Gaza ceasefire unravels within hours as Israel and Hamas trade accusations

Gaza ceasefire unravels within hours as Israel and Hamas trade accusations

Gaza ceasefire unravels within hours as Israel and Hamas trade accusations

Written by Bella Dalima

01 Aug, 2014 | 4:40 pm

A three-day Gaza ceasefire that began on Friday quickly unraveled, with Israel and Hamas accusing each other of violating the truce as four Palestinians were killed in a heavy exchange of fire in the southern town of Rafah.

The ceasefire, announced by the US and the UN hours earlier, took effect at 8.00am (0500 GMT) Friday after heavy fighting that killed 17 Palestinians and five Israeli soldiers.

Israel and Hamas agreed to halt all aggressive operations and conduct only defensive missions.

But US secretary of state John Kerry cautioned there were “no guarantees” that the lull would bring an end to the war, now in its fourth week.

Nearly two hours after the ceasefire went into effect, Israeli tanks shelled the eastern part of Rafah, which lies close to Gaza’s borders with Israel and Egypt, killing at least four people and wounding 15, said health ministry official Ashraf al-Kidra and Gaza police spokesman Ayman Batniji. An Israeli Army spokesman said a heavy exchange of fire had erupted in the Rafah area, without providing further details.

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