8 Palestinians killed as Israel continues Gaza assault
Ahram Online and AFP, Monday 25 Aug 2014


Violence reverberated across Gaza with at least eight Palestinians killed in Israeli air strikes Monday as Egypt proposed a new ceasefire that would open key crossings into the blockaded territory.

Since an earlier truce collapsed on August 19, the death toll in Gaza has risen steadily with 110 Palestinians killed in more than 350 Israeli air strikes across the territory.

Since midnight on Sunday, 30 Israeli strikes killed eight Palestinians, including a woman, a 78-year-old man and a three-year-old boy, raising the Gaza death toll to 2,131, with 10,890 wounded according to the emergency services.

Media reports pointed out on Monday that Egypt is currently exerting diplomatic efforts to reach a new ceasefire agreement between the Palestinian resistance factions and Israel.

Last week, Israeli and Palestinian groups blamed one another for the collapse of an Egyptian-sponsored 24-hour truce late on Tuesday, which led to the resumption of the armed conflict.

Egypt previously brokered two 72-hour truce agreements and a five-day ceasefire in a bid to allow more time for negotiators from both sides to reach common ground and put an end to Israel's offensive on the enclave that started on 8 July.

"There is an idea for a temporary ceasefire that opens the crossings, allows aid and reconstruction material, and the disputed points will be discussed in a month," a senior Palestinian official told AFP in Cairo.

"We would be willing to accept this, but are waiting for the Israeli response to this proposal," he said, requesting anonymity because of the sensitivity of the negotiations.

Another Palestinian official said Egypt might invite Palestinian and Israeli negotiating teams to return to Cairo within 48 hours.

"Efforts are ongoing to reach an agreement," Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri told AFP, without going into specifics.

The invitation to new truce talks came after Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi met Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas on Saturday.

Egypt has repeatedly urged all parties to accept an open-ended truce and return to the negotiating table in Cairo.

Abbas is expected to convene a meeting of the Palestinian leadership in the West Bank city of Ramallah on Thursday, a Palestinian official said without elaborating.

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