Sunday, July 27, 2014

Hamas to respect 24-hour truce if Israeli soldiers leave Gaza

Israel's security cabinet approved extending the humanitarian ceasefire begun early on Saturday until midnight local time (2100 GMT) on Sunday, an Israeli government official said, while Hamas said it would respect the truce if occupation forces left Gaza.
"At the request of the United Nations, the cabinet has approved a humanitarian hiatus until tomorrow (Sunday) at 24:00. The (Israel army) will act against any breach of the ceasefire," the official, who was not named, said in a statement.
After the ceasefire began early on Saturday, Palestinians took advantage of the lull in fighting to retrieve their dead and stock up on food, flooding into the streets to discover scenes of massive destruction in some areas.
Gaza's health ministry said 147 bodies were pulled from the rubble on Saturday.
At least 1,033 Palestinians, including over 200 children, have been killed by Israeli forces since the launch of the US-backed terror campaign on July 8.
Israel said five more of its occupation 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 as troops battled fighters in the tiny, besieged Mediterranean enclave that is home to 1.8 million Palestinians.
Three civilians, including two Israeli citizens and a Thai labourer, have been killed by rockets fired from Gaza.
Hamas said it would only endorse the ceasefire if Israel removes its troops from the areas into which it has invaded 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.
(Reuters, Al-Akhbar)
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