Egypt calls for returning to cease-fire between Hamas, Israel
Israeli troops shot dead a Palestinian during a clash - AP
By SAMAR SAMIR

CAIRO: Egypt called Friday for resuming a 72-hour cease-fire between Hamas and Israel, expressing deep regret that parties have not abided by the extension and restarted military action in the Gaza Strip, which could endanger Palestinian people’s lives, said the Egyptian Foreign Ministry in a statement.

According to the Israeli Army spokesperson’s Twitter account, Palestinians in the Gaza Strip fired rockets into Israel on Friday.The spokesperson tweeted also “In response to the renewal of rocket fire by Gaza terrorists at Israel, we are striking terror sites in Gaza.”

Since reaching a cease-fire that came into force on Tuesday morning, Egypt exerted more efforts over the past few days to reach a consensus between the different views and to meet the needs of Palestinian people and protect them from the risk of the resumption of military actions, the statement added.

The negotiations reached an agreement on mostof the points of mutual concern and only very specific points are still under negotiation, the statement read, noting that these specific points could lead to an expansion of the cease-fire.

“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs called for restraint and to refrain frommilitary escalation and not to target civilians, and confirms its keenness to provide protection for the unarmed Palestinian people and stop the bloodshed of innocent people,”the statement said.

An anonymous Israeli official told the Jerusalem Post Thursday that Israel agreed to extend the unconditioned cease-fire. However, in the same day, Hamas announced in video footage aired on al-Jazeera that it would renew fighting with Israel if talks in Cairo to extend a 72-truce in Gaza did not meet their demands.

Five Palestinians were killed and 31 were injured Friday after both Israel and Hamas resumed conflict following the failure of expansion of a 72-hour cease-fire, brokered by Egypt, according to the Palestinian Health Minister Ashraf al-Qidra.

The death toll of Palestinians since the beginning of the Israeli offensive hit 1,898 while 9,837 were injured, Qidra added in a statement posted on his official Facebok page.

According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)’s data published Thursday, 1,843 Palestinians were killed in the conflict, including at least 1,354 civilians of whom 415 are children and 214 are women. 67 Israelis killed including two civilians and one foreign national.

373,000 children require psychosocial support and 187,000 Palestinians are still displaced in UNRWA shelters, the data revealed.

Israeli raids on Gaza began July 1; a day after Israel found the bodies of three kidnapped settlers in the West Bank. The body of Palestinian Mohamed Abo Khodeir, 16, was found mutilated and burned, in what is widely seen as a revenge killing for the death of the Israelis.

Hamas started launching rockets into Israel in its latest campaign on July 4, Jerusalem Post reported.

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