Child killed, 30 wounded in Gaza despite lull

The incident happened a few hours after the Israeli army announced a humanitarian lull in most of the Gaza Strip

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A Palestinian child was killed and 30 people wounded in a strike on a refugee camp in Gaza City on Monday just minutes into an Israeli-declared truce, medics said.

The strike hit a house in the beachfront Shati refugee camp, killing an eight-year-old girl, emergency services spokesman Ashraf al-Qudra said.

Witnesses said it was an Israeli air strike but there was no immediate comment from the Israeli army, which said it was looking into the incident.

Meanwhile, An Israeli airstrike reportedly killed a militant leader in the Gaza Strip, according to the Associated Press.

The Islamic Jihad group - a close ally of Gaza’s militant Palestinian Hamas rulers - said its commander in the northern part of the strip, Daniel Mansour, died when an Israeli strike hit his home just before dawn.

Both incidents happened hours after the Israeli army announced a humanitarian lull in most of the Gaza Strip from 0700 GMT and , raised the Palestinian toll from the four-week conflict between Israel and Hamas to more than 1,800, AFP reported.

The ceasefire is said will last between 0700 GMT and 1400 GMT.

The army said in a statement that the temporary truce would take place everywhere except to the east of Rafah on the Egyptian border where troops were still present and clashes were ongoing.

The Head of the Israeli military activities in the occupied West Bank and Gaza, General Yoav Mordechai, warned in the statement that "if the truce will be violated, the army will respond with fire toward the source of the (Palestinian) fire during the declared hudna," or truce.

Mordechai also called on residents of Abasan al Kabira and Abasan al Saghira, two villages east of Khan Yunis in southern Gaza, to return to their homes beginning 0500 GMT on Monday.

But, Hamas, the de facto rulers of Gaza, said they would not be reciprocating the lull.

Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said the group was skeptical about the Israeli truce announcement. “We do not trust such a calm and call on our people to take caution,” Zuhri said.

In a similar development, the first formal meeting aimed at ending the hostilities began in Cairo with Egyptian mediators hoping to pave the way towards a durable ceasefire agreement with Israel, according to Reuters news agency.

The talks, which gathered Palestinian groups, including representatives from Hamas and Islamic Jihad focused on a list of demands agreed by the Palestinian factions on Sunday.

Israel declined to send its envoys to the talks as scheduled.

The talks began at noon (0900 GMT) under the auspices of Egypt's powerful intelligence service.

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