Israel army says resuming Gaza attacks after rocket fire

AFP , Sunday 27 Jul 2014

An Israeli soldier
An Israeli soldier checks his weapon atop a tank near the border with Gaza July 27, 2014 (Photo: Reuters)

The Israeli army said Sunday it is resuming its raids on Gaza by land, sea and air after Hamas continued firing rockets, ending a unilateral 12-hour humanitarian truce.

"Following Hamas' incessant rocket fire throughout the humanitarian window, which was agreed upon for the welfare of the civilian population in Gaza, the IDF will now resume its aerial, naval and ground activity in the Gaza Strip," an army statement said.

"Due to flagrant violations of humanitarian remission by Hamas, the IDF is now resuming offensive activities," army spokesman Peter Lerner wrote on Twitter.

Following the announcement, explosions could be heard in Gaza City and there were reports of renewed shelling in eastern Gaza, an AFP correspondent said.

The announcement came 10 hours after the Israeli security cabinet had voted to extend a unilateral humanitarian lull for another 24 hours, in a move rejected by Hamas which continued to fire over the border.

Israel's army said Sunday that one of its soldiers was killed near the Gaza Strip, taking to 43 the number of troops killed since the start of ground operations on July 8.

Israel's assault on Gaza has killed more than 1,050 Palestinians in less than three weeks, destroyed entire neighourhoods and left thousands homeless or injured.

Hamas and Israel agreed to the "humanitarian window" early on Saturday, after Israel's security cabinet on Friday night rejected a US proposal for a seven-day truce during which the two sides would negotiate a longer-term deal.

Speaking after the rejection, at a news conference in Cairo with UN chief Ban Ki-moon, Kerry said Israel and Hamas "still have some terminology" to agree to on a ceasefire, but added they had "fundamental framework" on a truce.

The two sides remain at odds over the shape of a final deal to end the fighting, however.

Hamas says any truce must include a guaranteed end to Israel's eight-year blockade of Gaza, while in Israel there are calls for any deal to include the demilitarisation of the Gaza Strip.

*This story was edited by Ahram Online

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