An Israeli strike on a house in al-Shati refugee camp has reportedly broken a humanitarian ceasefire minutes after it came into place.
Gaza’s Health Ministry reported that the bombing, which targeted the home of the al-Bakri family approximately 30 minutes after the appointed time for the ceasefire, has killed an eight-year old girl and injured at least 30 people so far.
The Israeli army announced the seven-hour humanitarian ceasefire set to start in parts of the Gaza Strip from 10:00 local time (07:00 GMT) – the unilateral announcement has already been rejected as a possible ruse by Hamas.
According to a statement issued to Palestinian media by the co-ordinator of Israeli military activities in the occupied territories early on Monday morning, the truce would not include east Rafah where fighting is still ongoing.
Hamas has already denounced the strike – spokesperson Sami Abu Zuhri said “The attack on the al-Bakri family home in eastern Gaza after the start of the Israeli ceasefire is evidence of the occupation’s lies.”
“It shows that the ceasefire announced was simply for media consumption.”
Rafah, a town close to the border with Egypt that was exempted from the ceasefire, has been witness to some of the most intensive strikes, with Gaza’s Health Ministry announcing that over 70 people were killed in the city on Sunday alone.
Ten more people have died in the Gaza Strip so far on Monday in separate bombings in Rafah, Khan Younis and al-Sheikh Radwan,
International pressure on the two sides to end the violence is growing, particularly after condemnation of an Israeli strike on a UNRWA school in Rafah on Sunday, the third such attack during the conflict.
Samantha Power, US ambassador to the UN, delivered a stinging criticism of the attack on Monday morning, saying that “civilians, many of whom have been told to evacuate their homes by the Israeli Defence forces, must be able to find refuge in safe, UN-designated shelters.”
The statement comes a day after UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called the attack a “criminal act”, demanding an end to the “madness.”
However, hopes are not high that the truce will be binding, as each of the seven planned ceasefires up till now have been broken hours after they began.
Hamas accused Israel of cynicism in its announcement of a unilateral ceasefire, alleging that Israel was attempting to distract attention away from recent “massacres.”
“The calm Israel declared is unilateral and aims to divert attention away from the Israeli massacres. We do not trust such a calm and we urge our people to exercise caution,” said the group’s spokesperson, Sami Abu Zuhri.
Khaled Meshal, a Hamas leader who lives in Qatar, said in response to the Israeli announcement that there were will be no truce as long as Israeli forces remain in the Gaza Strip.
Hamas officials, representatives of Islamic Jihad and Fatah politicians are all still in Cairo – the Palestinian delegation is due to meet with the Egyptian intelligence chief on Monday for a final discussion of the Palestinian ceasefire demands issued on Sunday.
(Middle East Eye – http://middleeasteye.net)