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TEL AVIV, August 14, /ITAR-TASS/. Israel has delivered strikes at targets in the Gaza Strip after missile attacks on its territory, Israel’s Defence Force Spokesman Peter Lerner said on Thursday.
He said that radicals in the Gaza Strip had fired missiles at Israel’s territory two hours before the expiration of the 72-hour truce at 01:00 a.m. Moscow time. The Israeli army press service said “terrorists” from the Gaza Strip had violated the ceasefire regime.
In the meantime, according to Itar-Tass correspondent in Cairo Dmitry Tarasov, Hamas categorically refuted these reports, claiming no missile attacks had been staged and hence no violation of the truce had taken place. “We condemn Israel’s ongoing shelling of Gaza. It is a violation of truce,” said Izzat al-Rishq, a Hamas official who took part in the Cairo consultations. He said the Palestinian side was strictly observing the ceasefire regime. None of Palestine’s other groups has taken responsibility for the shelling.
Already after the incident, Azzam Al-Ahmad, a Fatah senior official and a head of the Palestinian delegation to the truce talks in Cairo said that Palestinians and the Israeli had agreed to extend truce in Gaza for another five days, adding that the truce had come into force from 01:00 a.m. Moscow time to expire on Monday, August 18. He also said the parties had agreed to allocate time for talks in a bid to try to finally reach an agreement on lasting ceasefire. He said that the Palestinian-Israeli consultation had achieved progress on many provisions concerning lifting Gaza’s blockade but there were minor details yet to be settled. Apart from that, the parties, in his words, were working hard to reach understanding on Gaza’s security and reconstruction issues.
According to Israel’s influential newspaper Haaretz, the office of Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has informed the cabinet of ministers that Israel had accepted the initiative to extend the truce for another five days.