World Bulletin / News Desk
Israel launched more than 20 aerial attacks in Gaza early on Saturday anm attempt to extend an Egyptian-mediated truce that halted a monthlong war earlier this week failed.
The Israeli military said that since midnight it had attacked more than 20 sites in the coastal enclave where Hamas fighters are dominant, without specifying the targets.
Palestinian witnesses and officials said the air strikes lasted through the night, that two mosques were destroyed and three houses were bombed, and that fighter planes had also strafed open areas.
Gaza fighters fired four rockets at towns in Israel's south on Saturday setting off alarm sirens and causing no damage or injuries, a military spokeswoman said.
Violence also picked up in the occupied West Bank, the Palestinian territory where President Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah movement holds sway, where a Palestinian man, 43, died of a gunshot wound to the chest from a confrontation with Israeli soldiers in the city of Hebron, medical officials said.
Israeli troops shot and killed another Palestinian man, 20, on Friday at a protest near a Jewish settlement outside Ramallah, Israeli military officials said.
Egypt has made no visible progress toward resuming a 72-hour ceasefire that halted the fighting between Israel and Gaza militants that began on July 8, but was expected to pursue these efforts again on Saturday.
The ceasefire expired on Friday with the sides still far apart on the terms for renewing the deal and each side blaming the other for refusing to extend it.
Israel accused Hamas of firing several rockets about four hours before the deal expired at 8 a.m. (0500 GMT). In all, Gaza fighters fired 57 rockets at Israel throughout Friday.
Israel also launched air strikes in Gaza on Friday, killing five Palestinians, among them a 10-year-old boy near a mosque in Gaza City. A fighter from the Islamic Jihad faction and three other Palestinians were killed in the southern Gaza Strip.
Police said two people in Israel were injured by mortar fire from Gaza on Friday.
RAMPING UP THE PRESSURE
The White House urged Israel and the Palestinians to do what they could to preserve civilians after having failed to extend their ceasefire. Spokesman John Earnest said on Friday "the United States is very concerned" about the renewed violence.
"We condemn the renewed rocket fire and we are concerned about the safety and security of civilians on both sides of the conflict," Earnest said.
Israel had earlier said it was ready to agree to an extension as Egyptian go-betweens pursued negotiations with Israeli and Palestinian delegates, but Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said Israel had rejected most of the group's demands.
He said the Palestinians had wanted Israel to agree in principle to lift a Gaza blockade, release prisoners and permit the opening of a sea port, but these had been rebuffed.
"However, we did not close the door and will continue with the negotiations," Abu Zuhri said.
UN HEAD CALLS FOR CALM
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has called on Israel and Palestine to halt further military action in Gaza and carry on with negotiations in Cairo to reach a permanent ceasefire.
The statements by Ban Ki-moon came on Friday after violence flared again following the end of a three-day ceasefire between Israel and Gaza-based Palestinian factions.
Ban said in a statement: “The parties should swiftly find a way back to respect the humanitarian ceasefire and continue negotiations in Cairo."
“The extension of the ceasefire is absolutely essential for talks to progress and to address the underlying issues of the crisis as soon as possible."
"More suffering and death of civilians caught up in this conflict is intolerable," he added.Güncelleme Tarihi: 09 Ağustos 2014, 09:45