JERUSALEM/GAZA (Reuters) – Israel on Sunday declared dead a soldier feared abducted by Hamas Islamist militants in the Gaza Strip and said it would continue to fight even after the army completes destroying cross-border tunnels used by Palestinian fighters to attack its territory.
As Israeli television showed live footage of some tanks withdrawing from Gaza in an apparent winding down of the 26-day campaign, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Hamas would pay an “intolerable price” if it continued to attack Israel.
GAZA/JERUSALEM (Reuters) – The armed wing of the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas said on Saturday it had no clear indication on the whereabouts of an Israeli soldier that Israel has accused it of abducting in the Gaza Strip, adding he may have been killed during an ambush.
Israel said Second Lieutenant Hadar Goldin, 23, who went missing on Friday, had been abducted by Hamas gunmen. It declared a planned 72-hour Gaza ceasefire over, saying Hamas militants breached the truce soon after it took effect.
GAZA/JERUSALEM (Reuters) – A three-day ceasefire between Israel and Palestinian militant groups in the Gaza Strip went into effect on Friday, and negotiators were due to travel to Cairo to discuss a longer-term solution.
The 72-hour break, the most ambitious attempt so far to end more than three weeks of fighting, began at 1 a.m. EDT (0500 GMT). The truce was announced in a joint statement released by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.
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. Israel also sent a delegation to Egypt, which has been trying, with Washington’s blessing, to broker a ceasefire.
GAZA/JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israeli fire killed at least 21 Palestinians in the Gaza Strip early on Wednesday as the Jewish state said it targeted Islamist militants at dozens of sites across the coastal enclave, while Egyptian mediators prepared a revised ceasefire proposal.
Israel’s Channel Two TV said progress was being made to achieve a deal in Cairo, where a Palestinian delegation was expected to arrive for discussions.
GAZA/JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israel’s military pounded targets in the Gaza Strip on Tuesday after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said his country needed to be prepared for a long conflict in the Palestinian enclave, squashing any hopes of a swift end to 22 days of fighting.
In the latest development, Israeli aircraft fired a missile at the house of Hamas Gaza leader Ismail Haniyeh before dawn on Tuesday causing damage but no casualties, Gaza’s interior ministry said.
GAZA/JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Fighting subsided in Gaza on Sunday after Hamas Islamist militants said they backed a 24-hour humanitarian truce and U.S. President Barack Obama called for a ceasefire but there was no sign of any comprehensive deal to end fighting with Israel.
Hamas said it had endorsed a call by the United Nations for a pause in the fighting in light of the upcoming Muslim holiday of Eid al-Fitr, which begins on Monday.
GAZA/JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israel extended a humanitarian ceasefire in the Gaza Strip for another 24 hours, but Hamas, which dominates the coastal enclave, said it would only accept the truce if Israeli troops left the territory.
Israeli ministers had signaled that a comprehensive deal to end the 20-day conflict with Hamas and its allies, in which at least 1,050 Gazans – mostly civilians – have been killed, and 42 soldiers and three civilians in Israel have died, was remote.
GAZA/JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Militants resumed firings rockets into Israel from Gaza on Saturday, rejecting an extension to a ceasefire in a conflict in which more than 1,000 Palestinians, mostly civilians, have died.
Israel had agreed to extend an initial 12-hour pause in the fighting by a further four hours but this was rejected by Islamist group Hamas, which dominates Gaza.
GAZA/JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Gazan authorities said Israeli forces shelled a shelter at a U.N.-run school, killing at least 15 people, as the Palestinian death toll in the conflict reached 796 and attempts at a truce remained elusive.
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon expressed horror at the Thursday attack on the school at Beit Hanoun in the northern Gaza strip. “Many have been killed – including women and children, as well as U.N. staff,” he said in a statement. “Circumstances are still unclear. I strongly condemn this act.”