Friday, 22 September 2017 03:03 GMT

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Israel presses on with deadly Gaza air raids

(MENAFN - Arab News) GAZA CITY: Violence reverberated across Gaza on Monday with at least eight Palestinians killed in Israeli air strikes as Egypt proposed a new cease-fire that would open key crossings into the blockaded territory.

Since an earlier truce collapsed on Aug. 19 the death toll in Gaza has risen steadily with 109 Palestinians killed in more than 350 Israeli airstrikes across the territory.

Over the same period more than 650 rockets have struck Israeli territory one of which killed a four-year-old boy over the weekend army figures show. Around 110 rockets were shot down.

Since midnight on Sunday 30 Israeli strikes have killed eight Palestinians including a woman a 78-year-old man and a three-year-old boy raising the Gaza death toll to 2128.

On the Israeli side 68 people have been killed the vast majority soldiers.

On Monday 71 rockets fired from Gaza struck the Israeli south while another nine were shot down the army said.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday Israel would hit any place from which militants were firing including homes.

His remarks came as the air force bombed a 12-story residential block.

But by early Monday there was increasing talk about a possible new cease-fire agreement which would see the delegations return to Cairo to resume discussions on an Egyptian proposal to broker a longer-term end to the violence.

'There is an idea for a temporary cease-fire that opens the crossings allows aid and reconstruction material and the disputed points will be discussed in a month' a senior Palestinian official told AFP in Cairo.

'We would be willing to accept this but are waiting for the Israeli response to this proposal' he said requesting anonymity because of the sensitivity of the negotiations.

Another Palestinian official said Egypt might invite Palestinian and Israeli negotiating teams to return to Cairo within 48 hours.

'Efforts are ongoing to reach an agreement' Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri told AFP without going into specifics.

Daud Shihab Islamic Jihad's spokesman confirmed such efforts were under way.

'The success of contacts (talks) to reach a cease-fire depends on Palestinian demands being met' he said. There was no immediate comment from Israel with Netanyahu's spokesman Mark Regev saying Israel's position of no negotiations under fire had 'not changed.'

But Israeli Science Minister Yaakov Peri an observer at the security cabinet and former head of the Shin Bet internal security agency said if the rocket fire stopped it was likely talks would resume.

'If a cease-fire goes into effect and it sticks there is a good chance that the prime minister will instruct the delegation to return to the talks in Cairo' he told public radio.
Israel presses on with deadly Gaza air raids

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