TEL AVIV, July 26, /ITAR-TASS/. Another three Israeli soldiers died in the period from late Friday to early Saturday in clashes with Palestinian radicals in the Gaza Strip, a Palestinian enclave, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said Saturday.
The fighting was underway in Gaza prior to the start of a 12-hour truce, Israeli television reported.
In total, over the 10 days of the land phase of Israel’s Protective Edge operation in Gaza, the Israeli army has lost 40 soldiers, with 400 others wounded. Since July 8, when the IDF launched the aviation phase of its operation in the enclave, three people have been killed by missile strikes on Israeli cities and over 600 have been wounded.
A 12-hour humanitarian truce started at 08:00 local time [05:00 UTC] in Gaza on Saturday. According to TV reports, it has been extended by Israel’s Security Cabinet, comprising the key government ministers, by another four hours.
The truce was the result of talks in Cairo by Egyptian and US foreign policy chiefs Sameh Shoukry and John Kerry, as well as United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on July 25.
Israeli media report that the Israeli Security Cabinet will gather for a second time at 21:30 local time to discuss extending the ceasefire by another 24 hours.
Israeli-Palestinian relations grew sour after June 12, 2014, when three Jewish teenagers were abducted in the West Bank. Later the teenagers were found killed. Israel accused militants of Palestinian Islamist group Hamas (Islamic Resistance Movement), which controls the Gaza Strip, of committing the crime.
On July 8, 2014, the Israel Defense Forces announced the start of the operation Protective Edge in the Gaza Strip against Hamas militants.
According to Palestinian medical services, the overall death count in Gaza for the 19 days of the operation nears 1,100 people. Some 6,000 Palestinians have been wounded.
French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said Saturday that participants of today’s foreign ministerial meeting in Paris as part of international efforts to settle the Palestino-Israeli conflict called for extending the humanitarian truce in Gaza by 24 hours.