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Netanyahu says Gaza offensive will continue as 13 killed
Published Sunday 24/08/2014 (updated) 25/08/2014 17:21
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The mother (center) of Palestinian Mahmoud Abbas, who was killed by
an Israeli air strike, mourns during his funeral in Gaza City on Sunday
(AFP Mahmud Hams)
GAZA CITY (AFP) -- Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday that Israel's Gaza offensive would continue as long as necessary, a day after an Egyptian call for a ceasefire and new truce talks.

Israeli air strikes killed 13 Palestinians in the besieged coastal enclave on Sunday and injured dozens more, bringing the total death toll to 2,111. The United Nations says 70 percent of the Palestinian victims were civilians, and that among the dead have been 478 children.

"Operation Protective Edge will continue until its aims are achieved ... it may take time," Netanyahu said of the offensive launched on July 8.

As of Sunday afternoon, Israel had carried out 27 strikes while 50 rockets were fired from Gaza, 47 of which hit Israel, an army spokeswoman said.

Five Palestinians were killed Sunday afternoon including three children when an Israeli airstrike hit a house in the Tal al-Zaatar neighborhood in the northern Gaza Strip, bringing the death toll since midnight to 13.

Witnesses told Ma'an reporter that an Israeli missile hit a house without any warning, killing five members of the family.

The new bloodshed came after Israel pounded Gaza with at least 60 strikes on Saturday, killing 10 Palestinians, mostly women and children, and bringing down a 12-story apartment block.

There was still no sign of either side adopting the ceasefire Egypt appealed for on Saturday to allow negotiators to return to Cairo to thrash out the details of a durable truce.

Since a previous round of frantic Egyptian diplomacy collapsed on Tuesday, shattering nine days of calm, 88 Palestinians and a four-year-old Israeli boy have been killed in the violence.

At a special cabinet session at the defense ministry in Tel Aviv, Netanyahu repeated his warning of harsh retribution for the death of the Israeli child on Friday in a rocket strike on a kibbutz near the Gaza border.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks as he opens the weekly cabinet
meeting at the Defense Ministry in Tel Aviv on Sunday (AFP Gali Tibbon)

PM warns Lebanon, Syria

"Hamas is paying, and will continue to pay, a heavy price for the crimes it carries out," he said.

"I call on residents of Gaza to immediately leave any structure from which Hamas carries out terror activity against us. All such sites are a target for us."

Netanyahu also added a veiled warning to neighboring Lebanon and Syria after overnight rocket fire into Israel.

"There is not and will not be any immunity for anyone who fires at Israeli citizens, and that is true for every sector and every border," he said.

Earlier on Sunday, five rockets fired from Syrian-controlled territory slammed into the Israeli-occupied sector of the Golan Heights but caused no casualties, the Israeli army said.

Late Saturday, a rocket fired from Lebanon struck northern Israel, causing damage but no casualties.

Israel has so far not responded to either attack.

In a statement on Saturday, the Egyptian foreign ministry urged "concerned parties" in the Gaza conflict to accept an open-ended truce and resume indirect negotiations in Cairo.

Previous ceasefires with fixed timeframes have failed to give Egyptian mediators shuttling between Israeli and Palestinian negotiating teams enough time to broker a deal acceptable to both.

The Palestinian team has demanded consistently that any long-term truce include an end to an eight-year siege that has crippled Gaza's economy, in addition to the re-opening of a closed airport and seaport among other things.

The demands are consistent with the terms of the Oslo Accords signed between Israel and the Palestinians in the 1990s, but which Israel has failed to abide by amid its refusal to consider direct negotiations of any kind with Hamas, which it considers a terrorist group.

Israeli authorities have said that they would be willing to extend the ceasefire indefinitely but previously stressed that a long-term agreement should include the demilitarization of the Strip.

The Palestinian team has scoffed at this demand, saying that it was Palestinian fighters who prevented the full-scale infiltration and re-occupation of Gaza by Israeli forces in recent weeks.

A ball of fire rises from a building following an Israeli air strike in
Gaza City on Saturday (AFP Mohammed Othman)

Egypt truce talks bid

The invitation to new truce talks by Egypt came after a meeting on Saturday between Egyptian leader Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas.

"What interests us now is putting a stop to the bloodshed," Abbas said.

"As soon as a ceasefire goes into effect, the two sides can sit down and discuss their demands," he said, adding that, as in previous rounds of talks, Hamas would be represented in the Palestinian delegation.

Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri told AFP that "any proposal offered to the movement will be discussed".

Abbas held two rounds of talks in Qatar on Thursday and Friday with exiled Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal before heading to Cairo.

At least 2,111 Palestinians and 68 people on the Israeli side, all but four of them soldiers, have been killed since July 8.

Around 460,000 people have fled their homes in Gaza -- more than a quarter of the enclave's 1.8 million population.

Ma'an staff contributed to this report.
1 ) Kathy P / USA
24/08/2014 16:09
Such a vulgar and obscene way to depopulate an area for settlers..

2 ) Altamash / India
24/08/2014 16:11
All the people who are against this occupation&oppression by the zionist regime,have the duty to help the palestine people in their resistance against cruel occupier.

3 ) JoeFattal / USA
24/08/2014 16:37
Israel wont be satisfy until they kill all the Palestinians in Gaza. They are inflicting that much civilian casualties until their goal is achieve, which is to demoralize the civilian population and yet wont take Hamas out. The war is against the civilian population not Hamas as a fighting force which Israel is incapable to beat unless they kill everyone in Gaza. I can see a desperate move from Netanyahu as it was his goal to win the war by inlicting civilian casualties and for Hamas to give

4 ) JoeFattal / USA
24/08/2014 16:48
cont...give in and stop firing their rockets and have a ceasefire for Hamas to get resupply with rockets and let this cycle of violence to continue at a later date for as long Israel can keep their occupy territories and object to any peace agreement as Hamas is still in power. Netanyahu's goal is to keep his goverment alive. Well it didn't work the way he planned now that Hamas will not stop unless the siege is lifted. So Israel will continue to strike Gaza to get to their impossible goal.

5 ) Tobias / USA
24/08/2014 17:43
* Gaza can have either a comprehensive peace, if Hamas chooses, or even a temporary truce, without conditions, if only Hamas chooses, but * Hamas Chooses Death And Destruction For All Of Gaza, in refusing a comprehensive peace, a temporary truce, or even Cairo talks !!

6 ) Mel / USA
24/08/2014 17:44
If ANY ENTITY IS A CONFIRMED DIRECT/INDIRECT THREAT TO US/UK/EU Nat. Sec.now,& in the future,it is ZIONIST ISRAEL! Are you STUPID,INSANE,SO CRIMINALLY SOCIOPATHIC Obama,Bush,Clinton,Cameron,Merkel,Hollande etc,that you CAN'T SEE who the REAL TERRORISTS are,if you keep SLAUGHTERING PEOPLE-INNOCENT CIVILIANS-like this,thru'out the whole MIDDLE EAST!?Are you so blind,as to let Zionism BLOW UP OUR US FACE too,with every innocent civilian it murders?Our US face is 1/2 gone already.INSANITY!!!!

7 ) Brian Cohen / Israel
24/08/2014 18:01
We think it should continue until Hamas abandons its policy of killing Palestinians and Israelis, and joins the peace process. But Hamas does not want peace nor does it want jobs and prosperity for Gazans. Hamas wants war (jihad) and victory over the zionists or martyrdom. We choose to give them martyrdom.

8 ) Hussein / USA
24/08/2014 19:45
I do not see what the issue here is with the homeless residents of Gaza. The Welfare Section on behalf of the Hamas’ military wing al-Qassam Brigades and other renegade radical Islamic Jihadist terrorist organisations, the al-Quds Brigades military wing of the Popular Resistance Committees and the al-Nasser Salah al-Din Brigades, has it all covered in their PLAN B.

9 ) JoeFattal / USA
24/08/2014 20:46
While Netanyahu try to figure out how to get Hamas, civilians are getting killed everyday. That is pure genocide from Israel because they have the manpower to go after Hamas in Gaza and their rockets but they wont. So they just killing civilians in the process of winning their "protective edge" after over 40 days of fighting. They not going to win it by killing more civilians, matter of fact the world community might side with Hamas and probably offer any assistance deem necessary.

10 ) Maureen / Australia
24/08/2014 20:58
No matter how well Netanyahu & Co convince themselves of their elitist right to commit war crimes, there will be a time of reckoning when they stand before their Maker.

11 ) Brian COhen / Israel
24/08/2014 23:32
Interesting that Maan twists this around and ignore the fact that Hamas is the party who violated the ceasefires and wants to keep on fighting. Israel has repeatedly said that it will stop shooting if Hams stops shooting. Hamas has repeatedly said it will keep shooting until its ridiculous demands are met. No country would agree to open borders for its enemy to re-arm and resupply. And no parties at war agree to stupid ideas like ports, without a peace treaty first. Hamas does not want peace.

12 ) Legal Eagle / Australia
25/08/2014 02:20
Netanyahu is showing he is still the armour-plated bullsh*tter Tony Blair described him as years ago - he lied about Hamas rockets breaking the ceasefire to justify the assassination attempt on Deif, he is attacking civilian targets saying they are legitimate - and most telling, he is refusing to accept Palestinian demands, which are either contained in the Oslo Accords already agreed to by Israel 20 years ago but never honored, and/or which are completely in accordance with international law.

13 ) The Only / Two Choices
25/08/2014 02:43
If HAMAS ASKS FOR peace, Israel will grant it, and If Hamas asks for WAR, Israel will grant it, but Gaza can not have peace from Israel, while Israel has attack tunnels, rockets, and war from Hamas, so Gaza has Two Choices: [1] Continue suffering from Israel's response attacks, or [2] Remove Hamas from power !!

14 ) Arnold / Canada
25/08/2014 06:45
No more cease fires. Hamas must be tossed out or neutralized .

15 ) @11 Brian COhen / Israel
25/08/2014 14:57
Try reading what Legal Eagle (12) has posted, then go & play with your Lego bricks (to quote a previous poster). Hopefully nursery will open soon & you will be able to refrain from posting on Ma'an.

16 ) Bernadette / Ireland
25/08/2014 15:16
There will be no peace without justice and human rights. Give the people of Palestine their human and civil rights and open a path to peace. The world is watching you Israel and all we can see are your horrendous war crimes and gross indifference to international law. You think because you have so much military might and US backing that you are immune from any law. You have become monsters. Shame on you.

17 ) Paul / U.S.A.
25/08/2014 21:11
Soon the scales will tip in favor of Gaza.
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