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Airstrikes level Gaza homes as Israel rejects new ceasefire talks
Published Saturday 02/08/2014 (updated) 04/08/2014 14:16
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Palestinians inspect the wreckage of a building following an Israeli
strike in the southern Gaza town of Rafah, on Aug. 2, 2014
(AFP Said Khatib)
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Fifteen Palestinians, including six members of one family, were killed Saturday afternoon in a series of Israeli airstrikes on homes in Gaza as Israeli officials said a new ceasefire agreement was off the table.

"We're not talking about ceasefires anymore," a senior official told the Israeli newspaper Haaretz.

"Israel will act in its own interest. We will take action against attacks from Gaza, and will finish dealing with the tunnels."

The official said Israel would not negotiate with Hamas, even through a mediator.

"The issue of the Rafah Crossing is Egyptian-Palestinian Authority matter, and the issue of the rest of the crossings is between us and the PA and the international community."

He said the goal was now to end the offensive unilaterally.

"If we feel deterrence has not yet been achieved, we will continue the operation inside the Gaza Strip or exit and continue with the aerial bombardment."

Despite the Israeli delegation's refusal to participate, a Palestinian delegation left the West Bank en route to the Cairo talks around noon.

Meanwhile, Gaza medical authorities said Saturday's death toll had risen to 84, as Israeli forces continued their bombardment of the besieged coastal enclave by air, land, and sea.

Ministry of Health spokesman Ashraf al-Qidra said on Saturday that an airstrike on a house in al-Nuseirat refugee camp killed Yousef Madi and three of his children -- Hassan, Amin, and Abd al-Rahman.

Soon afterwards, another airstrike targeted a home in Rafah, killing four members of the Abu Taha family, identified as Saadiyeh Abu Taha, 40, Mahmoud Abu Taha, 27, Youssef Abu Taha, and Rizq Abu Taha.

A third airstrike on the Salim family home in al-Qarara northern Khan Younis left another Palestinian dead and several injured.

Six family members were killed in another Israeli airstrike that targeted their home in Rafah, and four of the victims were identified as Suhaib, Jumaa, Ahmad, and Fawwaz al-Bahabsa.

The 84 Palestinians killed in strikes on Saturday brought the death toll in Israel's offensive on Gaza past 1,670, with nearly 9,000 injured.

Little hope for new ceasefire

Cairo ceasefire talks were originally to scheduled for Friday but were canceled after a previously-agreed upon 72-hour ceasefire agreement fell apart, with Hamas blaming Israeli for expanding its operations in the lead up while Israel said Hamas launched an operation after the ceasefire had begun.

The delegation representing PLO factions was to meet in Cairo in the evening with Hamas leaders traveling to Egypt from outside Gaza.

Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said there would be no Hamas leaders immediately joining the delegation from Gaza, as Israel's bombardment of Rafah currently made it impossible to leave the Strip for Egypt.

Meanwhile, according to Israeli media, Israeli officials had decided they would not be sending sending a delegation in Cairo for talks.

"There's no point in promoting an agreement," a Israeli official told Haaretz.

"The inclination is to establish deterrence" and end the fighting by providing "quiet for quiet," the official said.

Israel and Hamas blame each other for the collapse of the ceasefire Friday, with Hamas saying Israeli forces attacked civilian homes in eastern Rafah after the ceasefire had come into effect and Israel claiming militants killed two soldiers and captured another an hour and a half into the ceasefire.

Hamas' al-Qassam Brigades released a statement early Saturday denying knowledge of the capture. It said a group of its fighters clashed with Israeli forces at 7:00 a.m. and that the fighters could possibly have captured a soldier at that time, but that it had since lost contact with the fighters and assumed them to have been killed by Israeli shelling, along with any prisoners they may have taken.

Palestinians inspect the wreckage of a building following an Israeli
strike on the southern Gaza town of Rafah, on Aug. 2 (AFP Said Khatib)

Israel begins search for soldier

Israel said it was focusing its search for its missing soldier on the outskirts of the sprawling city of Rafah, an area home to some 210,000 Palestinians.

Army spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Peter Lerner said "our understanding is that the force was attacked by a suicide bomber, (but it) seems there were several other gunmen who carried out this attack," and that a soldier had been "snatched into a tunnel."

Israel considers the capture of its soldiers a casus belli.

In 2006, Gaza militants captured conscript Gilad Shalit and held him for five years before freeing him in exchange for more than 1,000 Palestinian prisoners.

Weeks after Shalit's capture, Israel launched a 34-day war on the Hezbollah militia in Lebanon after it seized two soldiers, whose remains were later returned in another swap deal.

US President Barack Obama "unequivocally condemned" the killing of two soldiers and another soldier's alleged capture, saying that if those responsible wanted an end to the bloodshed, the soldier would need to be "unconditionally released, as soon as possible."

"I think it's going to be very hard to put a ceasefire back together again if Israelis and the international community can't feel confident that Hamas can follow through on a ceasefire commitment," he said.

AFP contributed to this report.
1 ) boil / Romania
02/08/2014 17:47
Scientists and academics at the university double as Hamas technocrats. The Islamic University serves as an employment program and intellectual retreat for Hamas leaders. The University conducts lectures on Hamas' radical ideology and concentrates on hostility to Israel; Hamas uses Gaza University laboratories to develop and produce explosives and rockets and has even run a course on explosive making. The university is a warehouse for weapons and a venue for secret meetings of military leaders

2 ) Mel / USA
02/08/2014 18:06
Intelligent TV channel knocks the hypocrisy of Israeli &USG Zionists against "Hamas"(supposedly)&ANYONE who condemns Zionism ethnogenocide,in Palestine.The BLAMING OF THE VICTIMS=shame on YOU Bill Maher &Israel for'gang-raping'Palestine & BLAMING the victim!
Listen to Kash Nikazmrad & HEED his truth(all facts)about the CRIMINAL double-standards of USG 'democracy'.WIDER TRUTHS ALL HERE!

3 ) Bemused / New Zealand
02/08/2014 18:09
So Palestine is not permitted to take prisoners of war, but every other country is? Palestine is not permitted to detain someone ILLEGALLY in Palestinian territory, but Israel is permitted to detain 6,000 Palestinians in Palestinian territory? Isn't the law supposed to be applied equally, to all?

4 ) JV / Canada
02/08/2014 18:27
While Israel bears the blame for starting the war, all of the deaths on both sides going forward now are now squarely on Hamas. There was a chance to end this and they chose to kill more of their fellow Palestinians. While Israels actions won't bring peace there isn't a person in the international community that wouldn't want to see every Hamas member dead for what they are doing to the rest of the Palestinian community.

5 ) Julie / USA
02/08/2014 18:29
Qassam didn't take the soldier. blame it on izrael's Hannibal Directive. just read these 2 links, it explains everything very clearly: http://www.alternet.org/who-broke-ceasefire-obama-blames-hamas-against-all-evidence ....and this.... http://electronicintifada.net/blogs/ali-abunimah/did-israeli-army-deliberately-kill-its-own-captured-soldier-and-destroy-gaza

6 ) Mel / USA
02/08/2014 18:33
REWIND to 2012(below),&its DELIBARATE WAR CRIMES,again(2014).Israel's "Operation" by any name,of "Turning Palestinian children into corpses".But if USG believed "flattening"Hiroshima &Nagasaki was RIGHT,then they must think Israel's"flattening"of nearly 2 MILLION humans in Gaza is"right"too?http://acronymtv.wordpress.com/2012/11/19/if-israel-is-a-terrorist-state-what-does-that-make-the-u-s/?relatedposts_hit=1&relatedposts_origin=1496&relatedposts_position=1

7 ) Rejection / Choices
02/08/2014 18:38
Hamas rejects international calls to release the soldier abducted, during a Hamas-sanctioned ceasefire, so Israel should "reject new ceasefire talks", and Leave the decision to Hamas as to when Gaza has bled enough !!

8 ) Bob McKlyer / USA
02/08/2014 18:40
Israel knows where the Hamas leaders are hiding. They must be found and executed. This is war and we must have a winner and a surrender. Gaza if need be must be totally leveled just like Berlin in WW ll.

9 ) Adam / US
02/08/2014 18:47
Casus belli?! People, you are in a middle of a war for almost one month and you have already killed nearly 2000 people. Are you telling us that you barely found a reason for it now?!

10 ) Jesus / Uk
02/08/2014 18:49
I shall unite Palestine once for all.

11 ) and yet all Gazans / continue to admire
02/08/2014 18:59
and support their HAMAS LEADERS!! THose that lead the fighting from their safe hideaways beneath SHIFFA HOSPITAL

12 ) so many billions are coming / from QATAR and IRAN
02/08/2014 19:18
Gaza will be very rich soon (or perhaps only Hanyiye and his brave officers who never fought , only sat safely in their holes how many Idf CPMMANDERS DIES--- ABOUT HALF OF THE CASUALTIES!!!

13 ) Tanias Titz / Austria
02/08/2014 19:57
As the Zionist invaders run back to their air conditioned homes, and return to see their wife and children. The aid trucks are already flooding in. Which are transporting herds of fresh, clean, and fragrant donkeys for the Gazan men folk to pleasure, as is their local custom.

14 ) Outlier / USA
02/08/2014 21:20
Remember that first ceasefire initiative, the one brokered by Egypt, accepted by Israel and rejected by Hamas? Gazans have plenty of time to regard their government's action as a colossal mistake.

15 ) Brian Cohen / Israel
02/08/2014 21:32
Look what Hamas brought upon Gaza.

16 ) traducteur / Canada
02/08/2014 22:55
The courage and resourcefulness of the Hamas fighters is beyond praise. The Zionists seem to be trying to break them by destroying the entire society in which they live, but they have held firm. This is heartening. Despite the death and destruction that it can still inflict, the genocidal entity currently styling itself "Israel" is doomed in the long run.

17 ) WHY / Sleeping Humanity
03/08/2014 01:17
massacre in PALESTINE by terrorist jewish zionist occupiers on the people of the land.

18 ) Max-1 / USA
03/08/2014 02:07
If Palestinians are guilty for resisting and fighting back from their open air prison... ... So were the Jews for fighting back from their open air prison in Warsaw. THINK ABOUT IT PEOPLE...

19 ) james bell / n z
03/08/2014 04:52
I presume Hamas has saved many lives by allowing Gazans to shelter in the tunnels it buit. Why dont they tell the world about their efforts to save people

20 ) Johnny benson / USA
03/08/2014 08:01
Sadly..Israel is buckiling to world opinion....Israel never is allowed to really win a war...every war since 48 was stopped by the world when Israel was winning...Israel better remember one thing...if they ever are losing...the world will not step in...they will let Israel go down the drain

21 ) Randi / NJ
03/08/2014 09:15
hey? just askin? anybody posting wanna go talk some sense and logic into Isr. mucky mucks? if ya got the money for plane fare? give it a try under? peoples' lobby for Humanity.

22 ) suharto / indonesia
03/08/2014 18:10
Let's be the war fair,arm the hamas as the usa do to the jews.see who will win the war.the hamas are prevented from having any type of weaponry and the arrogantly slaughtering thepalestinians
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