• Monday, September 22, 2014

New Gaza truce agreed

Eight more killed in Israeli bombardments; death toll hits 1,939

Afp, Gaza City

Israel and the Palestinians agreed to a fresh 72-hour ceasefire in Gaza yesterday, accepting an Egyptian invitation to resume talks to end fighting that has killed more than 2,000 people.

The ceasefire deal, which was to come into effect at one minute past midnight, was clinched after days of frantic mediation to stem a firestorm of violence that resumed after an earlier truce collapsed on Friday. Since then, 19 people have been killed in Israeli bombardments.

The Egyptian foreign ministry called for the ceasefire to begin at 00:01 local time (21:01 GMT Sunday) "given the necessity to protect innocent blood".

It called on both sides to use the lull to "reach a comprehensive and permanent ceasefire."

Israel had bolted truce talks in Cairo on Friday when Hamas refused to extend an earlier ceasefire and begun firing rockets over the border.

"Israel will not engage in negotiations under fire," Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told his cabinet yesterday, warning the operation would not stop until there was a prolonged quiet.

More than a month of bloody fighting in and around Gaza has killed at least 1,939 Palestinians and 67 people on the Israeli side, most of them soldiers.  The UN says just under three quarters of those killed in Gaza were civilians, and around a third of the civilian victims were children.

On the ground, eight Palestinians were killed, including a woman and two 17-year-olds, in a barrage of Israeli air strikes and 10 bodies were pulled from the rubble east of Gaza City, local medics said.

Throughout the day, Israeli warplanes hit 41 targets. Militants launched 35 rockets over the border, 23 of which struck southern Israel and eight which were shot down, with the rest falling short inside Palestinian territory, the army said.

In the West Bank, an 11-year-old Palestinian boy was shot dead by Israeli troops as he played outside his home in Al-Fawwar refugee camp near the southern city of Hebron, relatives and medics said.

Israel's Gaza operation has triggered a series of almost daily protests across the West Bank, during which 16 Palestinians have been killed, the Ramallah-based health ministry said.

Published: 12:02 am Monday, August 11, 2014

Last modified: 8:49 pm Monday, August 11, 2014

TAGS: Egypt Palestinian Gaza simultaneous consensus

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