Middle East

Gaza conflict: Israel 'to pursue campaign' as truce ends

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Media captionThere were chaotic scenes at the al-Shifa hospital in Gaza City, as Orla Guerin reports

Israel's prime minister has vowed the campaign in Gaza will continue "until quiet and security are returned to the citizens of Israel".

Benjamin Netanyahu issued the statement after Israel's seven-hour "humanitarian window" for parts of Gaza closed.

The truce slowed violence in Gaza, although Palestinians said Israel broke it by hitting a house in Gaza City.

Two attacks on Israelis were reported in Jerusalem and Israel said militant rocket fire from Gaza had continued.

Health officials in Gaza say 1,868 Palestinians, most of them civilians, have been killed and some 9,470 injured since the conflict began nearly four weeks ago.

Sixty-seven Israelis have died, all but three of them soldiers. A Thai national working in Israel was also killed.

Separately, Egypt's state media said that Palestinian delegates meeting in Cairo had agreed to a 72-hour humanitarian ceasefire.

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Media captionJames Reynolds reports from Jerusalem after Israeli police shoot a man who allegedly attacked a bus with a stolen digger

The Mena news agency, citing unnamed Palestinian officials, said the truce would be announced later on Monday and would begin at 08:00 (05:00 GMT) on Tuesday.

However, Israel has taken no part in the meetings.

'Quiet and security'

Following a security meeting at the Southern military HQ, Mr Netanyahu vowed to pursue Operation Protective Edge.

He said: "What is left to be done before it ends is for the Israel Defense Forces to deal with the Gaza attack tunnels."

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Image caption Palestinians accused Israel of breaking its own truce with an attack on Gaza City
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Image caption An attack on a bus in Jerusalem left an Israeli and a Palestinian dead

Israel says militants use the tunnels to infiltrate its territory.

Mr Netanyahu added: "But the operation also won't end until quiet and security are returned to the citizens of Israel for an extended period of time."

Mr Netanyahu said Israel had "no intention to harm civilians in Gaza" and accused Hamas, which controls Gaza, of preventing humanitarian aid from reaching them.

Israeli military spokesman Lt Col Peter Lerner said aerial operations "against terrorist infrastructures in Gaza" were being resumed.

He told the BBC: "The mission is not time bound, but rather goal bound."

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Image caption Israel's military at the Gaza border - Israel says the campaign goes on
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Image caption Rafah, in the south, was not included in the truce

Hamas said Israel was using the truce, which ran from 10:00 local time (07:00 GMT) to 17:00 (14:00 GMT), to "divert the attention from Israeli massacres".

There have been several truces called during the conflict but none has lasted, with each side accusing the other of violations.

Palestinian health officials said Israel carried out an air strike on a refugee camp inside Gaza City just minutes after the latest ceasefire began.

Reports suggest the strike killed a young girl and injured at least 15 others, many of them women and children.

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Media captionThe BBC's Mark Lowen asks what Egyptians make of the crisis in Gaza

One local, Ayman Mahmud, told AFP: "There is no truce. How could there be a truce? They are liars. They don't even respect their own commitments."

Israel's ceasefire otherwise generally slowed the violence, although it insisted it would not apply to Rafah in the south, where there was still an Israeli military presence.

Palestinians in many areas of Gaza headed out to markets and there were long queues for money.

Israel said a number of rockets had been fired from Gaza during the window.

Meanwhile in Jerusalem, a construction vehicle driven by a man, identified by police as a Palestinian from east Jerusalem, overturned a bus in an ultra-Orthodox neighbourhood.

A passer-by was killed and several people were injured before police shot dead the driver.

Later one person - reportedly a soldier - was seriously injured in a suspected drive-by shooting in Jerusalem's Mt Scopus area.

In other developments on Monday:

  • French President Francois Hollande called for an end to the "massacres in Gaza" and Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said Israel's right to security did not justify the "killing of children and slaughter of civilians"
  • The UK Foreign Office is investigating reports that a British national has been killed in Gaza

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