Israeli operation 'should aim to reoccupy Gaza', Lieberman

First Israeli killed in operation. Italian FM in Tel Aviv, Ramallah

15 July, 20:17

    Italian FM Mogherini meets Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah Italian FM Mogherini meets Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah

    (ANSAmed) - ROME - Israeli foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman was quoted on Tuesday by Ynet as saying that ''we need to end the operation with the IDF (Israeli Defense Forces) controlling the Gaza Strip''. The head of Israeli diplomacy was speaking at the Knesset, the country's parliament.

    Israel resumed operations in the Gaza Strip after six hours of "unilateral attacks" by Hamas, which fired "47 rockets", a military spokesman said Tuesday.

    The Israeli government on Tuesday morning decided to accept an Egyptian proposal for a ceasefire starting at 9 am local time. In spite of pressure from Egypt, the Arab League and the US, Hamas and its armed wing - the Ezzedin al-Qassam brigades - have instead rejected the ceasefire plan. ''If the content of this proposal is what it appears to be, it would be a surrender and we reject it without appeal'', the group said in a statement. ''Our battle against the enemy will intensify'', the brigades added.

    Italian foreign minister Federica Mogherini on Tuesday discussed the situation between Gaza and Israel over the phone with US Secretary of State John Kerry and met with her German counterpart Frank Walter Steinmeier. The meeting took place on the sidelines of her visit to the Middle East, which had been planned prior to the outbreak of violence in recent days, reports the Italian foreign ministry. Mogherini visited the Peres Center for Peace in Tel Aviv on Tuesday morning. Accompanied by her Israeli counterpart Avigdor Lieberman, the minister later visited Ashdod (a town hit by rockets launched from Gaza), where she met with the mayor and representatives from the Italian community. In the evening she met Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah.

    Palestinian National Authority (PNA) President Abu Mazen will meet Egyptian President Sisi tomorrow in Cairo. On Tuesday he was quoted by the official Palestinian news agency Wafa as supporting the Egyptian initiative to end the near constant exchange of fire between Israel and the Gaza Strip. Abu Mazen reportedly called on ''all sides'' to respond to Egyptian efforts to spare further Palestinian victims in the ''very best national interest''.


    Meanwhile the death toll is continuing to rise: almost 200 Palestinian were killed in Israeli air raids on Gaza after a further night of raids left seven others dead. Some 1,400 have been reported wounded.
    Overnight, rockets were fired into Israel from the Egyptian Sinai, Lebanon and Syria. The most serious attack targeted Israel's Red Sea tourist resort of Eilat where three rockets exploded, wounding three people. Two rockets were fired from Lebanon into western Galilee while another two were fired from Syria towards Golan.

    Meanwhile a 12-year-old Israel Bedouin hit on Monday in Negev by shrapnel from a Palestinian rocket is in serious condition. An Israeli civilian was killed on Tuesday at the Erez border crossing between Israel and Gaza by a mortar shot from the Gaza Strip. The announcement was made by radio Jerusalem, which noted that it marked the first death of an Israeli in the fighting between Israel and Hamas.

    In a surprise move, Hamas has decided to block on Tuesday transit between Gaza and Israel through the Erez crossing. The measure, according to a statement, also concerns foreign journalists as well as injured and sick Palestinians who were planning to be treated in Israel. Hamas is now calling for international guarantees on the security of its personnel at the border after Israeli air force bombed its offices. (ANSAmed)

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