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Israel’s PM Benjamin Netanyahu has declared victory in Gaza after a seven-week conflict.

The Palestinian Islamist Hamas movement was “hit hard and got none of its demands”, Benjamin Netanyahu said.

Hamas has also claimed the truce represents a victory for Gaza and held a large rally to celebrate it.

On Tuesday a ceasefire came into effect after 50 days of fierce fighting in which more than 2,200 people died, most of them Palestinians.

In a televised news conference, Benjamin Netanyahu said Hamas had been “hit hard” and threatened an even tougher response should there be so much as a “sprinkle” of rocket fire from Gaza.

He added that Israel “didn’t agree to accept any of Hamas’ demands”.

On Wednesday, the UN’s World Food Programme (WFP) said one of its convoys had entered Gaza for the first time since 2007, carrying enough food to feed around 150,000 people for five days.

Fishing boats also ventured out to sea as restrictions were eased.

Israel’s PM Benjamin Netanyahu has declared victory in Gaza after a seven-week conflict

Israel’s PM Benjamin Netanyahu has declared victory in Gaza after a seven-week conflict

Thousands of Palestinians began to return to their homes as the truce held for the whole of Wednesday.

Engineers meanwhile struggled to repair infrastructure damaged by Israeli air strikes and shellfire.

In Israel, sirens warning of incoming rocket fire were silent and the military said there had been no violations of the ceasefire since it took effect.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon welcomed the end of hostilities, but warned that a brighter future for civilians who have been affected depends on a sustainable truce.

“After 50 days of profound human suffering and devastating physical destruction, any violations of the ceasefire would be utterly irresponsible,” Ban Ki-moon said.

The cease fire deal calls for the relaxing of Israeli and Egyptian border controls to allow humanitarian supplies and construction materials into Gaza, and the widening of the territory’s fishing zone.

Both sides have agreed to address more contentious issues – including Palestinian demands for a seaport in Gaza and the release of Hamas prisoners in the West Bank, and Israel’s demand for Gaza’s militants to be disarmed – at indirect talks that should begin in Cairo within a month.

Israeli media reported that Benjamin Netanyahu had chosen not to put Egypt’s ceasefire proposal to a vote in his security cabinet because of opposition from ministers who wanted to continue the offensive on Gaza.

Israel launched Operation Protective Edge on July 8 with the stated aim of ending rocket fire.

At least 2,140 people, most of them civilians, have been killed in Gaza, according to the Palestinian health ministry. Another 11,000 people have been injured.

The Israeli authorities say 64 Israeli soldiers have been killed, along with six Israeli civilians and a Thai national.

The UN says more than 17,000 buildings in Gaza have been destroyed or severely damaged, and that there are at least 475,000 internally displaced people (IDPs), more than a quarter of the territory’s population.

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Palestinian negotiators at Cairo ceasefire talks said they would leave on Sunday if Israel did not attend without preconditions.

Talks in Cairo aimed at securing a fresh ceasefire in Gaza are under renewed strain, with both sides in the conflict issuing warnings.

Israel insists it will not return until militant rocket fire from Gaza ends.

The UK, France and Germany issued a statement calling on Israel and Hamas to agree a new truce, after last week’s 72-hour ceasefire was not renewed.

That ceasefire ended on Friday morning. At least eight Palestinians were killed on Saturday as Israel launched 50 air strikes, Gaza health officials said.

Israeli authorities said 25 rockets were fired from Gaza towards southern Israel on Saturday. A further two were fired on Sunday morning. The Israeli air force has hit 20 targets in Gaza overnight, Israeli news reports say.

At least 1,960 people have died since violence erupted in Gaza in early July.

According to the UN, more than 1,900 Palestinians, mostly civilians, have been killed.

Talks in Cairo aimed at securing a fresh ceasefire in Gaza are under renewed strain, with both sides in the conflict issuing warnings

Talks in Cairo aimed at securing a fresh ceasefire in Gaza are under renewed strain, with both sides in the conflict issuing warnings

Sixty-seven people have died on the Israeli side, including three civilians.

Israeli negotiators have already left Egypt and said they would not return to the indirect negotiations until rocket fire from Gaza stopped.

The Jerusalem Post quoted senior Israeli officials as saying that if rocket fire continued, “all options” were on the table, not just air strikes.

Communications Minister Gilad Erdan told Israel’s Channel 2 that “a wide ground incursion and the toppling of Hamas is being discussed”.

Hamas deputy chief Mussa Abu Marzuq accused Israel of stalling and said the next 24 hours would decide the fate of the Cairo talks.

Earlier, the foreign ministers of France, Laurent Fabius, of the UK, Philip Hammond, and of Germany, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, said that the only way to resolve the conflict was through talks.

“We call upon all parties immediately to return to a ceasefire. We fully support the ongoing efforts by Egypt to this end,” they said in a joint statement.

“To be sustainable, a ceasefire must envisage steps to address both Israeli security concerns and Palestinian requirements regarding the lifting of restrictions on Gaza,” they added.

Earlier, the US and the United Nations issued a similar call for a ceasefire.

Hamas said Israel had failed to meet its key demands, including the lifting of the Gaza blockade and the release of prisoners. It also rejected Israel’s call for the demilitarisation of Gaza.

On Saturday, tens of thousands of protesters marched through London, Paris and Cape Town in what organisers called a “Day of Rage” against Israeli military action in Gaza.

About 150 protesters also held a demonstration in Tel Aviv despite Israeli authorities banning the gathering.

Palestinian health officials said at least seven people died in several separate air strikes on Saturday.

Israel said it killed four Hamas militants, including one senior leader, and more than 70 rockets had been fired from Gaza since the end of the ceasefire.

Palestinian deaths:

  • 1,935 killed, including at least 1,408 civilians
  • 452 children
  • 235 women

Israeli deaths:

  • 64 soldiers
  • 2 civilians
  • 1 Thai national in Israel

(Source: OCHA; 08:00 GMT, August 9)

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Megadeth and CeeLo Green have cancelled their Israel amid the ongoing conflict in Gaza.

According to Megadeth’s website, the August 6 concert in Tel Aviv was cancelled because “passage” for the band and its gear could not be “guaranteed”.

CeeLo Green’s concert in Jerusalem on August 19 would have been his first in Israel.

A number of other artists have pulled out of concerts in recent weeks.

Megadeth cancelled their Tel Aviv concert amid the ongoing conflict in Gaza

Megadeth cancelled their Tel Aviv concert amid the ongoing conflict in Gaza

A brief statement on Megadeth’s website said “the band was looking forward to this concert and is disappointed they will not be able to put on the show for their fans”.

However, the band “expects to return to Tel Aviv on their next international tour”, it added.

CeeLo Green had been due to perform in Independence Park in Jerusalem.

His promoter in Israel, Carmi Wurtman, told the Hollywood Reporter: “The artist and his crew really wanted to come, but unfortunately we were the ones who had to postpone it because this is not the right time to advertise and push a concert.”

Carmi Wurtman added that restrictions in Israel limiting crowds to no more than 1,000 people was another reason for the cancellation.

Open gatherings of bigger crowds are prohibited in Israel amid fears that they will be targeted by Palestinian militants in Gaza who have fired rockets into Israel.

Other performers who have cancelled concerts recently include veteran singer Neil Young and Backstreet Boys.

Filming of the TV drama, Tyrant, was relocated to Istanbul after Tel Aviv came under rocket fire.

Israel has announced a seven-hour humanitarian ceasefire in parts of Gaza.

A senior Israeli military official said the truce would not apply to the town of Rafah and that Israeli troops would respond if they were attacked.

Earlier, UN chief Ban Ki-moon described an Israeli strike near a UN-run school in Gaza as “a moral outrage and a criminal act”.

Palestinian officials said at least 10 people died in the attack on Sunday.

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) confirmed on Sunday that they had begun withdrawing some troops from Gaza, saying it was “extremely close” to completing its mission to destroy a network of tunnels.

Health officials in Gaza say 1,800 Palestinians, most of them civilians, have been killed and more than 9,000 injured since the conflict began nearly four weeks ago.

Sixty-six Israelis have died, all but two of them soldiers. A Thai national working in Israel was also killed.

Israel has announced a seven-hour humanitarian ceasefire in parts of Gaza

Israel has announced a seven-hour humanitarian ceasefire in parts of Gaza

In the outrage that followed Sunday’s attack on the UN school, Israel announced it would hold a “humanitarian window” in its Gaza offensive to allow hundreds of thousands of displaced Palestinians to return to their homes.

The ceasefire would not include Rafah because there was an “Israeli military presence” there and “clashes were still ongoing”, an IDF statement said.

It said the truce would last from 10:00 local time until 17:00.

The Israeli army warned that it would “respond to any attempt to exploit this window” by Islamist militants in Gaza.

Hamas responded to the truce with suspicion and its spokesman, Sami Abu Zuhri, accused the IDF of attempting to “divert the attention from Israeli massacres”.

Israeli air strikes on Gaza and Palestinian militant rocket fire launched at Israel continued on Monday morning ahead of the planned ceasefire.

The Islamic Jihad group said its commander in northern Gaza, Daniel Mansour, died when Israeli forces struck his home just before dawn.

More than a quarter of the 1.8 million residents in the Palestinian territory have been displaced.

Many of those who have fled their homes have taken refuge in UN shelters across Gaza, including the UN-run school in Rafah which was hit on Sunday.

The IDF said it had targeted three Islamist militants near the school.

Ban Ki-moon described the attack as “yet another gross violation of international humanitarian law”, adding that Israel had regularly been informed of the precise location of the school.

State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said the US was appalled by the “disgraceful shelling”.

Israel said it was investigating the incident.

PM Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel was “sorry for any attack that unintentionally hits civilians”, but accused Hamas of turning UN facilities into “terrorist hotspots”.

“Hamas has an interest in Gaza residents suffering, thinking that the world will blame Israel for their suffering,” Benjamin Netanyahu said in a statement on Monday.

The IDF says 2,560 rockets and mortars fired from Gaza have landed in Israel since 8 July, with its Iron Dome defense system having intercepted another 556 rockets.

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Hadar Goldin, the Israeli soldier reported missing in Gaza on Friday, is dead, Israel’s military says.

Hadar Goldin was believed to have been captured by militants during fighting, leading to the collapse of a ceasefire shortly after it had been declared.

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said it had determined that Lt. Hadar Goldin had died.

Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu has said the operation in Gaza will continue until it restores security to Israeli citizens.

AFP news agency quoted Palestinian emergency services as saying 12 Palestinians had been killed early on Sunday but this has not been independently confirmed.

Israeli media also reported fresh militant rocket attacks.

Hamas had denied it was holding the 23-year-old Hadar Goldin captive, saying it did not know the soldier’s whereabouts.

Lt. Hadar Goldin was believed to have been captured by Hamas militants during fighting

Lt. Hadar Goldin was believed to have been captured by Hamas militants during fighting

The military wing of the Islamist group said it had lost contact with some fighters in the area where Israel said the soldier had been seized.

It said it believed the fighters and possibly Hadar Goldin had been killed in an Israeli airstrike.

Israel’s defense minister and the chief military rabbi met the soldier’s family at their home in the town of Kfar Saba on Saturday night.

Hundreds of well-wishers had gathered outside their home and there was an outpouring of grief when the military’s announcement was made public.

Confirmation of Lt. Hadar Goldin’s death means 66 Israelis have now died in the fighting, all but two of them soldiers. A Thai worker in Israel also died.

Some 1,700 Palestinians, mostly civilians, have been killed since the conflict began more than three weeks ago.

Earlier, PM Benjamin Netanyahu vowed to continue the Israeli offensive in Gaza until “we achieve our objective of restoring security to you, Israeli’s citizens”.

“Hamas again mistakenly believes that the people of Israel do not have the will and determination to fight them and Hamas again will learn the hard way that Israel will do whatever it must do to protect its people,” he said.

The Islamist group would pay an “intolerable price” for attacks on Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu added.

Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum dismissed Benjamin Netanyahu’s comments as “confused” and said the group would “continue to resist until we achieve our goals”.

Meanwhile, a UN spokesman in Gaza has warned that a “health disaster of widespread proportions is rapidly unfolding” there after three weeks of intense conflict.

Chris Gunness from the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) says Gaza’s medical services are “on the verge of collapse”.

“At least half of all public health primary care clinics in Gaza are closed,” he said, adding that the medical facilities still functioning are overwhelmed.

Chris Gunness also warned that there was a serious risk of an outbreak of waterborne and communicable diseases because of a lack of adequate water and poor sanitation.

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Israeli forces say one of its soldiers is believed captured, as a 72-hour truce with Hamas in Gaza collapsed just hours after it had begun.

The soldier, named as Hadar Goldin, 23, disappeared when Israeli forces trying to destroy a suspected militant tunnel were attacked, Israel’s military said.

Two soldiers died in firefight in southern Gaza Strip at 9:30 local time.

The Gaza health ministry said dozens were killed by Israeli shelling in the area shortly after the incident.

In 2006 Palestinian militants captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit and held him for five years.

Israeli forces say one of its soldiers is believed captured, as a 72-hour truce with Hamas in Gaza collapsed just hours after it had begun

Israeli forces say one of its soldiers is believed captured, as a 72-hour truce with Hamas in Gaza collapsed just hours after it had begun

Gilad Shalit was released in November 2011 in exchange for 1,000 Palestinian prisoners.

Hamas has not confirmed or denied capturing a soldier.

Some 1,460 Palestinians, mostly civilians, have died in the latest conflict and 63 Israelis, mostly soldiers.

The ceasefire had been brokered by the US and UN to give civilians a reprieve from the violence, and had been seen as an unforeseen breakthrough after days of diplomatic deadlock.

Also on Friday, Palestinian and Israeli delegations arrived in Cairo, Egypt, with the hope of negotiating a longer-term cessation of hostilities, but Egyptian officials said the talks had now been postponed.

A senior Israeli official said Hamas had breached the ceasefire and Israel’s response would be “crushing”.

Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoun said: “The Israelis are the ones who breached the ceasefire, and the Palestinian resistance acted in a way that ensures its right of self-defense.”

Another Hamas official said the announcement of the soldier’s capture was “a justification for Israel retreating from the truth and a cover-up for massacres”.

Palestinian media reported that Hamas had called for a “day of anger” across the West Bank.

Israel’s military is resuming its operations in Gaza, saying Hamas broke planned 72-hour ceasefire just hours after it had begun.

The army said it had warned residents to stay indoors.

Palestinian sources said at least 27 people had been killed in an Israeli attack in Gaza. Israel said it was in response to rocket fire from Hamas.

Some 1,460 Palestinians, mostly civilians, have died in the conflict and 63 Israelis, mostly soldiers.

Israel is resuming its operations in Gaza, saying Hamas broke planned 72-hour ceasefire just hours after it had begun

Israel is resuming its operations in Gaza, saying Hamas broke planned 72-hour ceasefire just hours after it had begun

The ceasefire had been brokered by the US and UN to give civilians a reprieve from the violence, and had been seen as an unforeseen breakthrough after days of diplomatic deadlock.

Palestinian and Israeli delegations have arrived in Cairo, Egypt, with the hope of negotiating a longer-term cessation of hostilities, but the fate of the talks now seems unclear.

During the morning life appeared to be returning to some kind of normality in Gaza, with many Palestinians heading towards heavily shelled areas to see if their homes were still intact.

But the Gaza health ministry reported that at least 27 Palestinians were killed and 100 injured in an Israeli attack near the southern town of Rafah after the ceasefire began.

AFP news agency said the artillery barrage was continuing, preventing medics from recovering dead and wounded from the site.

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Israel has decided to call up 16,000 extra reservists to bolster its military as the conflict in Gaza continues.

The deployment brings the total called up by Israel to 86,000. Officials told Israeli media the call-up gave the military “room to breathe”.

The move comes as Israel pledged to investigate a strike on a UN-run school that killed at least 16 people.

In all, more than 100 people in Gaza were killed on Wednesday, Palestinian officials said.

The US and UN condemned the attack, with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon calling it “unjustifiable”.

On Wednesday, Israel’s security cabinet met to approve the continuation of strikes against Palestinian militant group Hamas, which controls Gaza.

Israel has decided to call up 16,000 extra reservists to bolster its military as the conflict in Gaza continues

Israel has decided to call up 16,000 extra reservists to bolster its military as the conflict in Gaza continues

Operations would continue against suspected militants, suspected rocket sites and a network of tunnels discovered leading into Israel, the military said.

At least 19 air strikes were carried out overnight, officials said.

Israel began Operation Protective Edge on July 8. Since then at least 1,360 Palestinians have been killed. Most have been civilians.

Some 58 Israelis have been killed, 56 soldiers and two civilians. A Thai worker in Israel has also died.

The attack on the school in the Jabaliya refugee camp, which was sheltering more than 3,000 civilians, took place on Wednesday morning.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said “all available evidence” suggested Israeli artillery was the cause.

The US state department also criticized the attack on the school. It also condemned those who hid weapons in UN facilities, a spokeswoman said.

Also on Wednesday, an attack on a market in Shejaiya killed 17 people, while an Israeli air strike killed seven people in Khan Younis, Palestinian officials said.

Those attacks came during a four-hour humanitarian ceasefire called by the Israelis after the school incident.

However, Israel said the truce was only partial. Hamas rejected it as meaningless.

Israel said Palestinian militants continued to fire rockets from Gaza, with more than 50 launched on Wednesday.

The current conflict, now in its 24th day, is the longest between Israel and militants from Gaza.

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At least 17 Palestinians have been killed and 160 wounded in an Israeli strike that hit a fruit and vegetable market in Shujayea, near Gaza City, during a “humanitarian pause” unilaterally announced by Israel.

Hundreds of people were shopping in the market, a spokesman for the Gaza health ministry said.

Hamas, which controls Gaza, had rejected the truce as meaningless.

Meanwhile, Israel said three more of its soldiers had been killed in Gaza.

Palestinian doctors also said that another Israeli air strike after the partial humanitarian ceasefire was announced had killed seven people in Khan Younis.

More than 1,300 Palestinians and 58 Israelis have now died in Gaza Strip conflict

More than 1,300 Palestinians and 58 Israelis have now died in Gaza Strip conflict

Earlier, the UN said Israel had attacked a UN-run school housing refugees in Gaza, despite warnings that civilians were there. Fifteen people were killed and dozens hurt.

The White House condemned the attack and said it was “extremely concerned” that Palestinians were not safe at shelters despite being told to evacuate their homes by Israel’s army.

More than 1,300 Palestinians and 58 Israelis have now died in the conflict. Most of the Palestinian deaths have been of civilians.

Fifty-six Israeli soldiers have been killed along with two civilians. A Thai worker in Israel has also died.

The Israeli military said that the three soldiers killed on Wednesday died in a booby-trapped building.

Correspondents say many people in Gaza were unaware the partial ceasefire had been called.

Witnesses at the scene of the market strike in Shejaiya spoke of smoke billowing over the site, with ambulances racing victims to hospital.

A journalist who worked for a local news agency was reported to have been killed.

One witness, Salim Qadoum, told Associated Press: “The area now is like a bloodbath, everyone is wounded or killed. People lost their limbs and were screaming for help. It’s a massacre.”

The Palestinian al-Aqsa satellite TV channel quoted Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhum as saying that the market attack required “an earth-shattering response”.

The Israeli military had said the ceasefire would last between 15:00 and 19:00.

However, it had warned that the truce would only apply to areas where Israeli soldiers were not currently operating, and it told residents not to return to areas they had previously been asked to evacuate.

Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri had rejected the truce as meaningless.

“The lull which Israel announced is media exploitation and has no value because it excludes the volatile areas along the border, and we won’t be able to get the wounded out from those areas,” he said in a statement.

Sirens continued to sound in southern Israel after the ceasefire, to warn of militant rocket attacks.

Israel said more than 50 rockets were fired from Gaza on Wednesday.

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Israel attacked a UN school housing refugees in Gaza despite repeated warnings that civilians were sheltering there, the UN has said.

UN spokesman Chris Gunness said “the world stands disgraced” by the attack, in which 15 were reported killed.

The Israeli military said an initial inquiry suggested soldiers responded after militants had fired mortar shells “from the vicinity of the [UN] school”.

Some 1,200 Palestinians and 55 Israelis have been killed in the conflict.

Most of the Palestinian deaths have been civilians.

Some 53 Israeli soldiers have been killed along with two civilians. A Thai worker in Israel has also died.

Israel launched its offensive in Gaza after a surge in rocket fire from the territory.

Hamas, which controls Gaza, says it will not stop fighting until the blockade, maintained by both Israel and Egypt, is lifted.

Israel attacked a UN school housing refugees in Gaza despite repeated warnings that civilians were sheltering there

Israel attacked a UN school housing refugees in Gaza despite repeated warnings that civilians were sheltering there

The current conflict is now the longest between Israel and militants from Gaza.

A 2012 offensive lasted for eight days, and the 2008 conflict went on for 22 days.

Chris Gunness from the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) said that Israel had been told 17 times that the school in the Jabaliya refugee camp was housing the displaced.

“The last time was hours before the fatal attack,” he said.

“Our initial assessment is that it was Israeli artillery that hit our school.”

He said there were “multiple deaths” including women and children, adding that the attack caused “universal shame”.

Images from the school showed large holes in the walls and roof.

Bob Turner, UNRWA’s Gaza director, said the UN was “confident” Israel was responsible.

He said UN workers had collected fragments of projectiles that suggested they were artillery shells fired from Israeli positions to the north-east of the school.

The Israeli military said the incident was under review.

The military said in a statement that its “initial inquiry suggests that militants fired mortars earlier this morning from the vicinity of UNRWA school in Jebalia”.

It said soldiers “responded by firing towards the origin of fire”.

Israel has repeatedly accused Hamas of using schools and civilian areas as bases to launch attacks.

Last week, another UN-run school was hit, with Palestinians saying at least 15 people were killed.

But the Israeli military denied the killings, saying a single “errant” shell had landed in an empty courtyard.

Israel stepped up the intensity of its strikes on Tuesday and overnight into Wednesday, saying it had hit a number of tunnels dug by militants to attack Israel.

But the Israeli military said rockets continued to land in Israel from Gaza.

Palestinian officials said Gaza’s port had been destroyed on Tuesday and its only power plant had been put out of action.

Meanwhile, Palestinian factions Hamas, Fatah and Islamic Jihad are expected to meet in Cairo later to discuss a ceasefire.

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Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu has warned of a “prolonged” military campaign in Gaza, as it saw one of its heaviest nights of shelling since the conflict began.

Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel would continue to act until it had achieved its aim of destroying militant group Hamas’s network of underground tunnels.

Israel made 60 air strikes on targets in Gaza overnight including TV stations and the house of a key Hamas leader.

It said militants had launched three rockets at Israel.

At least 13 Palestinians are reported to have been killed in the overnight attacks, including six victims in one house in the Bureji refugee camp, while Israel’s army lost 10 soldiers in the past 24 hours.

Officials say more than 1,100 Palestinians, most of them civilians, have been killed in the fighting since July 8. Israel says 53 of its soldiers and three civilians – two Israelis and a Thai worker, have been killed.

Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu has warned of a prolonged military campaign in Gaza

Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu has warned of a prolonged military campaign in Gaza

Early on Tuesday, Israeli aircraft fired at the unoccupied house of former Hamas PM Ismail Haniyeh, while Hamas TV and radio stations were also hit.

Three rockets were fired from Gaza, with one rocket successfully intercepted and two hitting open spaces in central Israel, Israel’s military said.

At least 10 people – eight of them children – were killed in blasts in Gaza City on Monday afternoon, Palestinian health officials said. It is unclear if they were killed by an Israeli attack or a misfiring militant rocket.

Five Israeli soldiers were killed on Monday when militants infiltrated the border, while a mortar bomb killed four earlier and a tenth died in a clash in southern Gaza, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said.

Benjamin Netanyahu described Monday as a “painful day”.

“We will continue to act aggressively and responsibly until the mission is completed to protect our citizens, soldiers and children,” he said.

On Monday, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon criticized both sides for firing into civilian areas, and called for an immediate, unconditional humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza during the Muslim Eid al-Fitr holiday.

His spokesman later added that Ban Ki-moon was concerned at reports that leaflets had been dropped by the IDF warning residents in the northern Gaza Strip to evacuate to Gaza City.

“If true, this would have a further devastating humanitarian impact on the beleaguered civilians of those areas of the Gaza strip, who have already undergone immense suffering in recent days,” his spokesman said.

Rocket fire and air strikes between the two sides increased after the abduction and killing of three Israeli teenagers in June, which Israel blamed on Hamas and which led to a crackdown on the group in the West Bank. Hamas denied being behind the killings.

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Israel has accepted a UN request for a 24-hour ceasefire in Gaza.

However, Israel has warned the army will act if the pause is breached by Palestinian militants.

A crisis cabinet meeting extended Saturday’s truce until midnight on Sunday.

The move comes despite Hamas militants firing rockets after they rejected an earlier attempt to prolong the truce.

Hamas said it would not accept a truce unless Israeli troops left Gaza and the displaced were allowed to return home.

Israel said that it would continue operations against tunnels used by Hamas during the truce period.

Israel has accepted a UN request for a 24-hour ceasefire in Gaza

Israel has accepted a UN request for a 24-hour ceasefire in Gaza

Hamas has accused Israel of using previous ceasefires to prepare more attacks, and claimed that there had been truce violations during Saturday.

The Israeli military said a soldier was killed by a mortar shell fired from Gaza early on Sunday morning, bringing the death toll among its armed forces to 43. Two Israeli civilians and a Thai farm laborer working in Israel have also been killed in recent hostilities.

The health ministry in Gaza says 1,033 Palestinians, mostly civilians, have been killed and about 5,900 wounded since Israel launched its Gaza offensive 19 days ago.

Rocket sirens continued to sound across Israeli cities into Sunday. The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said some 20 rockets had been launched toward Israel since Saturday night.

The military said three mortars had been fired from Gaza and hit Israel in the Eshkol region shortly after 20:00 local time on Saturday.

Hamas’ armed wing, the Qassam Brigades, said they had fired a number of short- and longer-range missiles into Israel.

The original truce expired at 20:00 local time on Saturday. Gazans had been using the pause to recover bodies and gather supplies.

Gaza health ministry spokesman Ashraf al-Qidra said that almost 150 bodies had been found in the rubble on Saturday.

After talks in Paris on Saturday, foreign ministers from the US, Turkey, Qatar and several European countries urged both sides to extend the truce.

Israeli cabinet minister Gilad Erdan told Reuters on Saturday that a definitive deal looked remote, with no representatives from Israel, Egypt or the Palestinian Authority attending the Paris talks.

Also on Saturday, pro-Palestinian demonstrations took place in several global capitals.

Around 5,000 people rallied in Paris in defiance of a ban by the French authorities – about 50 people were arrested during clashes with police. Thousands also took part in a protest in London against Israel’s military campaign.

Israel launched its military offensive with the declared objective of stopping Hamas firing rockets from Gaza into Israel.

It also began a ground offensive on July 18, saying it was necessary to destroy tunnels dug by militants to infiltrate Israel.

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Israel and Hamas militant movement have accepted a 12-hour humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza.

The truce is due to begin at 08:00 local time. Efforts to negotiate a seven-day ceasefire are still ongoing.

Earlier US Secretary of State John Kerry said he was still confident of a longer ceasefire, despite media reports that Israel had rejected one proposal.

More than 800 Palestinians, mostly civilians, and 38 Israelis have died since the conflict started on July 8.

A spokesman for Hamas, the Islamist group that controls Gaza, Sami Abu Zuhri said there was “national consensus on a humanitarian truce… for 12 hours on Saturday”.

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) later confirmed the truce on Twitter, but said it would “continue to locate and neutralize terror tunnels”.

“We will respond if terrorists choose to exploit this time to attack IDF personnel or fire at Israeli civilians,” it said in a statement.

The news came shortly after Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon warned that ground operations in Gaza could soon be broadened “significantly”.

Israel and Hamas have agreed on a 12-hour humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza

Israel and Hamas have agreed on a 12-hour humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza

Moshe Yaalon told soldiers: “You need to be ready for the possibility that very soon we will instruct the military to significantly broaden the ground operation in Gaza.”

Hamas has previously said it would not agree to any long-term truce that did not lead to an end to Israel’s blockade of the Gaza Strip.

According to the UN, Israeli air strikes killed a further 68 people in Gaza on Friday, bringing the total number of Palestinian dead to about 870.

There were also clashes during protests in the West Bank which left at least five Palestinians dead.

Palestinians in the West Bank had been taking part in a “Day of Rage” against Israel’s military operation in the Gaza Strip.

Meanwhile Israel’s military said its Iron Dome defense system had intercepted several rockets fired across the border by Hamas.

Later it said that two of its soldiers had been killed in Gaza during the night.

Israel launched its military offensive on July 8 with the declared objective of stopping Hamas firing rockets into Israel.

It has since extended its operation to destroy tunnels dug by militants to infiltrate Israel.

Several foreign ministers, including John Kerry, are due to hold a meeting in France on Saturday to seek a diplomatic solution.

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Israel has rejected a Gaza ceasefire proposal put forward by US Secretary of State John Kerry.

Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon said ground operations in Gaza could soon be broadened “significantly”.

John Kerry said he still hoped for an initial seven-day truce for next week’s Eid festival but there was “still some terminology… to work through”.

He said he was confident Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu was committed to finding a solution.

Israel and the Islamist group Hamas have been fighting for 18 days.

Israel’s Channel 1 TV reported that the cabinet had unanimously rejected the truce proposal “as it stands”.

Israel has rejected a Gaza ceasefire proposal put forward by US Secretary of State John Kerr

Israel has rejected a Gaza ceasefire proposal put forward by US Secretary of State John Kerry (photo AP)

More than 800 Palestinians, mostly civilians, and 36 Israelis have died since the start of the conflict.

Hamas is yet to respond to the proposed ceasefire but its leader has already said the group will not agree to a deal without an end to Israel’s blockade of the Gaza Strip.

Israeli airstrikes on Gaza continued on Friday. The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said it had killed a senior member of the militant group Islamic Jihad.

The IDF also said its Iron Dome defense system had intercepted several rockets fired across the border by Hamas.

Israel launched its military offensive on July 8 with the declared objective of stopping Hamas firing rockets into Israel.

It has since extended its operation to destroy tunnels dug by militants to infiltrate Israel.

Rioting has erupted for the second night running at the Qalandia checkpoint in the West Bank, where 10,000 protesters massed on Thursday, clashing with Israeli border police.

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Calls for a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas movement are intensifying as more than 800 people have been killed in Gaza in the 18-day conflict.

Secretary of State John Kerry has been in Cairo meeting Egypt’s foreign minister and the UN secretary general.

Five Palestinians were killed in the West Bank, while one Israeli soldier was killed in northern Gaza.

Activists called for a “day of rage” over the deaths of 800 Palestinians in Gaza. Israel has lost 36 people.

Calls for a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas movement are intensifying as more than 800 people have been killed in Gaza

Calls for a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas movement are intensifying as more than 800 people have been killed in Gaza

Most of the Palestinian deaths have been civilians, while 34 of Israel’s dead have been soldiers. One Thai worker was also killed by rocket fire in Israel.

Israel launched new air strikes on targets in Gaza on Friday, and said it had killed a senior member of militant group Islamic Jihad.

The Israeli military reported new rocket launches by militants inside the Gaza Strip, with several intercepted.

Israel launched its military offensive on 8 July with the declared objective of stopping Hamas firing rockets into Israel, extending its operation since then to destroy tunnels dug by militants to infiltrate its territory.

Hopes rose for at least a limited deal on Friday as it emerged that John Kerry, Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry and UN chief Ban Ki-moon were planning a news conference for later in the day.

John Kerry is expected to leave the region on Friday, whether or not a deal is agreed.

The plan is thought to include provision for a temporary pause in hostilities that could begin as soon as this weekend.

Israel wants to keep its military in Gaza and continue disabling Hamas tunnels.

Any plan must be approved both by Israel’s security cabinet and senior Hamas leaders, including Qatar-based Khaled Meshaal.

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At least two Palestinians have been killed and 200 wounded in the West Bank during protests against Israel’s campaign in Gaza, officials say.

About 10,000 protesters marched from Ramallah towards East Jerusalem, where they were met by Israeli forces.

At least 15 people died and scores were injured when an UN-run shelter came under fire in Gaza on Thursday.

More than 800 Palestinians and 35 Israelis have died since the Israel-Hamas conflict began on July 8.

Palestinian leaders in the West Bank have called for a “day of anger” on Friday, one of the last days of Ramadan.

The protest at Qalandia, outside Ramallah, saw Israeli border police use “riot control measures” and live fire. Protesters also used live ammunition, Israel said.

At least two Palestinians have been killed and 200 wounded in the West Bank during protests against Israel's campaign in Gaza

At least two Palestinians have been killed and 200 wounded in the West Bank during protests against Israel’s campaign in Gaza

Large protests were also reported in Jerusalem on Thursday evening, after Israeli police prevented men under 50 from visiting the al-Aqsa mosque.

At least 20 protesters were arrested after they threw rocks at police, Israeli police said.

Israel launched its military offensive with the declared objective of stopping Hamas firing rockets into Israel.

It has since discovered a network of tunnels used by militants to infiltrate Israeli territory, and has vowed to destroy them to restore security.

Efforts to broker a ceasefire have been continuing despite the continued violence.

Reports suggest a deal under discussion could allow Israeli forces to remain in Gaza to destroy tunnels.

Palestinian leaders say this is the start of the “uprising of freedom and independence”. Thousands marched from the outskirts of Ramallah towards the Qalandia checkpoint calling for an end to the Israeli occupation.

Youths threw stones and petrol bombs towards the checkpoint and tried to destroy the barrier. Israeli police say they used percussion bombs and tear gas.

The demonstration was called for by a group of youths on Facebook, among them the son of the popular imprisoned Fatah leader Marwan Barghouti.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has urged Palestinians to expand the protests, and leaders in the West Bank have called for a “day of anger” on Friday.

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A UN shelter in northern Gaza was shelled on July 24, causing “multiple deaths and injuries,” according to a spokesman for the UN refugee agency.

At least 15 people have been killed and more than 200 injured when a UN-run school used as a shelter in Beit Hanoun, Gaza, was shelled, the Gaza health ministry says.

Hundreds of Palestinians were in the school in Beit Hanoun, fleeing heavy fighting in the area.

It is the fourth time that a UN facility has been hit in Israel’s offensive against Hamas militants.

In the past 16 days of fighting, more than 750 Palestinians and 32 Israelis have been killed, officials say.

In the past 16 days of fighting, more than 750 Palestinians and 32 Israelis have been killed

In the past 16 days of fighting, more than 750 Palestinians and 32 Israelis have been killed

Israel launched its military offensive on July 8 with the declared objective of stopping Hamas firing rockets from Gaza.

Earlier on Thursday, UN humanitarian chief Valerie Amos said that it was “vital” to have a ceasefire.

“We have over 118,000 people now who are sheltering in UN schools… people are running out of food. Water is also a serious concern,” she said.

She said the conflict meant 44% of Gaza was a no-go area for Palestinians, and residents were running out of food.

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Thursday he regretted each Palestinian civilian death, but said they were “the responsibility of Hamas”.

Correspondents say pools of blood lay on the ground in the courtyard of the school in Beit Hanoun in northern Gaza.

There was a large scorch mark where it appeared a shell had hit, the Associated Press news agency reports.

UN officials said that during the course of the day they had been trying to negotiate a window of time with the Israeli army for civilians to leave the area because of the heaving fighting.

Chris Gunness, a spokesman for the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine refugees (UNRWA), said it was never granted.

He said the Israeli army had been formally given the co-ordinates of the shelter in Beit Hanoun.

There has been no comment so far from the Israeli military.

Casualties from the attack have been taken to several local hospitals.

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UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay has condemned Israel’s military actions in the Gaza Strip, saying that war crimes may have been committed.

Navi Pillay told an emergency debate at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva that Israel’s military offensive had not done enough to protect civilians.

She also condemned Hamas for “indiscriminate attacks” on Israel.

Israel launched its offensive on July 8 with the declared objective of stopping rocket fire from Gaza.

“There seems to be a strong possibility that international law has been violated, in a manner that could amount to war crimes,” Navi Pillay said.

Israel’s Justice Minister Tzipi Livni described the UN Human Rights Council as an “anti-Israel” body, Reuters news agency reported.

At least 649 Palestinians and 31 Israelis have been killed in the past 15 days of fighting, officials say.

A foreign worker in southern Israel was also killed by a rocket fired from Gaza on Wednesday, police said.

The UN says about 74% of those killed in Gaza are civilians, with medical clinics among the facilities hit by air strikes.

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay has condemned Israel's military actions in the Gaza Strip

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay has condemned Israel’s military actions in the Gaza Strip (photo AP)

“Civilians in Gaza have no safe place to go as 44% of the land has been declared a ‘no-go zone’ by the Israeli army,” the assistant secretary-general at the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said.

“Families are taking the heart-wrenching decision to split to different locations – mother and son to one; father and daughter to another – hoping to maximize the chance one part of the family survives.”

There was heavy fighting in the town of Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip on Wednesday.

Eyewitnesses say around 5,000 Palestinians, some waving white flags, are fleeing in a state of panic following a ground incursion by Israeli troops.

Meanwhile US Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in Israel on Wednesday to try to help negotiate a truce.

“We have certainly made some steps forward. There is still work to be done,” John Kerry said shortly after arriving.

John Kerry flew by military plane to Ben Gurion airport near Tel Aviv, as several US and European airlines continue to suspend civilian flights into Israel after a rocket from Gaza landed near the airport.

German airline Lufthansa announced on Wednesday it would extend the ban for another 24 hours.

At least five people died in an air strike in Khan Younis overnight. An Israeli soldier was also killed.

Earlier, Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu said Hamas should be held accountable for rejecting an Egyptian ceasefire proposal.

Referring to a July 16 Israeli air strike that killed children playing on a beach in Gaza, Navi Pillay said “the disregard for international humanitarian law and for the right to life was shockingly evident”.

She also condemned rocket attacks from Gaza into Israel.

“The principles of distinction and precaution are clearly not being observed during such indiscriminate attacks on civilian areas by Hamas and other armed Palestinian groups,” she told the UN Human Rights Council.

Despite her condemnation of Hamas attacks on Israel, Navi Pillay clearly views Israel’s actions in Gaza as disproportionate.

“Israel is acting according to international law,” Tzipi Livni said.

“It is regrettable civilians are killed, but when we call on them to vacate and Hamas calls on them to stay, then that is what happens.”

A 2009 UN human rights report said that Israel’s military and Hamas had each committed potential war crimes during Israel’s 2008-2009 offensive in Gaza.

The Goldstone report was rejected by Israel and the US as biased and flawed.

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American citizens Max Steinberg and Nissim Sean Carmeli were killed on Sunday during fighting between Israel and Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip, US officials say.

Max Steinberg, 24, and Nissim Sean Carmeli, 21, were fighting for the Israel Defense Forces (IDF).

They were among 13 Israeli soldiers killed on Sunday. More than 100 Palestinians were also killed on Sunday.

The UN Security Council has called for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza.

American citizens Max Steinberg and Nissim Sean Carmeli were killed on Sunday during fighting between Israel and Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip

American citizens Max Steinberg and Nissim Sean Carmeli were killed on Sunday during fighting between Israel and Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip (photo AP)

“We can confirm the deaths of US citizens Max Steinberg and Sean Carmeli in Gaza,” state department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said on Sunday, declining to provide further details.

Max Steinberg, who hailed from California, was reportedly a sharpshooter for the Golani Brigade, the Associated Press news agency reports.

“He was completely dedicated and committed to serving the country of Israel,” his father, Stuart Steinberg, told the AP.

“He was focused, he was clear in what the mission was, and he was dedicated to the work he needed to be doing.”

Sean Carmeli was a sergeant from Texas who moved to Israel four years before.

More than 500 Palestinians, mainly civilians, have been killed since the Israeli offensive began 13 days ago, Gaza’s health ministry says.

Meanwhile, Hamas launched fresh rocket attacks and used tunnels to infiltrate Israel near the town of Sderot. All 10 intruders were killed, Israel said.

Twenty Israelis – 18 of them soldiers – have died, Israel says, as it seeks to end rocket fire from Gaza.

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The UN Security Council has called for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza Strip as the number of Palestinians killed during Israel’s military operation passes 500.

It comes as US Secretary of State John Kerry heads to Cairo for talks on the crisis amid a mounting death toll.

Over 500 Palestinians, mainly civilians, have been killed since the Israeli offensive began two weeks ago, Gaza’s health ministry says.

Twenty Israelis – 18 of them soldiers – have died, Israel says, as it seeks to end rocket fire on the country.

On Sunday, Gaza saw its deadliest day since the start of Israel’s Operation Protective Edge, with 13 Israeli soldiers and more than 100 Palestinians killed.

Israel says it has killed at least 120 militants since the ground offensive began on Thursday night.

The UN Security Council has called for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza Strip as the number of Palestinians killed during Israel's military operation passes 500

The UN Security Council has called for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza Strip as the number of Palestinians killed during Israel’s military operation passes 500

Sunday’s late-night UN Security Council session was convened at the request of Jordan, which is understood to have proposed a strongly worded draft resolution for consideration.

Secretary General Ban Ki-moon spoke out on the situation, describing Israel’s operation in Shejaiya as “an atrocious action”.

However, the 15-member council instead issued a statement to the press, with Rwanda’s UN ambassador calling for “an immediate cessation of hostilities”.

Eugene Gasana said members voiced alarm at the escalation of violence during a “sobering session”.

More than 60 Palestinians alone were killed during heavy shelling in Shejaiya, in what Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas called “a massacre”.

He called for urgent talks, saying the “situation is intolerable” in Gaza and describing the Israeli attacks as “crimes against humanity.”

Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu vowed to continue operations “as much as we need to” despite the number of Israeli soldiers killed rising to 18 at the weekend.

Two of the soldiers killed were American citizens, US state department spokesperson Jen Psaki said.

Sunday’s death toll for Israel’s military is higher than that sustained during the entire three-week duration of Operation Cast Lead in 2008-2009, the last time Israel sent troops into Gaza.

Hamas said on Sunday evening that it had captured a member of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), prompting celebrations on the streets of Gaza and West Bank.

However Israel’s UN ambassador Ron Prosor denied the claim, saying “those rumors are untrue”.

The UN says 83,695 people have now been displaced in Gaza and that the figure is “rising all the time”.

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Israel announces it has expanded its ground offensive in Gaza, with residents reporting the heaviest shelling since the conflict began 13 days ago.

In a statement, Israel’s military said “additional forces” had joined “the effort to combat terror” in Gaza.

Four Palestinians died, including two children and the son of a senior Hamas official, in new airstrikes on Sunday, July 19.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon is due to arrive in Qatar later to meet Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

Ban Ki-moon’s visit is part of a regional tour aimed at helping Israelis and Palestinians “end the violence and find a way forward”, the UN said.

The death toll continued to rise at the weekend, with the number of Palestinians killed now at more than 350 – the vast majority of them civilians.

Israel has expanded its ground offensive in Gaza

Israel has expanded its ground offensive in Gaza

Five Israeli soldiers and two Israeli civilians have died since PM Benjamin Netanyahu launched the military offensive on July 8.

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) sent ground troops into Gaza on Thursday after 10 days of heavy air and naval barrages failed to stop rocket fire from Gaza.

Israel says the ground operation is necessary to target a Hamas tunnel network, which it says it could not do only from the air.

Two Israeli soldiers were killed on Saturday during a gunfight with Palestinian militants who had used tunnels to cross into Israel to launch an attack, the IDF said.

Lieutenant Colonel Peter Lerner, an IDF spokesman, said the ground offensive was being expanded “to restore security and stability to Israel’s residents and citizens”.

Residents in Gaza reported hearing explosions throughout the night on Saturday.

An airstrike in the suburb of Shejaiya targeted the house of Hamas official Khalil al-Hayya, killing four people including his son and daughter-in-law, Palestinian doctors said.

Meanwhile, the UN warned that it was running out of supplies to help more than 50,000 Palestinians who have sought shelter at its schools in Gaza.

A UN official said the number of people fleeing was much higher than expected, with both the Israeli and Egyptian borders closed to Gazans.

Diplomatic efforts to secure a ceasefire involving, among others, Egypt, Qatar, France and the UN, have failed to make any progress.

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius met Benjamin Netanyahu on Saturday, but said that attempts to agree a ceasefire had failed.

“Sadly I can say that the call for a ceasefire has not been heard, and on the contrary, there’s a risk of more civilian casualties that worries us,” he told press.

Qatar is expected to host a meeting between President Abbas and Ban Ki-moon on Sunday before the UN chief continues on to Kuwait, Egypt, Israel, the Palestinian Territories and Jordan.

Mahmoud Abbas is also due to meet Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal in a bid to convince the Islamist group to agree to Egyptian efforts to end the fighting.

Hamas rejected an Egypt-brokered ceasefire last week, saying any deal with Israel must include an end to a blockade of Gaza.

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Israel has restarted air strikes on Hamas-controlled Gaza, after its brief truce was met with continuing rocket fire.

Israel had earlier accepted an Egyptian ceasefire proposal and halted operations on Tuesday morning.

But the armed wing of Hamas rejected the initiative as a “surrender”.

Palestinian officials say at least 192 people have been killed by Israeli air strikes launched eight days ago to stop militants firing rockets into Israel.

At least four Israelis have been seriously injured since the violence flared, but none have been killed.

The Israel Defense Forces said militants had fired 76 rockets into Israel on Tuesday.

Israel has restarted air strikes on Hamas-controlled Gaza, after its brief truce was met with continuing rocket fire

Israel has restarted air strikes on Hamas-controlled Gaza, after its brief truce was met with continuing rocket fire (photo AP)

It said that after resuming its air strikes, 30 targets had been attacked in Gaza, including 20 concealed rocket launchers, tunnels, a weapon storage facility and operational infrastructure used by a senior militant.

Under the terms of the Egyptian initiative, the ceasefire should have been followed by a series of meetings in Cairo with high-level delegations from the two sides.

There has been no definitive response to the initiative from Hamas.

US Secretary of State John Kerry said he could not “condemn strongly enough” Hamas’ actions in continuing to fire rockets.

Israel’s security cabinet, convened by PM Benjamin Netanyahu, had approved the truce on Tuesday morning, minutes before the proposed time for it to come into effect – at 09:00.

“We agreed to the Egyptian proposal in order to give an opportunity for the demilitarization of the [Gaza] Strip – from missiles, from rockets and from tunnels – through diplomatic means,” Benjamin Netanyahu had said.

But he had then added: “If Hamas does not accept the ceasefire proposal, as would now seem to be the case, Israel would have all international legitimacy to broaden the military operation to achieve the required quiet.”

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Egypt launched an initiative on Monday to halt Israel-Palestinian conflict.

On Tuesday, Israel has accepted the truce proposal for the conflict with Gaza.

Hamas, which controls Gaza, has not formally responded. But its armed wing has rejected the plan as a “surrender”.

Under the terms, the ceasefire should begin immediately, followed by a series of meetings in Cairo with high-level delegations from both sides.

Palestinian officials say at least 192 people have been killed by Israeli air strikes launched eight days ago to stop militants firing rockets into Israel.

There have been no Israeli air strikes into Gaza since the 09:00 truce, but at least one rocket has been fired from Gaza into Israel.

Egypt launched an initiative to halt Israel-Palestinian conflict

Egypt launched an initiative to halt Israel-Palestinian conflict

Israel’s security cabinet, convened by PM Benjamin Netanyahu, voted to approve the truce on Tuesday morning, minutes before the proposed time for it to come into effect.

Peter Lerner, a spokesman for the IDF, Israel’s military, said: “In accordance with the government directives, the IDF now holds fire. We remain alert and preserve high preparedness levels, both defensive and offensive. If the Hamas terror organization will fire at Israel, we shall respond.”

For now, Hamas sources are saying its attacks will “increase in ferocity and intensity” unless Israel releases prisoners and co-operates with Egypt to lift economic restrictions on Gaza.

That is not encouraging but does not mean that a deal will not ultimately be done – just that it will not be easy, our correspondent says.

Meanwhile the casualty figures continue to mount.

Three people were killed in Khan Younis, south of Gaza, on Tuesday morning, shortly before Israel accepted the proposed truce.

Of the 192 now reported dead by the Palestinian health authority, the UN estimates that over three-quarters were civilians.

An estimated 1,400 Palestinians have been injured.

Israel disputes the Palestinian casualty figures, saying they were based on Hamas sources and were not objective.

At least four Israelis have been seriously injured since the violence flared, but no-one has been killed.

Israeli sources said at least three rockets landed in and around the southern Israeli city of Eilat overnight.

Reports suggest they may have been fired from the Sinai peninsula in Egypt rather than from Gaza.

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