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Wednesday, 12 August 2020

Israel-Hamas Gaza truce largely holds after flare-up

Reuters , Sunday 22 Jul 2018
Gaza
A picture taken on July 20, 2018 shows a fireball exploding in Gaza City during Israeli bombardment. (AFP photo)
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A truce between Israel and Hamas, the Islamist group that controls the Gaza Strip, largely held on Saturday a day after one of the most fierce flare-ups along the volatile border in years.

Hamas said it had agreed to the truce with Israel, a day after clashes killed an Israeli soldier and four Palestinians, three of them Hamas fighters.

A senior Israeli official confirmed a truce was in place. The Israeli occupation army declined to comment on the ceasefire but a military spokeswoman said civilians could resume normal activities.

In what appeared to be an isolated incident, with no reports of casualties, an Israeli tank fired on a Hamas post in Gaza after Palestinian suspects breached the border fence and entered Israeli territory before retreating back into Gaza, the military said.

There were no other reports of unrest in the area by 1300 GMT on Saturday.

The ceasefire is the third between Israel and Hamas to be brokered by Egypt this year and the second truce to be agreed this week after a day-long fighting last Saturday.

"With Egyptian and United Nations efforts it has been agreed to return to the era of calm between (Israel) and Palestinian factions," said Fawzi Barhoum, spokesman for the Hamas Islamist group that controls Gaza.

Israel besieged Gaza since 2007, waging three wars 2008, 2012 and 2014 against the Palestinians, leaving more than 3000 killed, thousands injured and infrastructure in shambles.

Gaza, home to 2 million people, most of whom depend on foreign aid, has been under Israeli economic sanctions for 12 years.

On Friday, Palestinian gunmen killed an Israeli soldier and the Israeli military launched dozens of strikes that killed three Hamas fighters. A fourth Palestinian was killed by Israeli gunfire during a protest near the border.

The soldier was the first member of Israel's army to be killed on the Gaza front since a seven-week 2014 war between Israel and Hamas, a military spokesman said.

Israeli occupation troops killed 140 Palestinians since protests broke out on March 30.

The Israeli strikes shook buildings in Gaza and fire lit the night sky. Pillars of thick smoke rose from the sites that were bombed. The sounds of sirens from ambulances racing through the streets were heard by residents bracing for an escalation.

 

*This story was edited by Ahram Online

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