on both sides about the future.

Around 10,000 Israelis poured into Rabin Square in Tel Aviv late on Thursday, police said, calling on the government and the army to end Palestinian rocket attacks from Gaza once and for all.

It was the first major demonstration in Israel since the fighting began and organisers said it united people across often bitter divides of left and right-wing, as well as religious and secular communities.

"This is a universal principle. We want to live in peace," Alon Davidi, mayor of the southern town of Sderot, told the rally as Israel's security cabinet met to discuss the mediation in Cairo.

"I have full confidence in the government and in the army, but at the same time I ask as mayor of Sderot that they put an end to this situation once and for all," Davidi said.

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