No Gaza truce yet due to Israeli foot-dragging: Hamas official
Palestinians look at their destroyed homes following Israeli air strikes on the southern Gaza Strip town of Rafah on November 18, 2012.
Islam Times - Senior Hamas official Ezzat al-Rishq says efforts to broker a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip have been delayed because the Israeli regime has not yet responded to the proposal to end its military onslaught on the besieged territory.
"The Israeli side has not responded yet, so we will not hold a (news) conference this evening and must wait until tomorrow," Rishq told Reuters on Tuesday.
He added, "The truce is now held up because we are waiting for the Israeli side to respond."
Rishq’s remarks indicate that there would be no ceasefire until Wednesday at the earliest.
Medical officials in Gaza said 21 Palestinians were killed on Tuesday. An Israeli soldier and a civilian died when rockets exploded near the Gaza frontier.
Gaza medical officials say at least 138 people have died in Israeli strikes, mostly civilians.
In all, five Israelis have died, including three civilians who were killed last week.
The Israeli military has reportedly struck more than 1,350 targets in Gaza since attacks began on November 14.
In response, Palestinian resistance fighters have fired retaliatory rockets and missiles into the Israeli-occupied lands. About 640 rockets have hit Israel while more than 300 others have been intercepted.
The Israeli military frequently carries out airstrikes and other attacks on the Gaza Strip, saying the actions are being conducted for defensive purposes. However, in violation of international law, disproportionate force is always used and civilians are often killed or injured.
Gaza has been blockaded by the Israeli regime since 2007, a situation that has caused a decline in the standard of living, unprecedented levels of unemployment, and unrelenting poverty.
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