Fighting between Hamas and Israel continued on Sunday despite a series of ceasefire announcements by both sides, each of which was rejected by the other amid mutual blame and recrimination.
There was no sign of a longer-term deal to end the military confrontation, which began three weeks ago on Tuesday and has claimed around 1,100 lives, the vast majority Palestinian civilians. The US secretary of state, John Kerry, returned to Washington at the weekend after his efforts to forge a ceasefire agreement between the two sides failed.
Rockets were launched from Gaza and Israel carried out airstrikes in the hours following a Hamas call for a 24-hour humanitarian ceasefire from 2pm on Sunday.
Hamas said its pause was to mark Eid al-Fitr, which marks the end of Ramadan and is the most important holiday in the Muslim calendar. In Gaza City, people ventured out to stock up on food and essentials for the three-day holiday, which starts on Monday.
“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 2pm on Sunday,” Sami Abu Zuhri, a Hamas spokesman, told Reuters.
Israel, however, rejected the call, and the country’s prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, later said the militants had “violated even their own ceasefire”.
“They are shooting at us as we speak,” he said in a series of interviews on US television networks, adding: “Under these circumstances, Israel will do what it must do to defend its people.”.. see more
source: Guardian UK