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Egypt Calls for Gaza Cease-fire

  • VOA News

A ball of fire rises from an explosion on al-Zafer apartment tower following an Israeli air strike in Gaza City, in the northern Gaza Strip, Aug. 23, 2014.

A ball of fire rises from an explosion on al-Zafer apartment tower following an Israeli air strike in Gaza City, in the northern Gaza Strip, Aug. 23, 2014.

Egypt is urging Israelis and Palestinians to accept a permanent cease-fire and return to indirect talks in Cairo, as violence continues in Gaza.

The call from Egypt's Foreign Ministry came after Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas met Saturday in Cairo with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi and senior officials of the Arab League.

Hostilities continue

Palestinian officials say they will consider the appeal for cease-fire. Israel has not responded yet. But the two sides continued to exchange fire Saturday. Ten Palestinians were reported killed in Israeli air strikes on Gaza. One mortar shell fired from Gaza killed a four-year-old boy in southern Israel on Friday.

The Israeli army said that in addition to rockets fired from Gaza, one rocket from Lebanon hit northern Israel late Saturday. There were no reports of damage or casualties from the rocket that hit Upper Galilee.

Earlier Saturday, Israeli aircraft fired two missiles at a 12-floor apartment building in Gaza, collapsing the structure. Palestinian officials say at least 20 people were wounded in the strike.

The Israeli military said Hamas militants used the building as a command center.

The Israeli army said about 100 rockets were fired from Gaza Saturday. An Israeli army intelligence officer estimates that Hamas has about 2,000 short-range rockets and dozens of mid-range rockets left, which is less than a third of what it had before the fighting started in July.

At least one rocket was fired on Israel from Lebanon late Saturday. It hit a house in Upper Galilee, northern Israel, wounding several people.

Death toll surpasses 2,000

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

More than 2,100 Palestinians have been killed since the violence erupted July 8, including close to 500 children. Israel has lost 64 soldiers and four civilians. UNICEF issued a statement Saturday calling on the fighting parties to protect civilians, especially children, as required by international law.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon discussed the crisis in Gaza with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Saturday. Mr. Ban stressed the importance of establishing a "durable cease-fire" with a view to resume "meaningful negotiations on a two-state solution."

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