• Thursday, July 24, 2014

Israel resumes Gaza attack; death toll 194

Netanyahu warns of expanding operation after Hamas rejects truce offer; rocket kills first Israeli

Afp, Jerusalem
It's not the colour of the sky or the beauty of the clouds. It is sheer terror that impels this little girl to look up as an Israeli drone flies over her home in Gaza City early yesterday. The look in her eyes speaks of the fear and trauma in the lives of Gaza's children, many of whom will endure the scars of war for a lifetime. It is their childhood, their innocence, that is about to be lost. Photo: AFP
It's not the colour of the sky or the beauty of the clouds. It is sheer terror that impels this little girl to look up as an Israeli drone flies over her home in Gaza City early yesterday. The look in her eyes speaks of the fear and trauma in the lives of Gaza's children, many of whom will endure the scars of war for a lifetime. It is their childhood, their innocence, that is about to be lost. Photo: AFP

Israel resumed a punishing air campaign against Gaza yesterday after its Palestinian foe Hamas rejected a truce and fired dozens of rockets over the border, killing an Israeli for the first time.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned the army would "expand and intensify" its Gaza operation after Hamas rejected the Egyptian truce proposal.
The renewed Israeli strikes killed two Gazans, raising the Palestinian death toll in eight days of violence to 194, medics said.
The Israeli was killed in a rocket attack on an Israeli position near the Erez crossing with Gaza, the army said.
Hamas's Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades armed wing said it carried out the attack.

The 38-year-old civilian had been delivering food to soldiers serving in the area, a spokesman for the Israeli emergency services told AFP.
It was the first Israeli death of the conflict after nearly 1,000 rockets and mortar rounds hit the Jewish state. Four Israelis have been seriously wounded.
It came after Israel's security cabinet said early yesterday it would accept an Egyptian proposal for a ceasefire to begin at 0600 GMT.
But Hamas officials said they had not been consulted on the proposal and would not halt fire without a full-fledged deal including Israeli concessions.
The movement's armed wing continued to fire dozens of rockets into Israel after the 0600 GMT deadline, sending tens of thousands scrambling for cover.
At 1200 GMT, the Israeli army announced it was resuming air strikes, after militants fired 47 rockets from Gaza.
The fresh raids hit Gaza City, southern Khan Yunis and Rafah and killed two people.
"This would have been better resolved diplomatically, that's what we tried to do when we accepted the Egyptian truce proposal today," Netanyahu said.
"But Hamas leaves us no choice but to expand and intensify the campaign against it," he added.
Hamas has said it wants the end of Israel's blockade of Gaza and the opening of the Rafah border crossing with Egypt as part of a truce deal.
It also wants Israel to free Palestinians it rearrested after releasing them in a 2011 exchange for an Israeli soldier held by Gaza militants for more than five years.
In his remarks yesterday evening, Netanyahu also took aim at domestic critics, responding to Foreign Minister Avidgor Lieberman who earlier slammed Israel's acceptance of the Egyptian truce and Netanyahu's "hesitance", saying Israel should conquer Gaza and expel Hamas from it.
The Israeli premier also fired deputy defence minister Danny Danon, a firebrand member of his Likud party, who was a vocal critic of him during the operation.
Cairo's truce proposal was announced overnight, and urged both sides to halt the violence and travel to Egypt for talks.
Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas was due in Cairo today, but it was unclear if Hamas officials there were continuing to discuss the truce bid and if Israeli officials would also travel to Egypt.
The proposal won support from Western governments with President Barack Obama saying he was "encouraged" by Egypt's efforts and hoped to see calm restored.
German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier also urged Hamas to accept the Egyptian proposal, accusing the Islamists of holding Gaza "hostage."
But Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan put the blame entirely on Israel accusing it of carrying out "state terrorism" and a "massacre" of Palestinians in Gaza.
Israel launched Operation Protective Edge before dawn on July 8, hitting Gaza with an intensive air and artillery bombardment aimed at stamping out rocket fire.
Since then, 960 rockets have hit Israel, while another 215 have been intercepted by its Iron Dome air defence system, the army said.

Published: 12:02 am Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Last modified: 9:28 pm Wednesday, July 16, 2014

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