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Russia supports immediate restoration of Gaza ceasefire, senior diplomat says

Mikhail Bogdanov noted that new cycles of violence between Palestine and Israel could be prevented by the creation of an independent Palestinian state

MOSCOW, August 8. /TASS/. Moscow supports the immediate restoration of a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip, Russian Special Presidential Envoy for the Middle East and Africa and Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov said in a phone call with head of the Hamas political bureau Ismail Haniyeh.

"Russia confirmed its support for the immediate restoration of the Gaza ceasefire and welcomed related mediation efforts. At the same time, it was emphasized that new cycles of violence between Palestine and Israel can be effectively prevented through the creation of an independent Palestinian state within the 1967 borders, with East Jerusalem as its capital, which would leave in peace and security with Israel," the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement following the call.

According to the ministry, Haniyeh briefed Bogdanov on developments around Gaza with regard to a standoff between the Islamic Jihad group and Israel, triggered by the arrest of one of the group’s leaders on the West Bank. "Over 40 people, including children, were killed and more than 300 suffered wounds in Israeli strikes on densely populated Gaza areas in the past three days. At the same time, Israeli radicals staged provocations around Muslim sacred sites in East Jerusalem," the statement said.

Haniyeh praised the active mediation efforts of Egypt and Qatar, which made it possible to agree a ceasefire, the Russian Foreign Ministry added.

On Friday, the Israel Defense Forces launched Operation Breaking Dawn against Islamic Jihad in the Gaza Strip. Radicals fired hundreds of rockets at Israel in three days, while the Israeli military hit dozens of targets in Gaza. The Israeli authorities confirmed on Sunday that an agreement had been reached to announce a ceasefire in Gaza starting at 11:30 pm. However, Israel reserved the right to use force if the agreement is violated.