UK & World News

  • 26 July 2014, 20:49

Hamas Ends Truce As Gaza Dead Tops 1,000

Hamas has rejected a temporary extension to the humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza as the number of Palestinian dead topped 1,000.

Israel was ready to extend the 12-hour truce until midnight (10pm UK time) - but as night fellHamasbegan firing rockets from Gaza.

Hamas official Sami Abu Zuhri sent a text message to reporters saying: "No agreement to extending the calm for an additional four hours."

The resumption of fighting led police to clear a protest in Tel Aviv, where thousands of Israelis were demonstrating against their government's military operation.

Health officials said one person had died in Gaza as a result of Israeli tank fire - believed to be the first fatality since the ceasefire broke.

Meanwhile, world leaders continue their attempt to thrash out a wider ceasefire in Paris.

The truce held for the original 12 hours, though parts of Gaza came under heavy fire minutes before the break started at 8am (6am UK time).

Israeli shells reportedly killed 18 members of a Palestinian family who had been trapped in their house in Khuzaa village for two days.

Doctors in Gaza said 132 bodies were pulled from rubble during the ceasefire, taking the number of Palestinians killed in 19 days of violence to more than 1,000.

Three Israeli soldiers were also killed in combat prior to the ceasefire, meaning 40 military personnel have died since their operation began on July 8. A total of three civilians have been killed by rocket fire into Israel.

Israel reportedly continued its search of Hamas tunnels during the truce - though the break did allow Gazans to stock up on supplies.

Israeli cabinet minister Yuval Steinitz said a further extension would be discussed by the security cabinet on Saturday night.

US Secretary of State John Kerry remains "confident progress can be made" on a seven-day truce that would "bring people together to create a more durable plan".

However, on Friday evening Israel's defence minister told troops: "You need to be ready for the possibility that very soon we will instruct the military to significantly broaden the ground operation in Gaza."

Mr Kerry is in Paris for talks with British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond and other counterparts from Europe, Turkey and Qatar.

Earlier, Mr Kerry told a news conference in Cairo a "fundamental framework" for peace was in place and that it would "ultimately succeed".

"The world is watching tragic moment after tragic moment unfold and is wondering when everybody is going to come to their senses," said Mr Kerry.

An unnamed source from the Israeli government said they were seeking modifications as the truce proposal "leans too much towards Hamas demands".

In London, anti-war protesters marched from the Israeli embassy to the Houses of Parliament.

Similar protests took place in France and Germany.

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