the republic logo

Gaza officials say 4 Palestinians killed by Israeli tank fire after truce went into force

Share/Save/Bookmark

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — A three-day Gaza cease-fire went into force on Friday as diplomats worked to broker a lasting truce in the 25-day-old Israel-Hamas war, but Gaza officials said the lull was broken after nearly two hours when Israeli tank fire killed at least four Palestinians.

The cease-fire, announced by the U.S. and the U.N. hours earlier, took effect at 8:00 a.m. (0500 GMT) Friday after heavy fighting that killed 17 Palestinians and five Israeli soldiers. Israel and Hamas agreed to halt all aggressive operations and conduct only defensive missions. But U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry cautioned there were "no guarantees" that the lull would bring an end to the war, now in its fourth week.

Shortly before 10:00 a.m. Israeli tanks shelled the eastern part of the town of Rafah in southern Gaza, killing at least four people and wounding 15, said Health Ministry official Ashraf al-Kidra and Gaza police spokesman Ayman Batniji.

An Israeli Army spokesman said a heavy exchange of fire had erupted in the Rafah area, without providing further details.

The Gaza war has killed more than 1,450 Palestinians, mainly civilians, and more than 60 Israelis, nearly all soldiers.

PHOTO: EDS NOTE: SPANISH LAW REQUIRES THAT THE FACES OF MINORS ARE MASKED IN PUBLICATIONS WITHIN SPAIN. A demonstrator shouts slogans as she attends a rally protesting against the Israeli bombings in the Gaza strip during a protest in Madrid, Thursday, July 31, 2014. The U.N. humanitarian chief called Thursday for daily "humanitarian pauses" until a long-term cease-fire is reached between Israel and Hamas in order to deliver relief to hundreds of thousands in need in Gaza, rescue the injured and give civilians a reprieve from the war. (AP Photo/Daniel Ochoa de Olza)
EDS NOTE: SPANISH LAW REQUIRES THAT THE FACES OF MINORS ARE MASKED IN PUBLICATIONS WITHIN SPAIN. A demonstrator shouts slogans as she attends a rally protesting against the Israeli bombings in the Gaza strip during a protest in Madrid, Thursday, July 31, 2014. The U.N. humanitarian chief called Thursday for daily "humanitarian pauses" until a long-term cease-fire is reached between Israel and Hamas in order to deliver relief to hundreds of thousands in need in Gaza, rescue the injured and give civilians a reprieve from the war. (AP Photo/Daniel Ochoa de Olza)

Israel launched an aerial campaign against Gaza aimed at halting Palestinian rocket fire on July 8 and later sent in ground troops to target launch sites and tunnels used by Hamas to carry out attacks inside Israel.

At least four short humanitarian cease-fires have been announced since the conflict began, but each has been broken within a few hours by renewed fighting. Friday's temporary cease-fire was the longest to be announced thus far.

Under the cease-fire, Israeli troops on the ground in Gaza can continue to destroy tunnels along the heavily guarded frontier, but only those that are behind Israeli defensive lines and lead into Israel.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday had vowed to destroy Hamas' tunnel network "with or without a cease-fire." But military spokesman Moti Almoz told Army Radio on Friday that Israel would not be able to eliminate the tunnel threat "100 percent."

The cease-fire was intended to allow Palestinians in Gaza to receive food, medicine and humanitarian assistance, bury their dead, treat the wounded and travel to their homes. The lull can also be used to make repairs to water and power infrastructure.


Estrin reported from Jerusalem.

Think your friends should see this? Share it with them!

All comments are moderated before posting. Your email address must be verified with Disqus in order for your comment to appear.
View our commenting guidelines and FAQ's here.

Story copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Feedback, Corrections and Other Requests: AP welcomes feedback and comments from readers. Send an email to info@ap.org and it will be forwarded to the appropriate editor or reporter.


Video:
PHOTO: Israel and Hamas have agreed to a humanitarian cease-fire in Gaza to start Friday morning for 72 hours, although Secretary of State John Kerry cautioned that the lull in violence did not guarantee an end to the conflict. (July 31)
Israel and Hamas have agreed to a humanitarian cease-fire in Gaza to start Friday morning for 72 hours, although Secretary of State John Kerry cautioned that the lull in violence did not guarantee an end to the conflict. (July 31)
Photo Gallery:
PHOTO: EDS NOTE: SPANISH LAW REQUIRES THAT THE FACES OF MINORS ARE MASKED IN PUBLICATIONS WITHIN SPAIN. A demonstrator shouts slogans as she attends a rally protesting against the Israeli bombings in the Gaza strip during a protest in Madrid, Thursday, July 31, 2014. The U.N. humanitarian chief called Thursday for daily "humanitarian pauses" until a long-term cease-fire is reached between Israel and Hamas in order to deliver relief to hundreds of thousands in need in Gaza, rescue the injured and give civilians a reprieve from the war. (AP Photo/Daniel Ochoa de Olza)
Click to view (6 Photos)

All content copyright ©2014 The Republic, a division of Home News Enterprises unless otherwise noted.
All rights reserved. Privacy policy.