New ceasefire comes into effect in Gaza

Egypt had earlier called on Israel and the Palestinians to commit to a new 72-hour ceasefire

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A fresh 72-hour ceasefire in Gaza began at 00:01 am Monday on the 33rd day of a conflict between Israel and Hamas that has killed more than 2,000 people.

Egypt had earlier called on Israel and the Palestinians to commit to a new ceasefire that would start at 2100 GMT and be in effect for 72 hours. A previous three-day pause expired on Friday and fighting in a month-old war resumed.

Earlier on Sunday, Israeli strikes on the Gaza Strip killed a 17-year-old Palestinian boy, a man and wounded several others, medics said.

According to emergency services spokesman Ashraf al-Qudra, the strike took place in the central town of Deir al-Balah.

The deaths raised to 1,891 the total number of Palestinians killed in violence since the July 8 launch of Israel's offensive into the strip, according to Agence France-Presse.

Meanwhile, an 11-year-old Palestinian boy was shot dead near the flashpoint city of Hebron (Al-Khalil) in the southern West Bank.
The Israeli military confirmed its troops opened fire in response to a “violent riot” and said an investigation into the boy’s death was under way.

Khalil Mohammed al-Anati had been playing outside his home at one end of Al-Fawwar refugee camp, southwest of the flashpoint city of Hebron, when an Israeli unit moved into the area, his uncle said.

Dozens of relatives and people gathered outside the morgue where the child's body was taken. The funeral was to be held later Sunday.

The Palestinians are examining a proposal for a new 72-hour ceasefire in Gaza, a Hamas spokesman said.

“There is a proposal for another 72-hour truce (to allow) for the continuation of negotiations,” Sami Abu Zuhri said in Gaza, without saying when it would begin.

“This proposal is being studied,” he added, indicating the Palestinian response would depend on “the seriousness of the Israeli position.”

Palestinian negotiators will remain in Cairo for an urgent meeting with the Arab League on Monday to discuss the Gaza crisis, Egypt's state MENA news agency said, according to Reuters news agency.

The Palestinian delegation had said it was likely to abandon Egyptian-mediated talks on Sunday unless Israel agreed to return to the table without pre-conditions.

Hamas chief Khaled Meshaal told Agence France-Presse in Doha on Sunday that a lasting truce must lead to the lifting by Israel of its blockade of the Gaza Strip.

The ceasefire Hamas reached with Israel on Sunday “is one of the ways or tactics to ensure successful negotiations or to facilitate the delivery of humanitarian aid to Gaza,” said Meshaal.

The final “goal we insist on is having the demands of Palestinians met and the Gaza Strip exist without a blockade.”

“We insist on this goal. In the case of Israeli procrastination or continued aggression, Hamas is ready with other Palestinian factions to resist on ground and politically and... to face all possibilities,” he said.

Also on Sunday, Israel said it will not take part in truce talks while violence is ongoing.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that Israel would stay away from Egyptian-mediated truce talks with Hamas as long as Palestinian rocket and mortar attacks from the Gaza Strip continued.

“Israel will not negotiate under fire,” Netanyahu said in broadcast remarks at the weekly meeting of his cabinet in Tel Aviv.

“At no stage did we declare [Israel's military offensive] was over,” he said. “The operation will continue until its objective - the restoration of quiet over a protraced period - is achieved. I said at the beginning and throughout the operation - it will take time, and stamina is required.”

Infographic: Gaza fatalities
Infographic: Gaza fatalities

Bloodiest conflict

Jordan’s King Abdullah II warned that Israel will only achieve security for its people through a peace settlement with the Palestinians leading to the establishment of their own state.

The Jordanian king called the month-long Gaza conflict “the bloodiest and most devastating in terms of casualties,” and blamed Israel for the bloodshed.

“First and foremost, Israel is responsible for the aggression in the Strip,” Abdullah in an interview published by the independent Al-Ghad newspaper.

“Israel’s security will not be achieved without a genuine pursuit of comprehensive just peace and the two-state solution,” he said, referring to a Palestinian state living side by side with Israel.

“This is the only way for Israel to guarantee its security and gain the acceptance of the region and the entire world,” Abdullah added.

Gaza officials said most of the Palestinians killed since July 8 were civilians, while Israel said 64 of its soldiers and three civilians have been killed in the fighting.

Heavy civilian casualties and destruction during Israel’s campaign in packed residential areas of the Gaza Strip have raised international alarm over the past month.

Israel expanded its air and naval bombardment into a ground offensive on July 17 and pulled its infantry and armor out of the enclave last week after saying it had destroyed more than 30 infiltration tunnels dug by militants.

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