Israel and Hamas 72-Hour Humanitarian Cease-Fire in Gaza Collapses (Updated)
UPDATE (Saturday, 4:09 a.m. PST): Shortly after the truce began Friday, Hamas and the Israel Defense Forces accused each other of violating the agreement. While Hamas claims the IDF seized the opportunity to “storm into Rafah and kill scores of people on Friday,” according to Al-Jazeera, the Israeli army stated that a 23-year-old soldier had been taken hostage by Hamas only an hour after the cease-fire began. The cease-fire has since collapsed and according to the health ministry in Gaza, at least 107 Palestinians have been killed since Friday’s agreement fell through.
BBC News reports that peace talks between Israeli and Palestinian delegations scheduled in Cairo have been postponed.
—Posted by NHZ
At 8:00 a.m. Friday (local time), a three-day cease-fire is scheduled to begin in Gaza. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon released a statement about the temporary truce Thursday.
Both Hamas and Israel have agreed to hold their fire, the BBC reported that afternoon:
“We urge all parties to act with restraint until this humanitarian ceasefire begins, and to fully abide by their commitments during the ceasefire,” the statement added.
“This ceasefire is critical to giving innocent civilians a much-needed reprieve from violence,” the statement went on.
Earlier on Thursday, White House spokesman Josh Earnest repeated the call for a cease-fire and criticized the shelling by the Israeli military of a United Nations facility in Gaza, calling the incident “totally unacceptable and totally indefensible.” Earnest also called out Hamas for targeting Israeli citizens in rocket strikes.
–Posted by Kasia Anderson