Israeli army resumes shelling of several Gaza areas

The Israeli army said it resumed its military offensive against the Gaza Strip, citing Palestinian resistance group Hamas' "incessant" rocket fire at Israel.

Israeli army resumes shelling of several Gaza areas

World Bulletin/News Desk

Three Palestinians were killed Sunday in fresh Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip as the Israeli army resumed its military offensive against the blockaded Palestinian enclave.

Two Palestinians were killed in an Israeli raid on Nuseirat refugee camp in central Gaza Strip, while a third was killed in an Israeli shelling of Abasan town, eastern Khan Younis province, Palestinian Health Ministry spokesman Ashraf al-Qodra.

The shelling of eastern Khan Younis also left three people injured, the spokesman said.

The latest fatalities bring to 1052 the number of Palestinians killed in Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip since July 7. At least 6000 Palestinians have also been injured.

The Israeli military started fighting again in the Gaza Strip on Sunday, saying Hamas had ignored a 24-hour, humanitarian ceasefire requested by the United Nations.

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

Residents in Gaza reported hearing heavy shelling east of Gaza City shortly after the announcement was made.

Israel's security cabinet said late on Saturday extending by 24 hours a humanitarian ceasefire in the Gaza Strip upon a request from the United Nations.

The Gaza-based Palestinian resistance movement Hamas said late on Saturday that it did not approve an extension .

"There is no agreement on extending the ceasefire in Gaza by four hours," Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said in a statement.

The humanitarian lull came hard on the heels of intensive Israeli shelling of homes and sites in the Gaza Strip, shelling that started on July 7.

At least 1047 Palestinians have been killed – mostly civilians – and more than 5900 others injured in Israel's offensive, now in its third week.

Israel said five more of its soldiers were killed in pre-truce fighting in Gaza and two others died of their wounds in hospital, bringing the army death toll to 42.

Gaza-based resistance factions, meanwhile, fired rocket at Israeli cities in response to relentless Israeli bombardments.

Israel's military operation, dubbed operation "Protective Edge," is the self-proclaimed Jewish state's third major offensive against the densely-populate Gaza Strip – which is home to some 1.8 million Palestinians – within the last six years.

Hamas said it would only endorse the ceasefire if Israel removes its troops from the areas into which it has entered in the Gaza Strip.

"Any humanitarian calm that does not include the withdrawal of occupation soldiers from the Gaza Strip and enable the people to return to their houses and to evacuate the wounded is not acceptable," said Sami Abu Zuhri, Hamas spokesman.

Hamas wants an end to an Israeli-Egyptian blockade of Gaza before any truce.

The Ezzeddin al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of Gaza-based Palestinian faction Hamas, said Sunday morning that it fired several rockets at Israel.

In a statement, the brigades said it fired two M75 rockets at Tel Aviv and five Grad rockets at Ashdod.

Following the expiry of the temporary truce, the brigades said that it fired 24 rockets on different Israeli cities and sites.

Diplomacy

The Gaza turmoil has stoked tensions amongst Palestinians in Arab East Jerusalem and the occupied West Bank.

Medics said eight Palestinians were killed on Friday in incidents near the West Bank cities of Nablus and Hebron - the sort of death toll reminiscent of previous uprisings against Israel's prolonged military rule there.

On the diplomatic front, international efforts to bring an end to hostilities and secure a longer-lasting truce were being led by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in Paris.

Kerry met the foreign ministers of France, Italy, Britain, Germany, Turkey and Qatar.

"All of us call on the parties to extend the humanitarian ceasefire that is currently under way," French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said after the meeting.

But an Israeli security minister, Gilad Erdan, said a definitive deal looked remote, with no representatives from Israel, Egypt or the Palestinian Authority at the Paris talks.

The deputy leader of Islamic Jihad, a militant group allied to Hamas, said Egypt's mediation efforts were still being considered, but improvements were being sought and, in the meantime, the fight would go on.

"We are still open to the Egyptian initiative and there are hot contacts to improve it ... We are going to pursue the battle until the blockade is ended. The resistance carries our demands," he said in a text message to reporters.

Gaza Health Ministry spokesman Ashraf Al-Qidra said rescue teams had taken advantage of the truce to search wrecked neighbourhoods and had recovered some 147 bodies.

Stunned residents of Beit Hanoun wandered through destroyed streets lined with damaged houses or mounds of rubble where once whole buildings had stood.

"Pull yourself together, be strong! Aren't you used to this by now?" one man barked at a sobbing younger relative, only to break down himself. "God help us!" he moaned.

Israeli tanks stood by as people searched through the debris for their belongings, packing whatever they could, blankets, furniture and clothes into taxis, trucks, rickshaws and donkey carts before fleeing the town.

Naser Tattar, director of Gaza's main Shifa hospital, said most of the bodies recovered on Saturday came from Beit Hanoun, Khan Younis and Shejaia - a district east of Gaza City that has witnessed  Israeli onslaught the most.

Israel frees 20 injured Gazans

The Israeli army late on Saturday freed 20 injured Palestinians it had detained in the southern Gaza Strip city of Khan Yunis a few days ago.

Palestinian Health Ministry spokesman Ashraf al-Qodra said the Israeli army had handed the injured Palestinians to the Health Ministry through the Beit Hanoun crossing in northern Gaza.

"The 20 people were taken to hospital to receive treatment immediately," al-Qodra told Anadolu Agency.

The Israeli army had detained 150 Palestinian "members" of the Gaza-based Palestinian resistance movement Hamas in the southern Gaza Strip cities of Khan Yunis and Rafah, according to an Israeli newspaper on Thursday.

The Israeli newspaper Jerusalem Post said the detained Palestinians would be moved to the headquarters of Israel's internal security agency for interrogation.

 

Last Mod: 27 Temmuz 2014, 11:34
Add Comment