Sunday 26 October 2014

More airstrikes as Gaza truce ends

Published 09/08/2014 | 05:45

Israeli border guards clash with Palestinian protesters (unseen) following a demonstration in support of Gaza after Friday prayers at the Hawara checkpoint, east of the West Bank city of Nablus
Israeli border guards clash with Palestinian protesters (unseen) following a demonstration in support of Gaza after Friday prayers at the Hawara checkpoint, east of the West Bank city of Nablus
Israeli soldiers run next to a cannon on August 02, 2014 on Israel's border with the Gaza Strip.The Israeli military on Friday cited indications that the officer, Second Lt. Hadar Goldin, 23, was taken captive in Rafah, a city in the Gaza Strip's south. Two other soldiers were killed in the attack, raising the number of Israeli military fatalities to 63. The announcement came not long after a 72-hour humanitarian cease-fire agreed upon by Israel and Hamas collapsed within two hours of being launched.  (Photo by Lior Mizrahi/Getty Images)
Israeli soldiers run next to a cannon on August 02, 2014 on Israel's border with the Gaza Strip.The Israeli military on Friday cited indications that the officer, Second Lt. Hadar Goldin, 23, was taken captive in Rafah, a city in the Gaza Strip's south. Two other soldiers were killed in the attack, raising the number of Israeli military fatalities to 63. The announcement came not long after a 72-hour humanitarian cease-fire agreed upon by Israel and Hamas collapsed within two hours of being launched. (Photo by Lior Mizrahi/Getty Images)
Smoke rises over Gaza City after an Israeli strike after a three-day truce ended (AP)

Israeli airstrikes hit more than 20 targets today in the Gaza Strip, as militant rocket fire continued towards Israel following the collapse of a three-day truce aimed at ending the war between Israel and Hamas.

The Islamic militants resumed their rocket attacks on Friday shortly before the 72-hour truce expired, drawing a wave of retaliatory airstrikes that killed at least five Palestinians. The fighting shattered a brief calm in the month-long war and dealt a blow to Egyptian-led efforts to secure a long-term cease-fire between the bitter enemies.

Hamas officials said the Israel airstrikes to hit houses, mosques, its warehouses and training sites. A handful of rockets landed in Israel.

More than 1,900 Gazans have been killed in the four-week war, roughly three-quarters of them civilians, according to Palestinian and United Nations officials. Israel disputes that breakdown, saying more militants have been killed. Sixty-seven people have been killed on the Israeli side, including three civilians.

Smoke and fire billow following an Israeli air strike in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip
Smoke and fire billow following an Israeli air strike in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip e

The war grew out of the killing of three Israeli teenagers in the West Bank in June. Israel blamed the killings on Hamas and launched a massive arrest campaign, rounding up hundreds of its members in the West Bank, as Hamas and other militants unleashed rocket fire from Gaza.

On July 8, Israel launched an air campaign on the coastal territory, sending in ground troops nine days later to target rocket launchers and cross-border tunnels built by Hamas for attacks inside Israel.

Israeli soldiers return from Gaza on August 3, 2014 near the border with Gaza, Israel. As Operation Protective Edge enters its 27th day, a large amount of Israeli ground troops are believed to have left the Gaza Strip. (Photo by Ilia Yefimovich/Getty Images)
Israeli soldiers return from Gaza on August 3, 2014 near the border with Gaza, Israel. As Operation Protective Edge enters its 27th day, a large amount of Israeli ground troops are believed to have left the Gaza Strip. (Photo by Ilia Yefimovich/Getty Images)

Hamas, which violently seized control of Gaza in 2007, rejected several cease-fire offers throughout the fighting. Its primary demand is the lifting of an Israeli-Egyptian blockade imposed after they seized power. Militants had warned they would resume fighting after the cease-fire expired unless there was a deal to ease the restrictions.

The blockade, which Israel says is needed to prevent weapons from reaching Gaza, has led to widespread hardship. Movement in and out of Gaza is limited, and the economy has ground to a standstill and unemployment is over 50%.

A suspected tunnel is detonated on August 3, 2014 near the border with Gaza
A suspected tunnel is detonated on August 3, 2014 near the border with Gaza

Israel has said that the militants must disarm first, a demand dismissed by Hamas.

A delegation of Palestinian negotiators remained in Cairo in hopes of salvaging the talks. But participants said the negotiations were not going well. The Palestinian delegation met again late Friday with Egyptian mediators.

Palestinian paramedics look after injured protesters during clashes with Israeli security forces (unseen) following a demonstration in support of Gaza after Friday prayers at the Hawara checkpoint, east of the West Bank city of Nablus
Palestinian paramedics look after injured protesters during clashes with Israeli security forces (unseen) following a demonstration in support of Gaza after Friday prayers at the Hawara checkpoint, east of the West Bank city of Nablus

Azzam al-Ahmad, head of the Palestinian delegation, said the delegation would stay in Egypt until it reaches an agreement that "ensures" the rights of the Palestinian people. "We told Egyptians we are staying," he told reporters.

The Israeli delegation to the Cairo talks left Egypt on Friday morning, and it was not clear if it would return. "There will not be negotiations under fire," Israeli government spokesman Mark Regev said.

Egypt's foreign ministry urged restraint by both sides and called for a new cease-fire to resume negotiations. The ministry said progress had been made in the talks but did not explain.

UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon expressed "deep disappointment" at the failure to extend the cease-fire and urged the parties to swiftly find a way back to the negotiating table, UN deputy spokesman Farhan Haq said.

Three bodies were found under the ruins of the al-Qassam mosque in Gaza, including that of senior Hamas official Moaaz Zaid, said Palestinian health official Ashraf al-Kidra.

Press Association

Read More

Editors Choice

Also in World News