The ceasefire – brokered by the US and the UN to end fighting between Israel and Palestinine – collapsed just two hours after it began
Gaza/Jerusalem : Massive Israeli shelling killed at least 50 people in the Hamas-ruled Gaza following the collapse of a 72-hour ceasefire shortly after it began on Friday, while two of its soldiers were killed and another was believed to have been abducted by Palestinian militant groups.
The humanitarian ceasefire – brokered by the US and the UN to end more than three weeks of fighting between Israel and Palestinian militant groups in the Gaza Strip – collapsed just two hours after it began this morning. At least 50 people were killed and more than 200 injured in massive Israeli artillery shelling in the southern Rafah on Friday, taking the Palestinian death toll to 1,509, Palestinian health ministry said. “Initial indications suggest that a soldier has been abducted by terrorists in an incident where terrorists breached the ceasefire,”
Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) spokesman Lt Col Peter Lerner told reporters. Hamas, neither confirmed nor denied the abduction of the Israeli soldier. But it said Israel’s announcement of the abduction was simply an excuse to “justify Israel’s retreat from the truce.” Israel and Hamas have blamed each other for the collapse of the fragile ceasefire. It was not immediately clear as to which side broke the truce amid claims and counter-claims. This morning, two Code Red sirens were heard in Eshkol Regional Council. Two rockets landed in an open area. The announcement was made in a statement released in New Delhi during US Secretary of State John Kerry’s visit.
US blames Hamas
The US blamed Hamas for the breakdown of a 72-hour humanitarian truce, saying the “barbaric” attack by the Palestinian militant group that left two Israeli soldiers dead in the Gaza Strip was an “outrageous violation” of the ceasefire. “The United States condemns in the strongest possible terms today’s attack, which led to the killing of two Israeli soldiers and the apparent abduction of another. It was an outrageous violation of the ceasefire negotiated over the past several days, and of the assurances given to the United States and the United Nations,” US Secretary of State John Kerry said.