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Truce fails to end cross border violence
Published Sunday 30/10/2011 (updated) 31/10/2011 09:53
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People stand next to the bodies of militants, killed in an Israeli air strike,
at a hospital morgue in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip October 29, 2011.
(REUTERS/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- A truce secured through Egyptian mediation early on Sunday failed to end cross border violence between Israel and the Gaza Strip.

The truce aimed to put an end to the violence which had killed nine Palestinian gunmen and an Israeli civilian on Saturday.

Sources close to Gaza's ruling Hamas movement and to Islamic Jihad, which was at the forefront of fierce cross-border fighting on Saturday said that Egyptian intelligence officials helped broker a ceasefire due to take hold at 6 a.m.

Three rockets were fired at Israel after the 6 a.m. deadline for the truce, an Israeli official said. Two were intercepted by Israel's Iron Dome missile shield and another slammed into southern Israel causing no casualties or damage.

Israel's air force bombed an Islamic Jihad base in southern Gaza on Saturday afternoon, killing five senior operatives and drawing Palestinian rocket salvoes that killed an Israeli civilian.

Four more fighters from the al-Quds Brigades were killed in separate strikes.

Medical spokesman Adham Abu Salmiya identified two of them as Sami Abu Sabt, 21, and Suleiman Abu Fatima, 25, both members of Islamic Jihad's armed wing.

The Palestinian civil defense managed to recover the bodies of two other Palestinians killed in Israeli airstrikes late Saturday. They were later identified as Suheil Jundieh and Murdi Hajjaj.

One of some 30 rockets and mortar bombs fired at Israel killed a man in the city of Ashkelon. Two other people were wounded.

Israel kept schools shut in its southern region on Sunday as a precaution against further rocket fire, while hundreds of thousands of civilians within 40 km of Gaza were urged to stay indoors.

Richard Miron, the spokesman for UN special envoy for the peace process Robert Serry, said the recent escalations "are very worrying."

Miron said Saturday in a statement received by Ma'an that "it is vital to de-escalate now, without delay. We strongly appeal for calm and an end to the violence and bloodshed."

Islamic Jihad said a commander, Ahmed al-Sheikh Khalil, and four comrades who had overseen production of bombs and rockets were killed in Saturday's Israeli strike on the base. Two other fighters were wounded.

Islamic Jihad vowed revenge, a call echoed by smaller groups in the coastal territory.

"There is no chance of speaking about a truce now, following such a big crime against leaders of the group," Islamic Jihad spokesman Abu Ahmed said on Saturday.

Islamic Jihad and two more secular factions, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and Fatah-aligned al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, claimed responsibility for most of Saturday's rocket fire.

Israel demanded international intervention to stop the Palestinian attacks.

Hamas last week repatriated an Israeli soldier it seized in 2006 in exchange for the release of more than 1,000 jailed Palestinians. There were no claims of any Hamas involvement in Saturday's violence.

Commenting on the Islamic Jihad deaths, Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri accused Israel of a "serious escalation against our people."

Reuters contributed to this report
1 ) Colin Wright / USA
30/10/2011 10:57
Israel is being foolish. All this was initiated in the hope of somehow derailing the Palestinian UN bid. It won't have that effect -- but it will further weaken the military regime in Egypt, advancing the emergence of an Egyptian state that will be unequivocally hostile to Israel, further isolating her, and bringing closer the date of her collapse.

2 ) Arnold / Canada
30/10/2011 15:29
Colin Wright. I wonder what makes you think you understand the Middle East. Whether you are here or on an israeli media site you spew nonsense and bias against Israel.Who initiated this to derail the palestinian bid. Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Muslim Brotherhood ? And why is Israel foolish ? For firing back ? Fool !!

3 ) Israeli / Israel
30/10/2011 17:22
Egypt cannot feed itself, Syria is in a civil war, Libya is an utter state of chaos, Iraq has had 10 years of fighting, Jordan is on the verge of revolution and is near bankrupt, the Palestinians have two governments and live on charity and Israel, with a 5 percent growth rate, the highest foreign investment in history, the strongest army, the most advanced agriculture and medicine and science by far in the region, and new energy reserves, is foolish and close to collapse?! Black is white!

4 ) southparkbear / usa
30/10/2011 19:55
colin wrong all this was initiated Wed when islamic jihad felt left out after hamass scored with prisoners and abbass scored with un bid. so they fired a grad missile. that crossed the line and since then we have tit of tat

5 ) Carlos / USA
31/10/2011 03:48
Israel is being stupid as usual. Colin is exactly correct in his assessment. Israel is the most isolated it has ever been. It is being hit with Boycot divestment sanctions and its support in the western world is being destroyed day by day by Israels vicious disregard for human life. I tell everyone I know, Israel commits war crimes and I encourage them to boycott. Israel is paying a high price for its murders.

6 ) Colin Wright / USA
31/10/2011 08:16
To Arnold #2 'For firing back ? Fool !!' It's possible I am a fool -- I suspect not, but it wouldn't be for me to say. However, at least I am not deliberately dishonest, which is more than you can say.

7 ) Colin Wright / USA
31/10/2011 08:20
To Southparkbear #4 'colin wrong all this was initiated Wed' Sure. Israel was 'retaliating' for a rocket that was fired three days before. What, she had to wait for the Sabbath? That's obviously a lame excuse. The world media failed to cooperate with Israel's pretense that 'the Palestinians started it,' so now she's scrambling. Look at the international news -- this is NOT panning out for Israel.

8 ) ABE / USA
31/10/2011 17:21
T0 Colin#7 Score ISREAL 12 Gaza 1. Stop firing rockets and no one dies! Try it you'll like it. Probably not you because you would like to see JEWS die!
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