Gaza ceasefire talks collapsed

Updated: 2014-08-20 07:49


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CAIRO - A temporary ceasefire in the Gaza Strip has "collapsed" after the 24-hour respite ended Tuesday midnight as no truce-extension agreement was reached and Israel and Hamas renewed their hostilities, a senior Palestinian official said.

"The ceasefire has collapsed and Israel is responsible," said Azzam al-Ahmed, head of a joint-Palestinian delegation in Cairo attending in indirect negotiations with Israel.

"We are leaving tomorrow, but we have not pulled out of negotiations," he said, adding the Palestinian team was waiting for the Israelis to respond to their truce proposal. "We will not come back (to Cairo) until the Israel responds," he said.

Ahmed, an aide of Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas, heads the delegation that includes senior Hamas officials. On Tuesday night and in renewed Israeli airstrikes against the Gaza city, three Palestinians were killed and 40 others wounded, shortly before an end of a 24-hour ceasefire in the Gaza Strip, medics said. Ashraf al-Qedra, Gaza health ministry spokesman, told reporters that three Palestinians were killed, including a child and a woman and around 40 wounded in an airstrike on al-Dalou family house in northwest Gaza city.

He added that eight Palestinians were injured earlier on Tuesday afternoon in Israeli war jets airstrikes on northern, central and southern Gaza Strip.

Earlier, eyewitnesses said Israeli war jets carried out a series of intensive airstrikes on several areas in Gaza city on Tuesday night, including a house, killing one child and wounding at least 40 people.

Meanwhile, al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas armed wing said in a text message that its militants fired on Tuesday night several rockets on Tel Aviv into Israel, in response to the Israeli airstrike. Earlier on Tuesday, Sami Abu Zuhri, Hamas spokesman in Gaza, said that Hamas wasn't responsible for the four rockets were fired earlier on Tuesday afternoon from Gaza into Israel.

Izzat al-Resheq, a senior Hamas leader and member of the Palestinian delegation in Cairo for the ceasefire talks said in a press statement that he ruled out the possibility of reaching an agreement on Tuesday.

"The Egyptian mediator waits for an answer from the enemy ( Israel) to the Palestinian demands. The ceasefire was extended for 24 hours and will end by midnight, and I believe that Israel won't give an answer before midnight," he said.

Meanwhile, Fawzi Barhoum, spokesman of Hamas movement in Gaza, said in an emailed press statement that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is intentionally acting on the failure of the ceasefire agreement talks. "Therefore, the Palestinian resistance is studying all possible options," said Barhoum, referring to the end of the ceasefire by midnight without either extending it or reaching any new agreement.

With the fights been picked up again, the Cairo talks seem to have been left in disarray as Israel has ordered to called back its negotiators in the Egyptian capital. "The Cairo talks were based on an agreed premise of a total cessation of hostilities," Israeli government spokesman Mark Regev said, adding that "When Hamas breaks the ceasefire, they also break the premise for the Cairo talks. Accordingly, the Israeli team has been called back as a result of today's rocket fire."