Monday, May 25, 2015Monday, May 25, 2015

Gaza truce shattered within hours as deadly clashes erupt

Published on Aug 1, 2014 6:14 PM
Israeli soldiers stand on an armoured personnel carrier (APC) outside the central Gaza Strip as they fire mortar shell towards Gaza before a ceasefire was due, early on Aug 1, 2014. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

GAZA CITY, Palestinian Territories (AFP) - A Gaza truce set to last for three days collapsed only hours after it began on Friday as Israel pounded Palestinian militants in apparent response to renewed rocket fire, jeopardising international efforts for a durable ceasefire.

The skies over Gaza initially fell silent after the humanitarian truce announced overnight by US Secretary of State John Kerry, the longest of several agreed since the conflict broke out on July 8.

It gave a brief respite to people in the battered strip from fighting that has killed nearly 1,500 on the Palestinian side, mostly civilians, and 61 Israeli soldiers and three civilians on the other.

But within hours air raid sirens warning of rocket fire were heard on the Israeli side of the border, and heavy artillery shelling renewed in the southern city of Rafah, killing at least 27 people and injuring 100 more, medics said.

Enjoy 2 weeks of unlimited digital access to The Straits Times. Get your free access now!