Hamas ignores its truce acceptance claim; fires rockets

Rockets continued to fall, with 11 striking Israel in the two hours after the truce

Gaza City: The Islamist Hamas movement continued firing rockets at Israel on Sunday, despite claims it had accepted a UN request for a 24-hour extension of a humanitarian truce in war-torn Gaza.

Hamas’ belated acceptance of diplomatic calls for a temporary ceasefire was announced several hours after Israel resumed a devastating military assault on the enclave after a pause of more than 24 hours.

Although Hamas said its militants would halt their fire from 1100 GMT in response to a request from the United Nations, there was no response from Israel.

And rockets continued to fall, with 11 striking Israel in the two hours after the reportedly truce went into effect, prompting a derisive response from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
“They are violating their own ceasefire,” he said.

Mr Netanyahu also said that Israel would not allow “a ruthless terror organisation to decide when it’s convenient for them to stop for a moment, rearm, and continue firing on our citizens and our people”.

The abortive announcement came shortly after Israel said it would no longer abide by a unilateral ceasefire while coming under “incessant” fire from Hamas.

Shortly afterwards, Israeli troops resumed their punishing air strikes and tank shelling, killing 10 people across the territory, including an elderly Christian woman, medics said. Three others also succumbed to wounds, hiking the toll on day 20 of Israel’s devastating military campaign to 1,062.

The renewed violence came after a rare 12-hour break in the hostilities on Saturday, which was respected by both sides, with world powers urging both Israel and Hamas to extend the temporary truce by another 24 hours.

Meanwhile, an Israeli soldier of Indian origin became the 46th fatality of the Jewish nation on Saturday. Sergeant First Class Barak Refael Degorker, a 27-year-old Indian-origin reservist from the town of Gan Yavne, was severely injured in the mortar fire overnight and succumbed to his wounds, the Israeli army said on Sunday.

Degorker, an Engineering Corps reservist, was with a group of other soldiers near a kibbutz in the Sdot Negev Regional Council at the time of the incident.

His last rites will be performed on Sunday
He belonged to the Bene-Israel community, many of whose members migrated from India.

( Source : AFP )
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