Netanyahu dismisses Hamas truce offer
GAZA CITY / JERUSALEM - Agence France-Presse
Smoke and debris fill the air during an Israeli strike on Gaza City early on July 26, 2014. AFP PhotoIsrael's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on July 27 accused Hamas of violating a ceasefire that it had itself called and vowed that Israeli operations in Gaza would continue.
"They are violating their own ceasefire. Under these circumstances, Israel will do what it must do to defend its people," Netanyahu told the news network CNN.
Earlier, the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas agreed to halt firing from 1100 GMT in response to a request from the United Nations. AFP reporters in Gaza, however, said explosions could still be heard.
Israel has endorsed a ceasefire plan promoted by Egypt that has not been accepted by Hamas, but Netanyahu was dismissive about Sunday's latest UN truce call.
Netanyahu told CNN that Israeli forces would continue operations to attempt to dismantle Hamas' cross-border tunnel network and to destroy its stocks of rockets.
"I'm not going to talk about specific military operation," he said. "Israel is doing what any other country would do and the US would do if any percent of your country were under fire and you have 60 or 90 seconds to get to a bomb shelter."
"I would say we want to stop firing rockets for sure. We want to dismantle the tunnel, the terror tunnel network we uncovered. I don't know if we'll have 100 percent success," he said. "Our soldiers are dealing with it now."
Netanyahu insisted Israel does not deliberately target Palestinian civilians, accusing Hamas of provoking conflict in residential areas, and said the long-term goal was to prevent attacks on Israel.
"I hope we achieve a sustainable quiet that will enable us to address the issue of demilitarizing Gaza," he told CBS.
"And if Hamas is weak and discredited and demilitarized then we may have a chance to work something with the more moderate forces and get a better future for all of us." Since July 8 more than 1,050 Palestinians have been killed in the Gaza fighting, while another 6,000 have been injured. A total of 43 Israeli soldiers, two civilians and a Thai migrant worker have died.
Hamas says agrees to 24-hour Gaza humanitarian truce
Hamas belatedly said it has agreed to a 24-hour humanitarian truce, shortly after Israel announced a resumption of hostilities in Gaza following a day-long pause.
"In response to the UN's intervention request to monitor the situation... it has been agreed between the resistance factions that a 24-hour humanitarian truce will start from 2:00 pm (1100 GMT)," Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said in a statement.
Zuhri said the ceasefire would take place ahead of the three-day Muslim holiday of Eid al-Fitr, which marks the end of the fasting month of Ramadan and is expected to fall on Monday.
Up to 3:00 pm (1200 GMT), Hamas was still claiming mortar attacks, with the army confirming six rounds had struck Israel since 1100 GMT.
The two sides mostly stuck to a 12-hour humanitarian ceasefire on Saturday, with Israel agreeing extend it, while Hamas resumed its rocket fire as the initial lull ended at 1700 GMT, with one mortar shell killing a soldier.
But on Sunday morning, Israel said it was resuming its aerial, naval and ground campaign against Gaza after what it said was "incessant" Hamas rocket fire.