Hamas suggests ceasefire with Israel 'within hours'

Tensions have been running high in Jerusalem since Wednesday's abduction and murder of a 16-year-old Palestinian boy by suspected Israeli settlers.

Hamas suggests ceasefire with Israel 'within hours'

World Bulletin / News Desk

Clashes between Palestinians and Israelis are being reported as the funeral of Muhammed Abu-Khdeir, a 16-year-old Palestinian boy who was found dead after being kidnapped on Tuesday in an apparant 'revenge attack' for the disappearance and murder of three Jewish settlers last month, took place.

"With our souls and our blood we will redeem you, martyr," chanted hundreds of mourners who gathered for the funeral after Friday prayers. His body was carried for burial through east Jerusalem wrapped in a Palestinian flag.

Haaretz reported that rockets and mortar shells were fired from the Gaza Strip continued to Israel's south while the BBC reported that the Palestinian resistance group Hamas had offered to halt its rocket attacks if Israel stops its air raids on Gaza.

BBC claimed a source within Hamas said "intensive contacts" between the group and Egyptian officials "succeeded in reaching a new truce between Hamas and Israel, and that the ceasefire agreement was to be announced within hours".

"Hamas stressed that it was not interested in a confrontation and the occupation (Israel) was responsible for the escalation against our people and they have to stop it," Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said.

A senior Israeli security official also told the BBC: "We informed Hamas that calm will be answered with calm, and if it is not calm, they will be hit hard. The message is very clear and was delivered in a very clear manner. If they took upon themselves a unilateral ceasefire and it is calm, so be it."

However Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said that Hamas got the wrong idea. "The attitude that 'quiet will be answered with quiet' is a grave mistake, and we in Yisrael Beiteinu reject out of hand this attitude," he said during a visit to Sderot.

It could not be that after "they kidnapped and murdered three of our boys and after two straight weeks of falling rockets" Israel's approach is to postpone dealing with the problem, he added.

Meanwhile, Israeli police have imposed restrictions on the entry of Palestinian worshippers into Al-Aqsa Mosque in East Jerusalem, deployed thousands of forces and erected barricades across Jerusalem's Old City ahead of the weekly prayers.

In addition to that, Israeli authorities have banned entry to the area to all men under the age of 50 and restrict it to those carrying Israeli IDs.

Israel occupied East Jerusalem during the 1967 Middle East War. It later annexed the holy city in 1980, claiming Jerusalem as the unified capital of the self-proclaimed Jewish state.

Sacred to both Muslims and Jews, Jerusalem is home to the iconic Al-Aqsa Mosque, which for Muslims represents the world's third holiest site.

Jews refer to the area as the "Temple Mount," claiming it was the site of two prominent Jewish temples in ancient times.

Last Mod: 04 Temmuz 2014, 15:00
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