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No lasting truce

· New ceasefire in Gaza breached within hours ·

U.N. Speaks of war crimes by both sides

The ceasefire proposed by the United Nations and the United States and agreed to on Thursday, 31 July, by Israel and Hamas lasted only briefly in the Gaza Strip. Begun at 8.00 Friday morning, the truce was broken two hours later when eight Palestinians were killed by an Israeli artillery strike. Fighting the night before was concentrated in Khan Younis, claiming 14 victims including one woman and at least two children. Five Israeli soldiers were killed at the border.

In a joint statement, Washington and the U.N. announced having received assurances from both sides that raids and rocket launches would be stopped, if only temporarily. “We urge all parties to act with restraint until this humanitarian ceasefire begins, and to fully abide by their commitments during the ceasefire”, the joint statement read.

Previously Israeli raids and bombings of suspected Hamas positions had expanded, with many deaths, mostly among the civilian population. Seventeen Palestinians, ten from the same family, were killed in one attack before the start of the ceasefire. As of Friday morning at least 1,1456 Palestinians had lost their lives since the Israeli offensive began, among them 324 children. Israeli losses were at approximately 60, and Israeli media were reporting the possible kidnapping of an Israeli soldier. The army limited its comments to a “disappearance” during battle.

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