Deadly Israeli raids on Gaza as Egypt offers new truce plan

AFP , Tuesday 26 Aug 2014

A Palestinian firefighter puts out a fire at the remains of a tower building housing offices, which witnesses said was destroyed by an Israeli air strike, in Gaza City August 26, 2014. (Photo:Reuters)

Egypt has proposed a new ceasefire that would open key border crossings into the battered Palestinian territory, after Israeli raids killed at least 10 more Palestinians.

A 17-year-old boy was killed and about 25 people were wounded in a strike on a Gaza City mosque late Monday, UN and medical officials said.

At least 10 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire since midnight on Sunday, including a three-year-old boy and Abdullah Mortaja, a 27-year-old freelance journalist.

More than 2,100 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza since Israel began its offensive on July 8, aiming to stamp out rocket fire from Palestinian militants. On the Israeli side 68 have been killed, almost all of them soldiers.

Gaza's religious affairs ministry said Israeli fire destroyed four more mosques on Monday, with more than 70 mosques destroyed in seven weeks of fighting that have reduced swathes of the territory to a rubble.

"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.

*This story was edited by Ahram Online.


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