No let-up in Gaza war

Published August 26, 2014
Smoke and dust rise after an Israeli strike on a three-story building in Gaza. — Photo by AP
Smoke and dust rise after an Israeli strike on a three-story building in Gaza. — Photo by AP

GAZA: Israeli air strikes killed at least eight Palestinians in the Gaza Strip and militants kept up their cross-border rocket fire on Monday as Israel moved to cushion its economy against the effects of a war now in its seventh week.

Egypt pressed on with efforts to broker a durable truce, and the Bank of Israel, fearing the conflict would slow economic growth, cut its benchmark interest rate to 0.25 per cent, its lowest level ever.

Also read: Israel attack kills family of 5 in Gaza: medics

Gazans said they received new recorded messages on mobile phones and landlines saying Israel would attack any house used to launch “terror attacks” and telling civilians to leave areas used by militants.

Israeli aircraft attacked four homes in Beit Lahiya, near the Israeli border, killing two women and a girl, witnesses and health officials said.

Locals told Reuters a member of the Hamas that dominates Gaza lived in one of the dwellings. Five other Palestinians were killed in Israeli strikes, including three men in an attack on a car, officials said.

More than 80 rockets were launched at southern Israel, causing no casualties, the Israeli army said.

Palestinian health officials say 2,122 people, most of them civilians, including more than 400 children, have been killed in Gaza since July 8, when Israel launched an offensive with the declared aim of ending rocket fire into its territory.

Sixty-four Israeli soldiers and four civilians in Israel have been killed.

Gazans said they had received messages on their phones for several days, with a new recording on Monday ending with the words: “To Hamas leaders and to the residents of Gaza: The battle is open and you have been warned.”

Qais Abu Leila, a senior Palestinian official involved in Egyptian-mediated talks to reach a truce, said Cairo had proposed an indefinite ceasefire.

The latest initiative calls for the immediate opening of Gaza’s crossings with Israel and Egypt to aid reconstruction efforts in the battered coastal strip, to be followed by talks on a longer-term easing of the blockade.

“Egyptian efforts are continuing. The ball is in the Israeli court, and they have not responded to this proposal 36 hours after it was referred to them,” Mr Abu Leila said.

Published in Dawn, August 26th, 2014

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