Gaza fighting abates as Israel declares seven-hour ceasefire

Israeli strikes on Gaza early today killed 11 people, including an Islamic Jihad commander, raising the Palestinian death toll to over 1,820, according to Gaza health officials. In Jerusalem, an Israeli was killed and five injured when a Palestinian rammed an earthmover into a bus, turning it over before the driver was shot dead by police.

By Supriya Jha | Last Updated: Aug 04, 2014, 22:09 PM IST

Zee Media Bureau/Supriya Jha & Hemant Abhishek

  • Violence abated slightly on Monday after Israel declared a seven-hour humanitarian ceasefire and withdrew troops from parts of Hamas-ruled Gaza but tensions continued to simmer in the 28-day conflict that has killed nearly 1,900 people.

    Israeli strikes on Gaza early today killed 11 people, including an Islamic Jihad commander, raising the Palestinian death toll to over 1,820, according to Gaza health officials. In Jerusalem, an Israeli was killed and five injured when a Palestinian rammed an earthmover into a bus, turning it over before the driver was shot dead by police. Later, an Israeli soldier was shot and seriously wounded near a bus stop not far from the site of the earlier attack, with police combing the area for his attacker who fled.

  • France has called on the international community to impose a solution on Israel and Hamas, saying the warring sides have shown themselves unable to negotiate.

    French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said Israel`s right to security "does not justify the killing of children and the massacre of civilians."

  • The number of those dead in four-weeks of violence has crossed 1800, the Health Ministry in Gaza said.
  • According to Palestinian medics, an eight-year old girl was killed and thirty others injured when a missile from an F16 warplane struck a refugee camp in Gaza City on Monday just after six minutes into an Israeli-declared truce, the AFP reported. 

    The strike on Shati refugee camp came killed an eight-year-old girl, emergency services spokesman Ashraf al-Qudra told AFP. 

  • France and Israel share an old bond of friendship and Israel`s right to security is total, but this right does not justify the killing of children and the slaughter of civilians, said French FM Laurent Fabius.
  • French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius has said that a political solution must be imposed on Israel and Palestinians.
  • The brutality of Gaza violence can leave one unimaginably pained. According to a tweet posted by al-Jazeera journalist named Femi Oke, the bodies of children killed in Israeli shellings are ending up in ice cream freezers as Gaza`s morgues are chock-a-bloc with victims` bodies. The death toll has hit a whopping figure of over 1750 in a time span of less than four-weeks.
  • According to an eyewitness`s account of Sunday`s attack on a UNRWA school in Rafah, the missile that hit near Boys Prep School, landed close to where children were queuing to buy sweets and biscuits, the Telegraph reported.
  • In what highlights the brutal impact of a conflict on a nation`s children, more than three lakh children are said to be in the need of "psycho-social support" in Gaza in the aftermath of the four-week violence, says the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).
  • Also See: Gaza in Grief: A Season of Death

  • Addressing a thick gathering of jubilant supporters in an election rally, the Turkish PM said, "Just like Hitler, who sought to establish a race free of all faults, Israel is chasing after the same target".

    "They kill women so that they will not give birth to Palestinians; they kill babies so that they won`t grow up; they kill men so they can`t defend their country ... They will drown in the blood they shed," he said.

  • Also Read: Turkey`s Erdogan lashes out at Israel at election rally

  • In a scathing remark over Gaza violence, Turkish PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan compared Israel to Hitler, and warned it would "drown in the blood it sheds".
  • In a strong condemnation of Gaza school attack in Rafah, the UNWRA reiterated calls for ceasefire, saying that the incident "is a further tragic and unacceptable reminder that there is nowhere safe in Gaza for people to take refuge".

    "No one feels secure and given that Gaza is enclosed by a barrier, there is also nowhere safe for them to run," the UNRWA statement added.

  • According to the UN estimates, out of more than 1700 killed in Gaza, some 1176 are civilians including 377 children and 196 women.
  • “We are now looking at a health and humanitarian disaster... The fighting must stop immediately,” warned James W Rawley, the UN Humanitarian Coordinator in the occupied Palestinian territory.
  • The UN officials have warned of a "rapidly unfolding health disaster of widespread proportions" in Gaza strip where the medical services and facilities are on the "verge of collapse" after almost four-weeks of conflict.

    Israel declared a 7-hour humanitarian truce in Gaza after an attack on UN-run school in Rafah town killed 10, inviting United Nations` outrage as UN chief Ban Ki-moon lambasted the attack saying this “madness must stop”.

    The UN has sounded alarm over the Israeli attack on another UNRWA school in Gaza`s Rafah town that was sheltering some 3000 displaced Palestinians, saying that it was `yet another violation of international humanitarian law`.

    UN chief Ban Ki-moon called the attack outside the UNRWA shelter in Rafah a "moral outrage & criminal act”, adding that the Israel Defence Forces were repeatedly informed of the location of these sites.

    The UN chief called for a swift investigation into such attacks on UN shelters adding that those responsible must be held accountable.

    The sharp reaction from the UN came as an earlier Israeli shelling on a UN school in Jabaliya had killed 20 people.

    However, the Israeli military holds the Hamas responsible for such attacks, saying that they fire first from the vicinity of schools.

    Speaking of Sunday`s attack, an Israeli Government spokesman Mark Regev said that Gaza militants were responsible for turning the vicinities of schools into war zones, adding that the attack near the school in Rafah came as the IDF were trying to target three militants from the Islamic Jihad group who were on a motorbike near the school, reported the BBC.

    Israeli Army has been repeating that “Hamas knows that terror sites may be IDF targets. Nevertheless it continues to embed these sites in civilian areas”.

    Meanwhile, Israel has announced a ceasefire for all of the Gaza Strip except eastern Rafah from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM, adding that the IDF will “continue to neutralize Hamas` tunnel network and will respond to any attempt to harm Israeli civilians or IDF soldiers”.

    Israel`s Operation Protective Edge that has killed more than 1750 Palestinians so far, entered its Day 28 today.
    66 Israelis too have been killed in the conflict that intensified after Israel launched ground offensive in Gaza on 17 July.

    The latest bout of conflict between the two sides is thought to have been triggered by the abduction and kidnapping of three Israeli teens, after which a Palestinian teenager was killed in revenge. 

    The death of the Palestinian sparked a lot of protests and an increased salvo of firing from Hamas, triggering the Israeli operation.