UK & World News

  • 4 August 2014, 11:24

Gaza City 'Attacked Minutes Into Israel Truce'

Israel has been accused of breaking its own seven-hour humanitarian truce in Gaza.

The Israeli military pledged to hold fire from 10am to 5pm (8am to 3pm UK time) to allow in aid and so displaced Palestinians could return to their homes.

However, medics said an eight-year-old girl died and 30 other people were wounded in an attack on a house in the Shati refugee camp in Gaza City. The Israelis have yet to comment on the incident, which reportedly took place minutes after the truce began.

Earlier, Israel warned it would hit back if attacked during the break and said troops would fight on in areas of the southern Gazan town of Rafah, where there are ongoing clashes.

Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said the pause was "an attempt to divert attention from Israeli massacres".

It is the sixth attempt at halting hostilities on humanitarian grounds since the conflict began on July 8.

Sky's David Bowden said: "We're seeing here what is almost the first law of ceasefires in Gaza, which is to get out there as soon as you can, do what you have to do, and get out of the way - because almost inevitably it will not last."

Amid the promised break in fire, France said Israel's right to security did not justify the "slaughter of civilians" and called for the international community to "impose" a solution to the crisis.

Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said: "How many more deaths will it take to stop what must be called the carnage in Gaza?

"The tradition of friendship between Israel and France is an old one and Israel's right to security is total, but this right does not justify the killing of children and the slaughter of civilians."

Meanwhile, the United Nations condemned a third deadly missile strike on a UN school sheltering Palestinians, saying Israel was "repeatedly informed of the location of these sites" and that it was a "moral outrage and a criminal act".

The attack in Rafah on Sunday left 10 civilians dead and wounded another 30, bringing the total Palestinian death toll to almost 1,800.

The Israeli military confirmed it had fired on a terrorist target in the vicinity of the school and was "reviewing the consequences of this strike".

Israeli army spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Peter Lerner also announced the bulk of ground troops had now pulled out of Gaza after inflicting "substantial damage" to Hamas tunnels.

However, he emphasised the operation was not over, and despite withdrawals elsewhere, the Israeli military presence remains in Rafah.

In a pre-dawn airstrike, Israel killed a senior commander of the Islamic Jihad, a Palestinian group fighting alongside Hamas. He has been identified as Danyal Mansour, head of the group's northern command.

During the four-week conflict, 64 Israeli soldiers and three civilians have been killed.

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