BEIRUT, August 01. /ITAR-TASS/. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu overtly accused Palestinian movement Hamas of “deliberately broken 72-hour ceasefire” which started on Friday.
Meanwhile, Israeli tanks have killed 30 and wounded over 170 in eastern districts of Rafah, Palestinian medical sources in the Gaza Strip said on Friday. According to their reports, when refugees taking advantage of the ceasefire went to their homes in quarters Nasr, Biblisi and Matar.
Israeli command did not confirm officially yet that a serviceman was kidnapped by Palestinian militants in Rafah on Friday morning. However, this report was made public in Israeli and Arab media.
Israeli armed forces “are resuming strikes on targets in Gaza, the truce is disrupted”. A representative of Israel Defense Forces (IDF) has stated this on Friday, according to local media reports.
The Israeli command considered the abduction of a serviceman in Rafah (in the south of the Gaza Strip) as disruption of the 72-hour ceasefire announced at 05:00 UTC.
After reports about the abduction of the serviceman in the eastern part of Rafah situated on the border between the Gaza Strip and Sinai, a violent shootout began between Israeli military and the Palestinians.
Earlier, Israel’s authorities notified Egypt about the incident and refused to negotiate ceasefire until the Israeli serviceman is returned.
Humanitarian truce came into effect at 05:00 UTC on Friday.
United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Robert Serry received assurances that all parties agreed for an unconditional humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza, said the joint statement by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and US Secretary of State John Kerry. The statement specified that the truce would last for 72 hours with a possibility of prolongation.
The communiqué said within this period the troops should remain still.
The Israeli army confirmed it would observe truce in Gaza. “At 08:00 (05:00 UTC), the IDF will suspend fire for 72 hours in accordance with the government’s order,” the army’s press service reported.
Later, Israeli artillery opened fire at refugees on their way back to their homes in Rafah, in the south of the Gaza Strip.
Eastern districts of the city came under fire, according to Al Mayadeen TV channel. Reports came about four casualties and six injured among the Palestinians.
Israeli military stated that despite the 72-hour truce the operation aimed at destroying underground tunnels would be continued.
Rafah is located on the border with Egypt and serves as the main channel of arms supplies to the Gaza Strip.
All in all, 61 Israeli servicemen and three civilians, including a citizen of Thailand, were killed since the Protective Edge operation began July 8.
Within 24 days, the IDF delivered strikes on 4,370 objects of terrorist activity in the Gaza Strip, the army’s press service reported.
On Thursday, 79 Palestinians died and more than 280 were wounded as a result of Israel’s strikes on targets in the Gaza Strip, according to Gaza’s Health Ministry.