Hamas Agrees To New 24-Hour Truce In Gaza

Hamas has called a new 24-hour humanitarian truce, however the Israeli prime minister has accused the group of continuing to fire rockets.

The truce, which comes ahead of the Muslim festival of Eid marking the end of Ramadan, was due to start at noon UK time.

Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said: “In response to UN intervention and considering the situation of our people and the occasion of Eid, it has been agreed among resistance factions to endorse a 24-hour humanitarian calm, starting from 2pm (local time) on Sunday.”

But in a series of interviews with US media,Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accused Hamas of “violating its own ceasefire.”

He told CBS Israel would not allow a “ruthless terror organisation… to decide when it’s convenient for them to stop for a moment, rearm, and continue firing on our citizens and our people.”

In a separate interview with CNN, he said Israel “will take what ever action is necessary to protect our people”.

As the truce deadline came and went the sound of Israeli shelling could be heard in Gaza, and sirens sounded in Israel close to the border suggesting missiles had indeed been fired by militants.

More than 1,050 Palestinians have died since Israel launched a military operation more than two weeks ago.

The number of Israeli troops to die in combat has risen to 43. Three civilians have also been killed in Israel, including a Thai national.

The latest ceasefire move came hours after the Israeli military resumed fighting in Gaza after accusing Hamas of violating a previous humanitarian truce.

In a statement the Israeli military said: “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.”

Palestinian medics said at least 10 people were killed in subsequent Israeli strikes.

Both sides initially agreed to a 12-hour humanitarian ceasefire on Saturday. Some 132 bodies were reportedly pulled from the rubble in Gaza during the lull in fighting, while the pause allowed Palestinians to stock up on supplies.

Israel extended the ceasefire until midnight (10pm UK time) on Sunday at the UN’s request, on condition its forces could continue to seek out and destroy militant tunnels that criss-cross the Gaza border.

That truce offer was rejected by Hamas, which has demanded that Israel lifts its blockade on Gaza and release Palestinian prisoners.

Meanwhile, international efforts are continuing to try and thrash out a wider ceasefire.

And the Pope made an emotional plea for peace in his weekly address in St Peter’s Square.

In unscripted remarks, Pope Francis made a direct appeal for the fighting to end saying: “Please stop, I ask you with all my heart, it’s time to stop. Stop, please.”

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27 July 2014 | 3:47 pm – Source: orange.co.uk

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