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UN chief seeks Gaza truce for Eid ul-Fitr

Posted on Jul 25 2014 | IANS

Cairo, July 25 : UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon Friday called for an unconditional humanitarian ceasefire in the strife-stricken Gaza Strip during the Muslim holiday of Eid ul-Fitr that will begin Monday.

"This truce should last through the Eid ul-Fitr holiday period," Ban said in a statement after meetings with US Secretary of State John Kerry and Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shukry.

The 18-day bloodshed between Israel and Palestinian Gaza-ruling Hamas movement has killed over 800 Palestinians and wounded more than 5,000 others, most of them civilians, while over 30 Israelis have been killed in Hamas attacks.

Eid ul-Fitr, also called Feast of Breaking the Fast, is an important religious holiday celebrated by Muslims worldwide to mark the end of the one-month Ramadan. The holiday will last for three days.

Ban urged an "immediate pause", which he believed would pave the way for a long-term ceasefire, Xinhua reported.

"The pause can and should take effect immediately without conditions, without excuses, without delay," the statement added.

Egypt offered last week an initiative to achieve ceasefire in Gaza unconditionally. The proposal was accepted by Israel but rejected by Hamas as there was no "comprehensive solutions".

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