Sunday 26 June 2016

Israel says permanent Gaza ceasefire agreed from tomorrow

Published 17/07/2014 | 12:24

Smoke and fire from the explosion of an Israeli strike rise over Gaza City, Gaza Strip, Tuesday, July 22, 2014, as Israeli airstrikes pummeled a wide range of locations along the coastal area and diplomatic efforts intensified to end the two-week war. AP
Smoke and fire from the explosion of an Israeli strike rise over Gaza City, Gaza Strip, Tuesday, July 22, 2014, as Israeli airstrikes pummeled a wide range of locations along the coastal area and diplomatic efforts intensified to end the two-week war. AP
Israeli soldiers ride atop an armoured personnel carrier (APC) outside the northern Gaza Strip. Israel pounded targets across the Gaza Strip on Tuesday, saying no ceasefire was near as top US and U.N. diplomats pursued talks on halting fighting that has claimed more than 500 lives. Reuters
An Israeli soldier splashes water on his face as he stands atop a tank outside the northern Gaza Strip. Reuters
A Palestinian medic gestures at Al-Aqsa hospital, which witnesses said was damaged in an Israeli shelling on Monday, in Deir El-Balah in the central Gaza Strip. Reuters
Israeli soldiers fire a mortar towards the Gaza Strip. Reuters
A Palestinian gunman fires in the air during the funeral of Mahmoud al-Shawamrah in the West Bank town of Al-Ram near Jerusalem. Reuters
Palestinian protesters run from tear gas thrown by Israeli soldiers during a demonstration against the Israeli military action in Gaza, near the West Bank city of Nablus. AP
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (R) gestures as he speaks during a joint news conference with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon at the Defence Ministry in Tel Aviv. Reuters
Bansayan, the brother of Israeli soldier Bayhesain Kshaun, 39, who was killed on July 21, mourns during his brother's funeral in the southern town of Netivot. Reuters
Palestinians inspect Al Farouk mosque destroyed by an overnight Israeli strike, in Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip. AP
Smoke from an Israeli strike rises over Gaza City. AP
Palestinians walk past the ruins of a mosque, which police said was hit in an Israeli air strike, in Gaza City. Reuters
An Israeli soldier rests at a field just outside Gaza. Reuters
Gas deployed by the Israeli army gushes out of a hole in a tunnel, which was used by Hamas militants in an attack on July 21, during an operation to search for tunnels dug by the Palestinian militants, just outside the Gaza Strip. Reuters
Israeli soldiers carry missiles to armoured personnel carriers (APCs) as they prepare to send more ammunition to their comrades operating in the Gaza Strip, just outside Gaza. Reuters
An Israeli Apache helicopter fires a missile towards the Gaza Strip. Reuters
Smoke is seen after an Israeli strike over the Gaza Strip. Israel pounded targets across the Gaza Strip on Tuesday, saying no ceasefire was near as top US and United Nations diplomats pursued talks on halting the fighting that has claimed more than 600 lives. Reuters
A Palestinian touches the forehead of a member of the Abu-Hasira family, who medics said was killed in an Israeli air strike, at a funeral in Gaza City
Smoke rises following what witnesses said was an Israeli air strike in Gaza City
A Palestinian man carries his son as he walks past a mosque which police said was hit in an Israeli air strike, in Gaza City
Palestinians look at a residential building which police said was hit in an Israeli air strike that killed at least 10 Palestinians on Monday, in Gaza City
Palestinians, who fled their homes during heavy Israeli shelling in the Shejaia neighbourhood, sleep at the Saint Porfirios church in Gaza City
Palestinians look at the remains of a mosque, which police said was hit in an Israeli air strike, in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip
Palestinians inspect a residential building, which police said was destoyed in an Israeli air strike, in Gaza City
Palestinians search for belongings under the rubble of a residential building, which police said was destroyed in an Israeli air strike, in Gaza City
A Palestinian woman walks past the rubble of a residential building, which police said was destroyed in an Israeli air strike, in Gaza City
Palestinians evacuate a building after what witnesses said were warning Israeli air strikes next to their homes in Gaza City
Palestinian boys, who fled their houses during heavy Israeli shelling in the Shejaia neighborhood, dip in a fountain basin at a garden in Gaza City
Palestinian medics tend to a boy who they said was wounded in an Israeli shelling, at a hospital, in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip. The Palestinian death toll rose above 500 on Monday as the army said it had killed 10 militants who tunneled into Israel, while Gazan officials said an Israeli tank shelled a hospital, killing civilians. Photo: REUTERS/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa
Palestinians flee in the back of a donkey cart from Israeli shelling in Bet Lahiya in northern Gaza Strip. Photo: REUTERS/Finbarr O'Reilly
Israeli soldiers fire mortars from an armored personnel carrier near the Israeli-Gaza border during operation Protective Edge near Sderot, Israel. Sunday marked the bloodiest day of the conflict yet, as 13 Israeli soldiers died and the death toll in Gaza passed 500 people. Photo: Andrew Burton/Getty Images
Palestinians collect the remains of bodies at a damaged house which police said was hit by an Israeli shelling that killed 8 members from al-Qassas family, among them four children, in Gaza City. Photo: REUTERS/Suhaib Salem
An Israeli tank manoeuvres outside the northern Gaza Strip. Following the death of 13 soldiers on Sunday, Israel said seven more troops had died on Monday. Photo: REUTERS/Baz Ratner
Palestinians sleep at a United Nations school, where people who fled heavy Israeli shelling in the Shejaia neighbourhood sought refuge during fighting, in Gaza City. Photo: REUTERS/Finbarr O'Reilly
Palestinians gather as an excavator searches for victims amongst the rubble of a house, which police said was destroyed in an Israeli air strike, in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip. Israeli tanks shelled militant targets in the Gaza Strip on Monday and a woman died in an air strike after the bloodiest day of a nearly two-week military offensive that showed no signs of abating, despite global calls for a truce. Photo: REUTERS/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa
An Israeli mobile artillery unit fires towards the Gaza Strip. Photo: REUTERS/Nir Elias
The father (C) of Palestinian man Zakareya al-Ashqar, who medics said was killed during heavy Israeli shelling, reacts outside a hospital morgue in Gaza City
Palestinian rescue workers stand atop the rubble of a house which police said was destroyed in an Israeli air strike, in Gaza City
Palestinians pray next to the bodies of eight members from al-Halaq family, who medics said were killed in an Israeli air strike on Sunday, during their funeral at a mosque in Gaza City
The parents of Palestinian man Zakareya al-Ashqar, who medics said was killed during heavy Israeli shelling, mourn a hospital in Gaza City
The aunt (C) of Palestinian boy Mohammed Ayad, who medics said was killed during heavy Israeli shelling, mourns during his funeral in Gaza City
Mourners carry the body of a Palestinian from al-Halaq family, who medics said was killed in an Israeli air strike on Sunday along with seven members from the same family, during their funeral in Gaza City
Israeli soldiers take position in the southern town of Sderot during an infiltration by Palestinian militants
Palestinians gather around the bodies of eight members of al-Halaq family, who medics said were killed in an Israeli air strike on Sunday
The father (back) of Palestinian man Zakareya al-Ashqar, who medics said was killed during heavy Israeli shelling, is consoled outside a hospital morgue in Gaza City
Relatives bury the the body of Palestinian boy Mohammed Ayad, who medics said was killed during heavy Israeli shelling, at a cemetery in Gaza City
An Israeli tank moves near the border with Gaza
Relatives of Palestinian man Zakareya al-Ashqar,who medics said was killed during heavy Israeli shelling, mourn outside a hospital morgue in Gaza City
Israeli soldiers take position in the southern town of Sderot, during an infiltration by Palestinian militants
The uncle of Palestinian boy Mohammed Ayad, who medics said was killed during heavy Israeli shelling, carries his body as he prepares to bury him at a cemetery in Gaza City
A Palestinian man walks amidst the debris of a house which police said was destroyed in an Israeli air strike, in Gaza City
Israeli soldiers take position along a fence in the southern town of Sderot during infiltration by Palestinian militants
Israeli soldiers take position along a fence in the southern town of Sderot, during infiltration by Palestinian militants
Palestinians flee in a vehicle from Israeli shelling in Bet Lahiya in northern Gaza Strip
Palestinians flee in the back of a donkey cart from Israeli shelling in Bet Lahiya in northern Gaza Strip
Palestinians sleep at a United Nations school, where people who fled heavy Israeli shelling in the Shejaia neighbourhood sought refuge during fighting, in Gaza City
Bloodstains are seen as a Palestinian boy looks at the remains of a car which police said was hit in an Israeli air strike in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip. Israel resumed its air strikes in the Gaza Strip on Wednesday a day after holding its fire in deference to an Egyptian-proposed cease-fire deal that failed to get Hamas militants to halt rocket attacks. Photo: REUTERS
Palestinians inspect the damage caused be an early morning Israeli missile strike in Gaza City. Israel intensified their air attacks, targeting the homes of four senior Hamas leaders and ordering tens of thousands of residents to evacuate border areas. Photo: AP Photo/Khalil Hamra
A Palestinian unloads mattresses at a United Nations-run school for Palestinians who fled their homes close to the border with Israel, in Gaza City. Israel urged the evacuation of several Gaza Strip areas where more than 100,000 people live. Photo: REUTERS/Finbarr O'Reilly
People pray next to the body of a Palestinian man, who medics said was killed in an Israeli air strike, during his funeral at a mosque in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip. According to Gaza health officials, the death toll in the coastal enclave had risen to 202 and most of the dead were civilians. Photo: REUTERS/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa
A Palestinian girl, who medics said was wounded in an Israeli air strike, is treated at a hospital in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip. Palestinian fire have inflicted the first Israeli fatality of the conflict - a civilian bringing food to soldiers near Gaza. Photo: REUTERS/Ali Hassan
An Israeli mobile artillery unit fires towards Gaza from outside the central Gaza Strip. Israeli shelling killed four boys on a Gaza beach on Wednesday, a local health official said, and Palestinian militants fired a further 70 rockets into Israel after a failed Egyptian attempt to halt more than a week of warfare. Photo: REUTERS/Baz Ratner
The remains of a tank shell, which police said was fired by Israeli troops, are seen on the fourth floor of Al-Wafa rehabilitation hospital in the east of Gaza City . Patients were evacuated from the fourth floor to the ground floor after the strike on the hospital, which was earlier warned of the impending Israeli strike, medics said. Photo: REUTERS/Mohammed Salem
Photographer Jaafar Ishtayeh looks at his burning car after it was hit by tear gas canisters fired by Israeli soldiers, during a protest by Palestinians against Israeli air strikes in Gaza strip, at Hawara checkpoint near the West Bank city of Nablus. Ishtayeh, a Palestinian, was at the scene to provide coverage of the protest. Photo: REUTERS/Abed Omar Qusini
Patients lie in their beds on the ground floor of Al-Wafa rehabilitation hospital after being evacuated from the fourth floor, which police said was hit by a tank shell fired by Israeli troops, in the east of Gaza City. Photo: REUTERS/Mohammed Salem
People stand at the scene where a rocket, fired by Palestinian militants in Gaza, landed in Ashkelon. Photo: REUTERS/Amir Cohen
Relatives of Dror Khenin bury his body during his funeral in Yehud, east of Tel Aviv, after he was killed on Tuesday when a short-range rocket landed near the border with Gaza. Khenin has been the first Israeli killed in the rocket fire, most of whose projectiles have crashed on open ground or been intercepted by Israel's Iron Dome anti-missile shield. Photo: REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun
The bodies of three of the four Palestinian children from the Baker family, whom medics said were killed by a shell fired by an Israeli naval gunboat, is carried from the morgue in Gaza City.Photo: REUTERS/Finbarr O'Reilly

An Israeli official said on Thursday there is an agreement for a comprehensive Gaza ceasefire starting on Friday.

In Gaza, there was no immediate confirmation from Hamas and other Palestinian militant groups that they had agreed to halt 10 days of cross-border warfare.

"There is an agreement for a ceasefire beginning tomorrow. I believe it is six in the morning (0300 GMT)," said the official, who asked not to be identified.

The official said Israeli leaders approved a truce after a senior Israeli delegation held talks in Egypt.

Israel's bombardment of Gaza has killed more than 200 Palestinians, including four boys struck on a beach by shells fired from a navy ship.

Israel said it would hold its fire today from 10am (8am BST) under a plan to allow Palestinians to restock food, water and other necessities. But it vowed to retaliate "firmly and decisively" if Hamas or other militant groups launched attacks during that time.

Relatives of four-year-old Palestinian boy Muayed al-Araj, who hospital officials said was killed in an Israeli air strike on his family's house, mourn during his funeral in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip July 13, 2014. REUTERS/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa
Relatives of four-year-old Palestinian boy Muayed al-Araj, who hospital officials said was killed in an Israeli air strike on his family's house, mourn during his funeral in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip July 13, 2014. REUTERS/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa
A Palestinian mourner chants slogans on the grave of a member of the al-Batsh family who were killed in Saturday's Israeli airstrike, during a funeral procession in Gaza City on Sunday, July 13, 2014. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)
Palestinian mourners carry the bodies of members of the Al-Batsh family who were killed in an Israeli airstrike, as they walk past the family's damaged houses, during a funeral procession in Gaza City, Sunday, July 13, 2014. (AP Photo/Hatem Moussa)
Palestinians offer their prayers over the grave of a member of the al-Batsh family who were killed in Saturday's Israeli airstrike, during a funeral procession in Gaza City, Sunday, July 13, 2014. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)
Palestinians mourn over the grave of a member of the al-Batsh family who were killed in Saturday's Israeli airstrike, during a funeral procession in Gaza City on Sunday, July 13, 2014.. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)
A Palestinian stands in the damaged house of Gaza's police chief Taysir al-Batsh after it was hit by an Israeli missile strike in Gaza City, Sunday, July 13, 2014.(AP Photo/Adel Hana)
Palestinians look at the damaged house of Gaza's police chief Taysir al-Batsh after it was hit by an Israeli missile strike in Gaza City, Sunday, July 13, 2014. (AP Photo/Adel Hana)
A wounded Israeli woman reacts at the scene of a rocket attack in Ashkelon July 13, 2014. REUTERS/Baz Ratner
Relatives of four-year-old Palestinian boy Muayed al-Araj, who hospital officials said was killed in an Israeli air strike on his family's house, mourn over his body during his funeral in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip July 13, 2014. REUTERS/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa
The father of four-year-old Palestinian boy Muayed al-Araj, who hospital officials said was killed in an Israeli air strike on his family's house, carries Muayed's body as he sits on the rubble of his house during Muayed's funeral in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip July 13, 2014.
Palestinians, who fled their homes that are adjacent to the border with Israel, walk while others ride a horse cart as they make their way to stay at a United Nations-run school, in the northern Gaza Strip July 13, 2014. REUTERS/Ahmed Zakot
Palestinians, who fled their homes that are adjacent to the border with Israel, ride a horse cart as they make their way to stay at a United Nations-run school, in the northern Gaza Strip July 13, 2014. REUTERS/Ahmed Zakot
Palestinians, who fled their homes that are adjacent to the border with Israel, ride a horse cart as they make their way to stay at a United Nations-run school, in the northern Gaza Strip July 13, 2014. REUTERS/Ahmed Zakot
Palestinians, who fled their homes that are adjacent to the border with Israel, ride a motorised rickshaw as they make their way to stay at a United Nations-run school, in the northern Gaza Strip July 13, 2014. REUTERS/Ahmed Zakot
The son (L) of one of the Palestinian members of Tayseer Al-Batsh's family, who hospital officials said were killed in an Israeli air strike, mourns during their funeral in Gaza City July 13, 2014. REUTERS/Mohammed Salem
A relative of Palestinian members of Tayseer Al-Batsh's family, who hospital officials said were killed in an Israeli air strike, mourns during their funeral in Gaza City July 13, 2014. REUTERS/Mohammed Salem
A boy related to Palestinian members of Tayseer Al-Batsh's family, who hospital officials said were killed in an Israeli air strike, mourns during their funeral in Gaza City July 13, 2014. REUTERS/Mohammed Salem
Mourners carry the body of one of the Palestinian members of Tayseer Al-Batsh's family, who hospital officials said were killed in an Israeli air strike, during their funeral in Gaza City July 13, 2014. REUTERS/Mohammed Salem
Relatives of Palestinian members of Tayseer Al-Batsh's family, who hospital officials said were killed in an Israeli air strike, mourn during their funeral in Gaza City July 13, 2014. REUTERS/Mohammed Salem
Relatives of Palestinian members of Tayseer Al-Batsh's family, who hospital officials said were killed in an Israeli air strike, mourn during their funeral in Gaza City July 13, 2014. REUTERS/Mohammed Salem
A relative of Palestinian members of Tayseer Al-Batsh's family, who hospital officials said were killed in an Israeli air strike, mourns during their funeral in Gaza City July 13, 2014. REUTERS/Mohammed Salem
A relative of Palestinian members of Tayseer Al-Batsh's family, who hospital officials said were killed in an Israeli air strike, mourns during their funeral in Gaza City July 13, 2014. REUTERS/Mohammed Salem

Later Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said that following consultations with various factions the Gaza militants had decided to respect the pause and would refrain from firing rockets during those hours.

Robert Serry, the UN special co-ordinator for the Middle East peace process, asked Israel to agree to a "unilateral humanitarian pause" so supplies could be delivered to Gaza, said UN deputy spokesman Farhan Haq. Mr Serry will "urge the parties in Gaza to respect that pause", Mr Haq said.

Israel previously had halted its fire for six hours on Tuesday after Egypt put forward a ceasefire proposal that unravelled. Mr Abu Zuhri said yesterday his group had formally rejected the plan, bemoaning what he called little support from the Arab world.

But Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas met a senior Hamas official in Cairo to try to salvage the Egyptian proposal.

In Washington, President Barack Obama said the US supported Egypt's continued efforts to restore the 2012 ceasefire and would use all of its diplomatic resources and relationships to secure a deal to end the violence.

Israel's military said its forces bombed at least 150 targets in Gaza yesterday. It did not give more details, but the Gaza Interior Ministry's website said 30 houses, including those of senior Hamas leaders Mahmoud Zahar, Jamila Shanti, Fathi Hamas and Ismail Ashkar, were targeted.

Mr Zahar was a key figure in Hamas' violent takeover of Gaza in 2007, while the other three were members of the Palestinian parliament elected in 2006. Many Hamas leaders have gone into hiding since Israel began its bombardment on July 8 in response to rocket attacks from Gaza.

Gaza health official Ashraf al-Kidra said the Palestinian death toll had risen to 222, with 1,670 wounded. Only one Israeli has so far died in the conflict - a civilian distributing food to soldiers in the south on Tuesday evening - largely because of the effectiveness of Israel's Iron Dome air defence system in downing incoming rockets.

The four boys, cousins aged nine to 11, were killed on the beach beside a coastal road west of Gaza City. Seven others - adults and children - were wounded in the strike, which Palestinian human rights activist Khalil Abu Shamalla and Palestinian health officials said came from an Israeli naval vessel.

Hussam Abadallah, a waiter at the beachside al-Deera hotel, said the strike happened at about 4pm.

A witness who identified himself only as Abu Ahmed said the boys were scavenging for scrap metal when a first shell hit a nearby shipping container used in the past by Hamas security forces. He said the boys fled but a second rocket "hit all of them".

Mr Abadallah said he saw "white smoke coming from a small room, like a shack, belonging to one of the fishermen not far from the fishing port". He said he then saw the boys running.

"We started shouting at them, 'Run, run here', then a shell from the sea landed behind them," he said.

He said some journalists dining at the hotel jumped from the terrace and helped five children bleeding from shrapnel get to safety in the hotel. "I will never forget these horrible images," he said.

The Israeli army said it was "carefully investigating" the matter. It said the target of the naval attack was "Hamas terrorist operatives" and civilian casualties were "a tragic outcome".

It said the army "has no intention of harming civilians dragged by Hamas into the reality of urban combat".

The boys' uncle, Abdel Kareem Baker, 41, said: "It's a cold-blooded massacre."

Meanwhile Israel's security cabinet has approved a call-up of 8,000 additional reservists. The army said 45,000 reservists had already been summoned - a sign that Israel was ramping up its threat to carry out a ground invasion, although experts say such an action is highly unlikely.

The Israeli military said today it struck 37 targets in Gaza before the ceasefire was due to start.

Gaza's Interior Ministry said Israeli aircraft struck 30 houses, including those of Hamas leaders Khalil al-Haya and Fathi Hamad. The ministry said four people were killed and a 75-year-old woman died from wounds received from the day before.

The military says Hamas fired 11 rockets at Israel early today.

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