Israel orders Gaza truce team back from Cairo: official

Israel orders Gaza truce team back from Cairo: official
Tue Aug 19, 2014 19:49:22

Israel on Tuesday ordered its negotiating team to return immediately from Gaza truce talks with the Palestinians in Cairo after claiming that three rockets hit the southern part of occupied lands, a government official said, cited by AFP.

The official, speaking to AFP, confirmed the delegation had been "ordered to return from Cairo" in response to the alleged rocket fire which came just seven hours before the expiry of a 24-hour truce extension which ends at midnight.

Israeli government spokesman Mark Regev says Israel is no longer bound by a ceasefire agreement, after three rockets fired from Gaza strike southern Israel. Smoke rises over Gaza City, after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu orders a military strike on Gaza, following the alleged rocket attacks.

Israel and the Palestinians have been struggling to reach a lasting deal in Egyptian-mediated talks before a day-long extension of a Gaza ceasefire runs out.

A military spokeswoman claimed that the rockets landed in open areas near the city of Beersheba and there were no reports of casualties.

The chief Palestinian delegate to the indirect negotiations in Cairo with Israel cautioned that violence could erupt anew if they failed.

After a last-minute agreement was struck on Monday to extend by 24 hours, until 2100 GMT on Tuesday, a deadline to reach a truce, Azzam al-Ahmad, senior leader of President Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah movement, said there had been "no progress on any point" in the talks.

The Palestinians are demanding an end to the Egyptian and Israeli blockades of the economically-crippled Gaza Strip, where Israel launched an offensive on July 8.

Palestinian officials held more meetings on Tuesday with Egyptian mediators.

An agreement could open the way for reconstruction aid to begin to flow to the Gaza Strip, where thousands of homes have been destroyed in the conflict and the United Nations said 425,000 people have been displaced.

The Palestinian Health Ministry put the Gaza death toll at 2,016 and said most were civilians in the small, densely populated coastal territory.

The latest truce is the third in 10 days when fighting was brought to a halt. It followed a five-day ceasefire that expired at 2100 GMT on Monday.


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