Egypt tells ceasefire plan after Israel school massacre

Egyptian president Mubarak made his ceasefire call hours after Israeli shells killed 42 Palestinians at a U.N. school.

Egypt tells ceasefire plan after Israel school massacre
Egyptian president Mubarak made his ceasefire call at a joint news conference in Egypt with French President Nicolas Sarkozy hours after Israeli shells killed 42 Palestinians at a U.N. school.

Egypt "invites the Israelis and Palestinians for an urgent meeting to reach arrangements and guarantees that would not allow the repeat of the current escalation," Mubarak said.

Such guarantees would include "securing the borders and... opening of the border crossings and lifting the siege," he said.

Mubarak also said he proposed an immediate ceasefire that would allow aid to enter the Gaza Strip, and Palestinian-Israeli talks.

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice endorsed the Mubarak proposal.

"We need urgently to conclude a ceasefire that can endure and that can bring real security," Rice told the Security Council.

Arab and widespread international anger mounted on Tuesday when Israel acknowledged hitting a U.N. school where hundreds of people were taking refuge. Medics said 42 people were killed.

Christopher Gunness, a spokesman for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency that runs the institution in Jabalya refugee camp, said: "We're 99.9 percent sure, after an initial investigation, that there were no fighters at the school."

On Tuesday alone, 77 Palestinian civilians were killed.

An aide said Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas ordered officials to look into taking Israel to international courts over the deaths at the school in Jabalya.

A U.N. spokesman said the world body wanted an inquiry into Israel bombing.

The deaths in the school prompted Obama to break his silence on the Gaza offensive and to say the loss of life among civilians was "a source of deep concern" for him.

Agencies
Last Mod: 07 Ocak 2009, 15:12
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