Israel, Hamas agree to UN request for humanitarian ceasefire

Defense ministry sources say Israel accepted UN Mideast envoy's request to temporarily halt airstrikes, shelling of Gaza; Turkish report says Hamas agrees to proposal.

After an incident in which four children were killed on a beach in Gaza, the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Robert Serry, asked Israel for a humanitarian ceasefire.



Defense ministry sources said Israel accepted the request, which has been also made during previous operations. A Turkish news agency later reported that Hamas also agreed to the proposal. Israel will most likely cease fire for five hours on Thursday between 10 am and 3 pm.


Later Wednesday night, President Barack Obama said the United States will use all of its diplomatic resources and relationships to secure a deal on a cease-fire to end violence between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip.


Obama says the US supports Egypt's continued efforts to restore the 2012 cease-fire. He says the US is working with its partners in the region to secure a cease-fire and will stay in close contact over the next 24 hours.


Obama says Israel has a right to defend itself against rocket attacks. But in remarks Wednesday at the White House, he's also lamenting the deaths of civilians in Gaza. He's stressing the need to protect civilians in Gaza and in Israel and to avoid further escalation.


In the nine days of Operation Protective Edge, according to reports from the Strip, 220 Palestinians were killed and 1,570 have been injured. According to Palestinian organizations, 23 people were killed on Wednesday in the Gaza Strip.


Defense ministry officials said that the ceasefire as not only for humanitarian needs, but also for the residents of the Gaza Strip to see the massive destruction wrought by the IDF strikes.


The four boys, who were cousins and ages 9 to 11, were killed while playing on a beach off a coastal road west of Gaza City, said Ashraf Al Kedra, a Palestinian doctor. Seven others – adults and children – were wounded in the strike, which Palestinian human rights activist Khaki Au Shamalla came from an Israeli naval vessel operating offshore.


The boys' uncle, Abdel Kareem Baker, 41, raged at Israel after the attack.


"It's a cold blooded massacre," he said. "It's a shame who come they didn't identify them as kids with all of the advanced technology they claim they're using."


The IDF released a brief statement after announcing it would look into the incident. "We attacked terror targets, if civilians were wounded it's a tragic incident."


Attila Somfalvi and The Associated Press contributed to this report.


פרסום ראשון: 07.16.14, 21:58
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