Israel PM Netanyahu says Hamas has violated its own ceasefire

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday. July 27, 2014, that the Palestinian militant group Hamas had violated its own offer of a 24-hour humanitarian truce in Gaza. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday. July 27, 2014, that the Palestinian militant group Hamas had violated its own offer of a 24-hour humanitarian truce in Gaza. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday the Palestinian militant group Hamas had violated its own offer of a 24-hour humanitarian truce in Gaza.

Asked whether Israel would accept the truce offer, Mr Netanyahu told CNN's State Of The Union programme: "Hamas doesn't even accept its own ceasefire, it's continuing to fire at us as we speak."

Mr Netanyahu added that Israel "will take what ever action is necessary to protect our people".

Hamas said it had offered a 24-hour "humanitarian calm" period that had been due to start at 2pm local time on Sunday.

However, as 2 pm came and went, the sound of heavy Israeli shelling could be heard within Gaza and sirens sounded in Israeli communities near the border area, suggesting Palestinian militants had fired missiles at them.

Some 1,060 Palestinians, mainly civilians and including many children, have been killed in the 20-day conflict in Gaza between Israel and Hamas. Israel says 43 of its soldiers have died, along with three civilians.

In an interview on Fox News Sunday, Mr Netanyahu said Hamas had broken five ceasefires that Israel had accepted and implemented. "They rejected all of them, violated all of them, including two humanitarian cease-fires in the last 24 hours," Mr Netanyahu said.

He told NBC's Meet The Press programme that going forward, a peace initiative being brokered by the Egyptian government "is the only game in town".

He added that Israel's goal was the "demilitarisation of Gaza".