GAZA/JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Hamas claimed responsibility on Saturday for a deadly Gaza Strip ambush in which an Israeli army officer may have been captured, but said the incident likely preceded and therefore had not violated a U.S.- and U.N.-sponsored truce.
The statement by Hamas’s armed wing, the Qassam Brigades, appeared aimed at preempting any intensification of Israel’s 25-day-old Gaza offensive as well as deflecting international blame for the collapse of Friday’s ceasefire.
GAZA/JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israel pressed ahead with its Gaza offensive saying it was days from achieving its core goal of destroying all Islamist guerrilla cross-border attack tunnels, but a soaring Palestinian civilian toll has triggered international alarm.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s security cabinet on Wednesday approved continuing the assault launched on July 8 in response to a surge of rocket attacks by Gaza’s dominant Hamas Islamists. But Israel also sent a delegation to Egypt, which has been trying, with Washington’s blessing, to broker a ceasefire.
GAZA STRIP (Reuters) – Israeli Colonel Tomer was literally tipped off to the tunnel snaking under a Palestinian village when the tank-churned earth gave way under the weight of one of his behemoth bulldozers.
Twenty-four hours later, on Wednesday, his forces cleared a greenhouse that had provided cover and dug a 3 meter-deep (10 foot) crater exposing the concrete-reinforced passage wide enough for a man in battle gear to squeeze through.
GAZA/JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israel knocked out Gaza’s only power plant and pounded dozens of other high-profile targets on Tuesday, while Egyptian mediators prepared a revised proposal for halting its war with Islamist guerrillas in the enclave. Israel’s Channel Two TV said progress was being made on such a deal in Cairo, where a Palestinian delegation is expected later on Tuesday, although the station retracted an earlier report that a truce had already been provisionally agreed.
Health officials said at least 85 Palestinians died in some of heaviest bombardments from air, sea and land since Israel’s offensive began on July 8 in response to rocket salvoes fired by Gaza’s dominant Hamas Islamists and their guerrilla allies.
GAZA/JERUSALEM (Reuters) – A fragile truce in Gaza for the Muslim Eid al-Fitr festival was fraying on Monday as Israel’s prime minister said United Nations calls for a long-term ceasefire ignored his country’s security needs.
Israeli forces said they were firing only when fired upon while army engineers hunted infiltrator tunnels from the Gaza Strip’s eastern frontier. They accused Palestinians of firing 17 rockets across the border, causing no casualties.
GAZA/JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israel sees no need for another Gaza ceasefire, an Israeli official was quoted as saying on Monday, as tensions between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government and Washington flared over U.S. mediation to end the almost three-week-old war.
Fighting had subsided over the weekend, with the battered Palestinian enclave’s dominant Hamas Islamists endorsing a U.N. call for a 24-hour halt ahead of Monday’s Eid al-Fitr festival.
GAZA/JERUSALEM (Reuters) – U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry pressed regional proxies to nail down a Gaza ceasefire on Friday as the civilian death toll soared, threatening to spread Israeli-Palestinian bloodshed to the occupied West Bank and Jerusalem.
With Israel and Islamist Hamas setting seemingly irreconcilable terms for a truce that mediators hope will begin by a major Muslim festival next week, Kerry worked the phones from Egypt while aides made clear his patience was limited.
GAZA/JERUSALEM, July 24 (Reuters) – Israel won a partial
reprieve from the economic pain of its Gaza war on Thursday with
the lifting of a U.S. ban on commercial flights to Tel Aviv,
while continued fighting pushed the Palestinian death toll over
A truce remained elusive despise intensive mediation
efforts. Israel says it needs more time to eradicate rocket
stocks and cross-border tunnels in the Gaza Strip and Hamas
Islamists demand the blockade on the enclave be lifted.
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.