GAZA CITY: A fresh wave of violence killed dozens in Gaza after the collapse of a UN and US backed ceasefire, officials said Saturday, as Hamas denied it kidnapped an Israeli soldier.
A Palestinian delegation was due to arrive in Cairo for talks on the terms of a durable truce, however, even after the 72-hour humanitarian ceasefire fell apart within hours starting on Friday.
But the chances of a new truce seemed remote after Israel said it believed militants captured Second Lieutenant Hadar Goldin, 23, in an attack near the southern Gaza city of Rafah that killed two other soldiers.
In the violence that ensued, at least 107 Palestinians were killed in Israel air strikes on the Gaza Strip, including 35 since midnight, officials said.
Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, a member of Israel’s security cabinet which met till the early hours of Saturday, accused Hamas of being behind the soldier’s disappearance and said the group would pay a high price.
US President Barack Obama called for the soldier to be “unconditionally” released, but also said more must be done to protect Gaza civilians.But Hamas’ armed wing denied any knowledge about the fate of the missing soldier.
“The Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades has no information on this soldier. We have lost contact with one of our combatant groups, which was fighting in the sector where the soldier went missing and it is possible that our fighters and this soldier were killed,” it said.
On Saturday, AFP correspondents said Israeli aerial strikes targeted a mosque at Jebaliya, in northern Gaza, and flattened houses in a beach side neighbourhood.
In Israel, the Iron Dome air defence system intercepted two rockets fired from Gaza over the Tel Aviv area and another over the southern city of Beersheba, the army said.
The Qassam Brigades said they had fired three rockets at Tel Aviv.
Source : APP