New Gaza ceasefire holding after shaky start

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GAZA CITY, Palestinian Territories: Israel and Gaza militants were holding their fire on Thursday morning after a new truce got off to a shaky start, with night-time Palestinian rocket fire followed by Israeli air strikes.

The Israeli army said that there had been no fighting for several hours, since Israeli air raids into Gaza finished around 3 a.m. (12 a.m. Manila time).

Palestinians had fired two rockets into southern Israel two hours earlier, after a five-day ceasefire extension was to have taken effect.

An army spokeswoman said that aircraft hit rocket-launching sites, weapons caches and “centers of terrorist activity” but could not give a precise number.


An official at the Palestinian interior ministry reported four air strikes over open ground about 30 minutes after an existing 72-hour truce was extended at midnight for five days.

More than 1,950 Palestinians and 67 people on the Israeli side have been killed since July 8, when Israel launched an offensive to destroy Hamas rockets and attack tunnels burrowing under the Jewish state.

After days of shuttle diplomacy, the agreement clinched by Egypt ushered in what is potentially the longest period of calm in the five-week conflict and allow more time for talks on the thorniest issues that separate the two sides, the Palestinians said.

An earlier truce collapsed in a firestorm of violence on August 7.

AFP

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