Israeli troops kill Palestinian at Gaza border protest, ceasefire efforts continue

Israeli troops kill Palestinian at Gaza border protest, ceasefire efforts continueBy Nidal al-Mughrabi GAZA (Reuters) – Israeli troops shot dead a Palestinian and wounded at least 220 others at protests along the Gaza border on Friday, Gaza health officials said, as diplomats sought to secure a durable ceasefire deal. Over four months of weekly Friday border protests that began on March 30 have reduced in intensity lately but organizers have vowed they would continue until Israel lifts economic sanctions on the coastal enclave. The Israeli military said troops had responded with “riot dispersal means” and had operated “according to standard operating procedures,” a term that refers to the use of accurate live fire, after some Gazans broke through the border fence and attacked troops with firebombs and an explosive device.

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Ceasefire between Israel and Hamas holds after intense fighting

Ceasefire between Israel and Hamas holds after intense fightingA ceasefire between Israel and Hamas in Gaza appeared to be holding on Saturday after a round of intense fighting which sparked fears of all-out war.  One Israeli soldier and three Hamas fighters were killed on Friday before Egypt and the UN were able to broker a deal to bring a halt to the escalation.  Hamas said an agreement had been reached “to return to the previous state of calm”. Israel did not publicly acknowledge the ceasefire but officials said a deal had been struck. While the ceasefire seemed to be holding, the border was not completely quiet. Israel’s military said one of its tanks opened fire on a Hamas observation post after a group of Palestinians tried to break through the border fence in northern Gaza.  No injuries were reported.  It was not clear if the ceasefire deal included an end to the burning kites and balloons which Palestinians have flown from Gaza into Israel in recent weeks.  The incendiaries have caused more than a thousand fires and burned more than 7,000 acres of fields, according to the Israeli military.  More than a thousand fires have been caused by balloons carrying incendiaries Credit: MAHMUD HAMS/AFP/Getty Images Israeli media reported that Israel’s government believed the kites and balloons would stop under the deal, while a Hamas official said the ceasefire only applied to direct military weapons like mortars and rockets.   While an immediate escalation appeared to have been averted, Friday’s violence was the second major flare up in a week. Some analysts have concluded that without a diplomatic breakthrough it is only a matter of time before a new war breaks out.  Donald Trump’s plans for “the deal of the century” to try to bring peace between Israelis and Palestinians appears to have been downgraded to more modest proposals aimed at easing the humanitarian situation in Gaza.  Jared Kushner, Mr Trump’s son-in-law and point man on Middle East peace, published an article this week in the Washington Post offering a gloomy assessment of achieving even modest progress in the Mediterranean enclave.  He said there “there is no good option” in Gaza unless Hamas is forced from power or else abandons its core principles and recognises Israel.  “Hamas leadership is holding the Palestinians of Gaza captive. This problem must be recognized and resolved or we will witness yet another disastrous cycle,”  he said. 

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Israel's Netanyahu says no ceasefire with Gaza if arson attacks continue

  1. Israel’s Netanyahu says no ceasefire with Gaza if arson attacks continue  CNN
  2. Truce Called After Israel Strikes Gaza Over Rockets, Arson  Wall Street Journal
  3. Gaza ceasefire largely holding after day-long flareup  Reuters
  4. 2 Killed in Gaza, 4 Wounded in Israel, in Most Intense Fighting Since 2014 War  New York Times
  5. Full coverage

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Gaza ceasefire largely holding after day-long flareup

Gaza ceasefire largely holding after day-long flareupBy Nidal al-Mughrabi GAZA (Reuters) – A ceasefire between Israel and Gaza’s dominant Hamas Islamists appeared largely to be holding on Sunday, ending the most intensive flare-up in violence around the Palestinian enclave since a 2014 war. In a day of fierce fighting on Saturday, Israel carried out dozens of air strikes in Gaza, killing two teenage boys, and militants fired more than 100 rockets across the border, wounding three people in a southern Israeli town. “Everyone understands that unless the situation is defused, we will very quickly be back to another confrontation,” U.N. envoy Nickolay Mladenov told reporters at his office in Gaza.

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Thousands head home in south Syria after ceasefire deal: monitor

Thousands head home in south Syria after ceasefire deal: monitorThousands of displaced Syrians were heading home Saturday after rebels and the government reached a ceasefire deal in the south following more than two weeks of deadly bombardment, a monitor said. Under the agreement announced Friday after talks between rebels and regime ally Moscow, opposition fighters will hand over territory and heavy weapons in Daraa province near the Jordanian border. The Russia-backed regime offensive has displaced around 320,000 people since June 19, the United Nations says, including tens of thousands who fled south to the sealed border with Jordan.

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Jordanian foreign minister tells Russia ceasefire needed in southern Syria

Jordanian foreign minister tells Russia ceasefire needed in southern SyriaMOSCOW (Reuters) – Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi told Russia on Wednesday that political dialogue and a ceasefire were priorities for southern Syria where he said a humanitarian catastrophe risked unfolding. Safadi made the comment after holding talks with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov in Moscow. He said the situation in southern Syria was a cause for serious concern and needed to be resolved as soon as possible. The Russian-backed Syrian government has mounted a campaign to recover southwestern Syria from rebels. …

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South Sudan opposition accuses government of breaking ceasefire

South Sudan opposition accuses government of breaking ceasefireSouth Sudan rebels, led by former vice president Riek Machar, on Saturday accused the army of breaking a ceasefire just hours after it came into force. South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir and his arch-foe Machar agreed, at talks in the Sudanese capital Khartoum on Wednesday, to a “permanent” ceasefire to take effect within 72 hours, raising hopes of an end to four-and-a-half years of war. The conflict erupted in 2013, around two years after South Sudan won independence from Sudan, when Kiir accused his then-deputy Machar of plotting a coup.

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Afghan forces resume offensive operations after govt ceasefire ends

Afghan forces resume offensive operations after govt ceasefire endsAfghan security forces resumed offensive operations on Saturday after President Ashraf Ghani declared an end to the government’s unilateral ceasefire with the Taliban. Ghani said the ceasefire, which lasted 18 days after it was extended once and overlapped with the Taliban’s unilateral three-day truce for Eid, had been “98 percent successful”. The Afghan security and defence forces are allowed to restart their military operations,” Ghani told reporters.

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