WASHINGTON, July 28. /ITAR-TASS/. US President Barack Obama discussed the developing situation in Gaza with Prime Minister Banjamin Netanyahu in a telephone conversation on Sunday urging an “immediate” and “unconditional” ceasefire in the region, the White House said in a statement.
“The President made clear the strategic imperative of instituting an immediate, unconditional humanitarian ceasefire that ends hostilities now and leads to a permanent cessation of hostilities based on the November 2012 ceasefire agreement,” the statement said.
The US president also condemned attacks of the radical Palestinian movement Hamas on the Israeli territories saying that Israel had every right to defend itself.
“The President underscored the United States’ strong condemnation of Hamas’ rocket and tunnel attacks against Israel and reaffirmed Israel’s right to defend itself,” the statement said.
“The President also reiterated the United States’ serious and growing concern about the rising number of Palestinian civilian deaths and the loss of Israeli lives, as well as the worsening humanitarian situation in Gaza,” the White House added.
On Sunday, Palestinian media reported that the radical Palestinian movement Hamas agreed to the UN proposal on a 24-hour humanitarian truce in the region.
The Israeli Security Cabinet decided on Saturday night to meet the UN request and agree to a 24-hour extension of the 12-hour humanitarian ceasefire, which had started in the Gaza Strip at 09:00 a.m. Moscow time (05:00 a.m. GMT) on Saturday, until 9:00 p.m. Moscow time (5:00 a.m. GMT) on Sunday. However, Hamas rejected the truce extension and its militants continued to deliver rocket and mortar fire against Israel.
The Israeli army reported that seven rockets had been fired from the Palestinian enclave on Israel on Sunday morning. Two of them were intercepted by Israel’s Iron Dome air defense system while the other five exploded on the Israeli territory.
A rocket that exploded in the town of Petah Tikva in central Israel wounded one Israeli citizen. Another three rockets were fired by Hamas militants on Israel on Saturday night.
Mortar fire by Palestinian militants on Saturday killed one and wounded another Israeli serviceman.
Hamas militants set a course for liberation of Israel-occupied Palestinian territories right from the start of their activity on December 14, 1987. The group has made a few dozen terrorist attacks against military and civilian facilities of Israel.
Hamas regularly shells Israel’s territory with homemade rockets. In response, Israel shells Gaza and holds military operations there to suppress militant activity and destroy Hamas’ military structure. According to Hamas, 1,365 Israelis died in 1987-2011 in terrorist attacks made by its militants.