Hamas rejects Palestinian call for Gaza cease-fire
GAZA (CNN) — Hamas on Tuesday rejected a call from Palestinian leadership in the West Bank for a 24-hour truce to halt the bloodshed in Gaza.
A report by official Palestinian news agency WAFA said Palestinian leadership was offering a 24-hour truce, which could be extended to 72 hours, and that the idea had support from Hamas and Islamic Jihad, another militant group in Gaza.
But Sami Abu Zuhri, a Hamas spokesman in Gaza, said the WAFA report was not true and "not related to the resistance," which "speaks for itself."
"When we get guarantees from the Zionists for an international mediation regarding a humanitarian pause then we can consider it," he said on Hamas TV.
Israel had no immediate comment.
Israel has repeatedly condemned Hamas for rejecting Egypt's proposal for a cease-fire, which Israel agreed to. Some temporary cease-fires have taken place throughout the conflict, with each side quickly accusing the other of violating it.
A day earlier, people in Gaza had hope that a cease-fire could be on the horizon. But by Tuesday morning, that hope was flickering -- along with the lights for many, after Gaza's only power plant was struck.
Hamas' rocket attacks and Israel's airstrikes and ground offensive not only showed no sign of abating, but the fighting intensified in some areas -- particularly Gaza City, the territory's most packed area.
"A night of intensified violence has exacerbated Gaza's human displacement crisis," Chris Gunness, spokesman for the U.N. agency in Gaza, said on Twitter. More than 180,000 displaced Palestinians have packed into 82 shelters, he said.
More than 1,100 Palestinians have died, according to medical officials in Gaza. The number of mlitants is unclear, but the United Nations estimates more than 70% were civilians.
Fifty-three Israeli soldiers have died since Operation Protective Edge began July 8. Three civilians have been killed in Israel as well.
Israel has uncovered 32 tunnels used by Hamas to smuggle weapons and launch attacks, the Israel Defense Forces said.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Monday the military will not end its incursion into Gaza until it has destroyed the tunnels.
"We need to be prepared for a protracted campaign in Gaza," he said on Israeli television Monday.
Hamas has an estimated 10,000 rockets, more than a quarter of which have been fired into Israel in the last few weeks, the IDF said.
Hamas-run television reported early Tuesday that Israeli strikes hit the Ministry of Finance in western Gaza and the house of Ismail Haniyeh, a senior political leader of Hamas. A radio station run by Hamas was bombed.
Eight children were among 10 people killed Monday in a refugee camp near the beach in Gaza, the Gaza Health Ministry said.
Israel says Hamas' misfired rockets was responsible for the deaths. The IDF released images on Twitter that it said showed the launch site of three rockes that struck the Shati refugee camp and Shifa hospital. But Hamas blamed an Israeli drone, and some witnesses did as well.
The children were playing in the street near their homes when an explosion shook the ground. Holes as large as fists pockmarked a nearby building.
One boy in the neighborhood, 8-year-old Anas, described the horrific scene his young eyes witnessed.
"I saw a boy all cut up right here. Over there a man ... he looked dead, and I saw a boy who was dead too," he said.
"Glass sprayed on me. It was so loud, so terrifying. I can't even describe it," said 12-year-old Olaa.
More than 200 children have been killed in Gaza since the conflict began, according to the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.
The deaths Monday came as Palestinians celebrated Eid al-Fitr, a Muslim holiday that marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan.
International leaders are pushing for a cease-fire. U.S. President Barack Obama, British Prime Minister David Cameron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Francois Hollande and Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi discussed the issue Monday.
A statement from Cameron's office said the leaders agreed on "the urgent need for a lasting ceasefire in Gaza and Israel, backing the efforts of the Egyptian government to achieve this."
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry returned to Washington
over the weekend after a trip to the Middle East and Paris, where he held discussions in an attempt to calm the violence. He had little to show for the trip.