GAZA/JERUSALEM: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said yesterday he would not accept any ceasefire that stopped Israel completing the destruction of militants’ infiltration tunnels as US Secretary of State John Kerry said Israel and Hamas had agreed to a 72-hour ceasefire.
“We are determined to complete this mission, with or without a ceasefire,” Netanyahu said in remarks at a meeting of his full cabinet in Tel Aviv. “I won’t agree to any proposal that will not enable the Israeli military to finish this important task, for the sake of Israel’s security.”
In New Delhi, Kerry said both sides would begin the truce at 8am local time (0500 GMT) and enter talks in Cairo.
“During this period, civilians in Gaza will receive urgently needed humanitarian relief, and the opportunity to carry out vital functions, including burying the dead, taking care of the injured, restocking food supplies and overdue repairs on essential water and energy infrastructure could also continue.”
Kerry said he was announcing the truce jointly with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who has also invested efforts in brokering an end to the conflict.
The Israeli military said it had called up an additional 16,000 reservists. They will relieve a similar number of reserve soldiers being stood down.
Gaza health officials said 34 Palestinians were killed in assaults that included an air strike on a home in the Nuseirat refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip, killing 11 members of a family.
The Israeli military said more than 90 rockets were fired from the Palestinian enclave. Hamas said it had fired one rocket at Israel’s commercial hub Tel Aviv, which the army said wa
Gaza officials say at least 1,427 Palestinians, mostly, civilians, have been killed in the battered territory and nearly 7,000 wounded. Fifty-six Israeli soldiers have been killed in Gaza clashes and more than 400 wounded. Three civilians have been killed by Palestinian shelling in Israel.
The US and the UN Security Council have urged an immediate, unconditional ceasefire in Gaza to allow in humanitarian relief and for further talks on a more lasting cessation of hostilities.
“The shelling of a UN facility that is housing innocent civilians who are fleeing violence is totally unacceptable and totally indefensible,” the White House said while the US Defence Department urged Israel to do more to protect civilian life during its operations.