Egypt calls for Gaza ceasefire as fighting rages

Palestinian protestors run for cover from tear gas during clashes with Israeli security forces in the West Bank. (AFP)

Egypt called on Israel and the Palestinians on Saturday to halt fire and resume ceasefire talks, but violence continued unabated with Israeli air strikes in the Gaza Strip and Hamas firing rockets at Israel.

A senior Egyptian diplomat said Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas had informed Sisi that Hamas was prepared to come to Cairo for further talks, but Hamas did not immediately confirm the report. Israel also had no immediate comment, Reuters news agency reported.

Early on Saturday, an Israeli air strike on central Gaza  claimed the lives of at least five Palestinians of the same family, medical officials said according to Agence France-Presse.

The air strike hit a house in central Gaza before dawn on Saturday killing five family members, including two women and two children, Palestinian medics said.

Emergency services initially said three people were killed and five wounded, but later announced that two people had died of their injuries after the raid in Al-Zawayda near the Nusseirat refugee camp.

The air raid hit a family home, witnesses and medics said.

Doctors at the Al-Aqsa Hospital in Deir al-Balah said the five dead all came from the same family -- a 28-year-old father, his 26-year-old wife and their two boys aged three and four.

The father's 45-year-old aunt was also killed, they said.

The attack comes as the bloody conflict between Hamas and Israel entered its 47th day, killing at least 2,095 Palestinians, and 68 people on the Israeli side, all but four of them soldiers.

Hostilities in the six-week war between Israel and Islamist rulers of Gaza Hamas resumed last week as Egyptian-brokered truce talks collapsed.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas announced on Saturday that Egypt is to invite Israeli and Palestinian delegations to return to Cairo to resume talks.

"Egypt is going to invite delegates to return to the negotiating table to consider a long-term truce," Abbas said after talks with his Egyptian counterpart Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.

"What interests us now is putting a stop to the bloodshed," Abbas said in statements carried by AFP.

"As soon as a ceasefire goes into effect, the two sides can sit down and discuss their demands."

Abbas's meeting with Sisi came after he held two rounds of talks in Qatar on Thursday and Friday with exiled Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal, whose Islamist movement is the de facto ruler of Gaza.

 

(with AFP)

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Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 13:53 - GMT 10:53
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