Hamas agrees to 24-hour Gaza ceasefire with Israel
Palestinian militant group Hamas Sunday accepted a UN-proposed truce for 24 hours as Israel resumed its offensive earlier in the day, after a temporary truce came to an end.
The ongoing fighting between the Hamas movement and the Israeli army in Gaza, now in its 20th day, has claimed the lives of more than 1,000 Palestinians, Xinhua reported.
The announcement came as Sami Abu Zuhri, spokesman of Islamic Hamas movement in Gaza, in a text message, said, "In response to the UN intervention and considering our people's situation, it was agreed with the Palestinian factions to go for a 24-hour ceasefire that starts 2.00 p.m. Sunday."
On the Israeli side, 46 people consisting of 43 soldiers, have been killed in the operation.
In Cairo Friday, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called for an unconditional humanitarian truce in the strife-stricken Gaza Strip during the Muslim holiday of Eid ul-Fitr that begins Monday.
Israel's security cabinet approved a 24-hour extension Saturday night to a UN-brokered 12-hour humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza.
However, the Israeli decision to extend the truce was not seconded by Hamas, who began launching rockets against Israeli cities.
Earlier Sunday, Hamas said any truce that does not guarantee a complete withdrawal of Israeli forces from the Gaza Strip will not be accepted.
At least five Palestinians were killed Sunday as Israel renewed its air strikes across the Gaza Strip following an unabated rocket firing by Hamas militants.
The Israeli military said it resumed its offensive Sunday morning on the Gaza Strip, cutting short a temporary ceasefire after Hamas militants rejected the truce and continued to fire rockets at Israel.
"Following Hamas' constant rocket firing, the Israel Defence Forces will now resume their aerial, naval and ground activity in the Gaza Strip," an official said.
(Posted on 27-07-2014)