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Netanyahu Says Israeli Operations Will Continue In Gaza

A Palestinian man cries as he carries the body of 1-year-old Noha Mesleh, who died of wounds sustained after a UN school in Beit Hanun was hit by an Israeli tank shell, during her funeral in Beit Lahia, northern Gaza Strip, on July 25.
A Palestinian man cries as he carries the body of 1-year-old Noha Mesleh, who died of wounds sustained after a UN school in Beit Hanun was hit by an Israeli tank shell, during her funeral in Beit Lahia, northern Gaza Strip, on July 25.

Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says Israeli military operations in Gaza will continue as he accuses Hamas of violating a cease-fire. 

Netanyahu told the news network CNN on July 27 that "they are violating their own cease-fire. Under these circumstances, Israel will do what it must do to defend its people." 

His remarks come after Hamas Islamist militants agreed to a 24-hour humanitarian truce in their conflict with Israel in the Gaza Strip.

The group's spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said July 27 that "in response to UN intervention and considering the situation of our people and the occasion of Eid, it has been agreed among resistance factions to endorse a 24-hour humanitarian calm, starting from 2 p.m. local time on Sunday (July 27)."

However, Israel already called off its own 24-hour truce earlier July 27 after Hamas fired a volley of rockets into southern and central Israel.

Israel had offered a 24-hour truce late July 26, but Hamas rejected that offer, saying in a statement, "Any humanitarian cease-fire that doesn’t secure withdrawal of occupation soldiers from inside Gaza’s border, allow citizens back into homes and secure the evacuation of injuries is unacceptable."

Israel had said it would continue to demolish Hamas military tunnels during the pause.

More than 1,000 Gazans, mostly civilians, have died in 19 days of fighting. Forty-three Israeli soldiers and three civilians have been killed.

Rights groups say about 80 percent of the casualties have been civilians, and the UN agency for children UNICEF has said 192 children have been killed during the conflict.

Israel's security cabinet met in the evening of July 26 to discuss international efforts, led by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, to secure a longer lasting truce.

Kerry met European and Middle Eastern foreign ministers in Paris earlier to push both sides to extend the temporary truce.

France's Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, speaking after meeting Kerry and counterparts from Britain, Germany, Italy, Qatar and Turkey, as well as an EU representative, called "on parties to extend the humanitarian ceasefire." 

A spokesman for UN chief Ban Ki-moon said in a statement he "urgently appeals once again to all parties to declare a seven-day humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza."

Meanwhile, thousands of Israelis protested in Tel Aviv on July 26 against Israel's campaign against the Palestinian enclave, which it says is aimed at stamping out militant rocket fire and demolishing Hamas tunnels used for cross-border attacks.

 

Based on reporting by dpa and AFP

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