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Shelling in Gaza hours after ceasefire goes into effect

Gaza officials say the death count continues to rise, after both Israel and Hamas fired rockets

(AP)

A three-day Gaza cease-fire went into force on Friday as diplomats worked to broker a lasting truce in the 25-day-old Israel-Hamas war, but Gaza officials said the lull was broken after nearly two hours when Israeli tank fire killed at least four Palestinians.

The cease-fire, announced by the U.S. and the U.N. hours earlier, took effect at 8:00 a.m. (0500 GMT) Friday after heavy fighting that killed 17 Palestinians and five Israeli soldiers. Israel and Hamas agreed to halt all aggressive operations and conduct only defensive missions. But U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry cautioned there were ``no guarantees'' that the lull would bring an end to the war, now in its fourth week.

Shortly before 10:00 a.m. Israeli tanks shelled the eastern part of the town of Rafah in southern Gaza. A Palestinian official says Israeli shelling has killed at least 27 Palestinians. Health Ministry official Ashraf al-Kidra told The Associated Press that more than 100 Palestinians were wounded as a result of the Israeli shelling on Friday in and around the town of Rafah.

The Israeli military says Gaza militants have fired eight rockets and mortars at Israel since the cease-fire began, one of which was intercepted.

The Gaza war has killed more than 1,450 Palestinians, mainly civilians, and more than 60 Israelis, nearly all soldiers.

Israel launched an aerial campaign against Gaza aimed at halting Palestinian rocket fire on July 8 and later sent in ground troops to target launch sites and tunnels used by Hamas to carry out attacks inside Israel.

At least four short humanitarian cease-fires have been announced since the conflict began, but each has been broken within a few hours by renewed fighting. Friday's temporary cease-fire was the longest to be announced thus far.

Under the cease-fire, Israeli troops on the ground in Gaza can continue to destroy tunnels along the heavily guarded frontier, but only those that are behind Israeli defensive lines and lead into Israel.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday had vowed to destroy Hamas' tunnel network ``with or without a cease-fire.'' But military spokesman Moti Almoz told Army Radio on Friday that Israel would not be able to eliminate the tunnel threat ``100 per cent.''

The cease-fire was intended to allow Palestinians in Gaza to receive food, medicine and humanitarian assistance, bury their dead, treat the wounded and travel to their homes. The lull can also be used to make repairs to water and power infrastructure.

 

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  1. Mike from the hinterland posted on 08/01/2014 06:59 AM
    How long will this one last? A couple hours at best?

    Both sides have hatred so deeply seeded, that this will last for generations. Firing rockets into Israel should not be tolerated and tunnels must be dismantled. However, pounding the piss out of civilians should not be tolerated as well. These actions by their stupid leaders will only reinforce the hatred and mistrust.
    1. Karl Burgin posted on 08/01/2014 12:57 PM
      @Mike from the hinterland Wow...you were close. The amount of time before the cease-fire ended was 90 minutes.
      But despite the fact that both sides hate each other, it seems that the lowest common denominator of contention here is the firing of rockets, and the tunnels. Both of which Hamas, if they are interested in the preservation of the people and livelihood, should disclose to the Israelis their locations- for this entire thing to end.
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