GAZA/JERUSALEM, July 23 (Reuters) – The Palestinian
decision-making body led by U.S.-backed President Mahmoud Abbas
on Wednesday endorsed demands by Hamas for halting Gaza
hostilities with Israel, a closing of ranks that may help
Egyptian-mediated truce efforts.
With Israeli and U.S. encouragement, Egypt has tried to get
both sides to hold fire and then negotiate terms for protracted
calm in the Palestinian enclave where officials said 624 people,
mostly civilians, have been killed in 15 days of fighting.
JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Shunning calls from political allies to “go all the way” against Gaza, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wants to avoid a protracted war that few see as winnable.
But deaths among Palestinian civilians and a mounting toll on Israel’s ground troops could upend his strategy of a limited offensive aimed at ending Hamas rocket fire from the enclave, Israeli experts and foreign diplomats say.
JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israel responded skeptically to the extension of Iranian nuclear talks with world powers on Saturday, saying it saw no cause for the optimism voiced by some Western diplomats about prospects for an accord.
After failing to meet a July 20 deadline for a deal, international negotiators agreed to allow four more months for their high-stakes talks and let Iran access $2.8 billion of its cash frozen abroad during that period, though most sanctions against it stayed in place.
GAZA/JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israeli soldiers in tanks and bulldozers dug in across a mile-wide strip of eastern Gaza on Saturday as Palestinian officials said military strikes had pushed the mostly civilian death toll past 300.
The military said its engineers were concentrating on an effective buffer-zone 2.5 km (1.5 mile) wide and were looking to destroy tunnels dug in secret by Hamas after the last major fighting there in 2012.
ISTANBUL/JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israel said on Friday it was reducing its diplomatic presence in Turkey after protesters angered by its ground offensive into Gaza pelted its consulate in Istanbul with stones and draped Palestinian flags on the ambassador’s residence in Ankara.
The Israeli foreign ministry accused the Turkish authorities of “grossly violating” diplomatic regulations during the demonstrations and said it was ordering the return of diplomats’ families and trimming staffing to a minimum.
GAZA/JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israeli shelling killed four boys on a Gaza beach on Wednesday, a local health official said, and Palestinian militants fired a further 70 rockets into Israel after a failed Egyptian attempt to halt more than a week of warfare.
Israel urged the evacuation of several districts in the Gaza Strip where more than 100,000 people live, threatening ground operations to try to stem the rocket attacks.
GAZA/JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israel urged the evacuation on Wednesday of several Gaza Strip areas where more than 100,000 people live, threatening ground operations after briefly holding fire under an Egyptian truce proposal that failed to stop Palestinian rocket salvoes.
Authorised by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s security cabinet to escalate an eight-day-old offensive, the military said it had sent out evacuation warnings in northeastern Gaza.
JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israel has found funding for three new Iron Dome rocket interception batteries, an Israeli official said on Tuesday, a week into its conflict with Palestinian militants in Gaza.
Israel had seven Iron Domes set up to shoot down missiles when cross-border fighting with Hamas-led militants surged on July 8, and has since brought two more into service, Israel’s Defense Ministry said.
JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Three Israeli teenagers who were abducted by Palestinians in the occupied West Bank last month were shot at least 10 times with a silenced gun in what appeared to be premeditated killings, a U.S. official involved in the investigation said.
The disclosure clashed with speculation by some Israeli and Palestinian commentators that the captors intended to take hostages for a prisoner exchange but panicked and shot them.
GAZA/JERUSALEM (Reuters) – At least 20 people were killed across Gaza on Tuesday, Palestinian officials said, by a bombardment Israel said may be just the start of a lengthy offensive against Islamist militants whose rockets reached hit unprecedented depths of its interior.
Israelis ran for cover as air-raid sirens sounded in the business capital Tel Aviv and the holy city of Jerusalem, both of which were hit in the previous Gaza war of November 2012.