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Child pulled from Gaza rubble as Cairo negotiations continue

Aug. 9, 2014 5:34 P.M. (Updated: Aug. 10, 2014 7:19 P.M.)
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Medics recovered the body of a Palestinian child in the Shujaiyya neighborhood of Gaza on Saturday, a health official said.

The body brought the death toll of the Israel's 33-day offensive on the Strip to 1,904, with 9,837 injured, health ministry spokesman Ashraf al-Qidra said in a statement.

Israeli warplanes continued targeting various sites across Gaza Saturday, leaving five Palestinians dead on the second day after the end of a 72-hour ceasefire with long-term ceasefire negotiations in Cairo still at a standstill.

In the most recent Israeli attack, five Palestinians were injured in a shelling on northern Gaza City.

The Israeli army said Palestinian militants fired 14 rockets into Israel, bringing to 52 the number of projectiles launched at Israel since Friday.

The United Nations says at least 1,354 of the Palestinian dead are civilians, including 447 children.

Meanwhile, negotiations in Egypt continued, with the Hamas movement vowing that it would not let go of any of its demands from Israel for a permanent ceasefire deal.

"The occupier's intransigence will get it nowhere and we will make no concessions on the demands of our people," spokesman Fawzy Barhum said in a statement.

A spokesman for the military wing of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine concurred.

"He who imposes their conditions are the winners," said Abu Jamal. "The resistance has the right to impose its terms and oblige the enemy to accept them."

Hamas and Palestine Liberation Organization officials have insisted that Israel end its eight-year siege on the Gaza Strip, release dozens of prisoners whom Israel has re-arrested that were released in 2011 as part of the Shalit exchange, re-open a seaport and airport in Gaza, and create a safe passage between the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

A Palestinian official said on condition of anonymity Egypt and the Palestinians had reached a draft agreement for submission to Israel on Saturday.

It would see Egypt and the Palestinian Authority take control of the Rafah border crossing into Egypt, in which Hamas would essentially activate a unity deal signed with the PA in April.

Negotiations on the sea port, demanded by Hamas, would then be delayed and entrusted to the PA, with whom Israel is prepared to deal.

'Intolerable' conditions in Gaza

Meanwhile, Palestinian member of parliament Mustafa Barghouti was visiting Gaza, and spoke to Ma'an about the "intolerable" conditions there.

"As the battle continues, hospitals across the Strip are suffering from from serious shortages in medicines and medical equipment which can't be brought easily into Gaza given the Israeli restrictions and the closure of Gaza crossings," Barghouti said.

"There aren't enough hospital beds and morgues in the Gaza Strip to cope with the large numbers of deaths and injuries," he said.

The offensive has severely damaged Gaza's infrastructure, Barghouti added.

"The people of Gaza Strip are facing serious health threats ... after water and sewage networks across the coastal enclave were destroyed. Sewage is now running in the streets and reaching the sea."

Chris Gunness, spokesman for the UN agency for Palestinian refugees UNRWA, called for the Gaza blockade to end so enable reconstruction could begin.

"Huge swathes of Gaza have been leveled. We cannot rebuild it with our hands tied behind our backs," he said. "The blockade must end. ... All those directly and indirectly responsible for the carnage and destruction must engage," he added.

At least 65,000 people have had their homes destroyed, and UNRWA said 222,000 people are still sheltering in 89 UN schools.

US-based Human Rights Watch said the knocking out of Gaza's only electrical power plant, by apparent Israeli shellfire, has worsened the humanitarian crisis.

AFP contributed to this report.
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