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Netanyahu: Hamas won none of its demands in Gaza truce

Aug. 27, 2014 10:54 P.M. (Updated: Aug. 28, 2014 10:22 P.M.)
JERUSALEM (AFP) -- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Wednesday that Hamas had achieved none of its demands in a truce ending 50 days of deadly conflict in Gaza.

"Hamas was hit hard and got none of its demands," Netanyahu said at a news conference in Jerusalem, his first comments since the ceasefire went into effect on Tuesday evening.

"Hamas wanted a port and airport in Gaza, the liberation of Palestinian prisoners, the mediation of Qatar and Turkey and the payment of salaries for its employees.

"But it got nothing."

The seven-week conflict claimed the lives of at least 2,140 Palestinians, more than 70 percent of them civilians according to the United Nations, and 64 soldiers and six civilians on the Israeli side.

"Hamas has not suffered such a defeat since its creation. We destroyed attack tunnels, killed nearly 1,000 enemy combatants, including senior officials in the movement, destroyed thousands of rockets and hundreds of command posts," Netanyahu said.

Both sides' guns fell silent on Tuesday, with Israel agreeing to ease restrictions on the movement of people and goods into and out of Gaza, and allow fishing boats up to six nautical miles offshore.

The sides have yet to agree on other issues, such as the freeing of Palestinian prisoners held by Israel in exchange for militants handing over the remains of Israeli soldiers killed in the fighting.

Negotiations are also yet to take place on Hamas' key demand for a Gaza seaport and airport.

"We have agreed to help reconstruct the territory for humanitarian reasons, but only under our control," Netanyahu said.

"It's still too early to know if the calm has returned in the long term," he warned.

"We won't tolerate any firing on Israel, and our response will be even stronger."

Ma'an staff contributed to this report.
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