Wednesday 4 March 2015

Video: Fresh battles between Israel and Hamas despite diplomatic efforts to broker Gaza ceasefire

Rob Williams

Published 16/11/2012 | 12:11

ISRAELI troops and Hamas militants have engaged in fresh battles despite a temporary ceasefire put in place for a visit by Egypt's Prime Minister to Gaza.

A number of areas in southern Israel were hit by rockets fired from Gaza, and the Israeli air force responded by targeting a Hamas commander's house.

Reports claim the attack killed one child and an adult – thus taking the death toll on the Palestinian side to 21 since Wednesday.

The continuation of hostilities comes as Egypt’s prime minister, Hisham Qandil, visited Gaza – and despite a ceasefire ordered for the duration of his visit.

Qandil, who visited a hospital and had discussions with Hamas leaders during his visit, today condemned the Israeli attacks on Gaza, describing them as a “disaster” and calling for the “Israeli aggression to stop”.

“What I am witnessing in Gaza is a disaster and I can't keep quiet. The Israeli aggression must stop,” he said.

However, he also insisted that Egypt would “spare no effort” in trying to broker a ceasefire.

The Israeli military reportedly fired at more than 130 targets overnight, and Hamas militants are said to have responded with 11 rockets from Gaza.

Some reports claim that at least five children were among the dead on the Palestinian side.

Earlier the Israeli army began a draft of 16,000 reservists following the government authorised call-up of 30,000.

There are no reports as yet of any ground offensive.

British Foreign Secretary William Hague urged both sides to make efforts to halt the violence in Gaza, but made clear that he believes Hamas bears the greatest responsibility for the current crisis, as well as the ability to bring it most swiftly to an end.

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