Gaza toll mounts to 926 as fragile 12-hour ceasefire takes hold

July 26, 2014 | By | Reply More

July 26, – Palestinians in the Gaza Strip poured into the streets on Saturday to recover their dead and stock up on food supplies after a 12-hour humanitarian truce agreed by Israel and Hamas took hold on the 19th day of their conflict.

hromedia Gaza toll mounts to 926 as fragile 12-hour ceasefire takes hold arab uprising4U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has been spearheading international efforts to end the fighting, in which 985 Palestinians, many of them civilians, have been killed. His diplomatic push was to continue on Saturday in Paris.

Women in the northern town of Beit Hanoun wailed as medics pulled three dead relatives from a home struck overnight by an Israeli air strike, with hospital officials saying 85 bodies had been found after the guns fell silent at 8 a.m. (1.00 a.m. EDT).

Just before the truce started, 18 members of a single family, including five children, died in a strike near the southern town of Khan Younis, the Gaza Health Ministry said.

Israel’s military pledged to hold fire for 12 hours but said it would carry on searching for tunnels used by militants. The Islamist group Hamas, which dominates Gaza, said all Palestinian factions would abide by the brief truce.

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said that the foreign ministers of all seven countries involved in the diplomacy — the United States, France, Britain, Italy, Germany, Turkey and Qatar — had called for an extension of the truce.

“All of us call on the parties to extend the military ceasefire that is currently under way,” Fabius said.

WAR TOLL

Israel said two more of its soldiers were killed in pre-truce fighting in Gaza, bringing the army death toll to 37 as troops battled militants in the tiny Mediterranean enclave that is home to 1.8 million Palestinians.

Two Israeli civilians and a Thai laborer have also been killed by rockets fired from Gaza. Israel launched its offensive on July 8, vowing to halt repeated rocket fire out of Gaza by Hamas militants who want to break a blockade of the territory.

Stunned residents of Beit Hanoun wandered through destroyed streets lined with damaged houses or mounds of rubble where once whole buildings had stood. Some who had not seen each other for days embraced as they surveyed the wreckage around them.

Many of Beit Hanoun’s 30,000 residents had fled the area. “We hope the calm lasts and they find a solution so fighting ends. We are afraid for our children’s safety,” she said, adding she will not leave her home. “There is no place to go.”

Israeli tanks stood by as people searched through the debris for their belongings, packing whatever they could, blankets, furniture and clothes into taxis, trucks, rickshaws and donkey carts before fleeing the town.

Naser Tattar, director of Gaza’s main Shifa hospital, said most of the bodies recovered on Saturday came from Beit Hanoun, Khan Younis and Shejaia — a district east of Gaza City. Residents returning to that neighborhood found entire blocks flattened.

Fighting continued until the truce took hold. Militants fired a barrage of rockets out of Gaza, triggering sirens across much of southern and central Israel. No injuries were reported and the Iron Dome interceptor system shot down some missiles.

Press journalist for HRO media – Khizer Hayat reports.

 

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Category: Arab uprising

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