No ceasefire reached with Hamas on Gaza: Israel

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Jerusalem, May 30 (IANS) Israeli officials said on Wednesday that no agreement has been reached with Hamas on a ceasefire in Gaza.

Hamas official Khalil al-Haya said that it agreed to an Egyptian-brokered ceasefire “after the resistance succeeded in warding off (Israel’s) aggression”. He said that militant groups in the Gaza Strip will follow the agreement as long as Israel does, Xinhua news agency reported.

The Israeli government did not officially announce that it agreed to the terms and a military spokesperson said that the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) would not comment on the reports of a possible ceasefire.

Israel’s Education Minister Naftali Bennett, also a member of the security cabinet, told Israel’s Army Radio that no such agreement has been achieved yet.

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Commenting on the possibility of a ceasefire, Israel’s Intelligence Minister Israel Katz said that it all depends on Hamas, an Islamist movement that runs the Gaza Strip. “If it continues (to attack), I don’t know what its fate will be,” he said.

Overnight, Israel launched a new airstrike on the Gaza Strip, attacking dozens of Hamas’ sites. A statement released on Wednesday by the military said fighter jets, combat helicopters and other aircraft struck some 25 sites belonging to the movement.

Overall, according to the Israeli military, 65 targets across Gaza were struck since the attack began on Tuesday.

Sirens were heard in several locations across southern Israel. The military said its Iron Dome anti-missile system downed most of the projectiles but a rocket hit a home in a community in the regional council of Eshkol, without causing injuries.

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The violence was part of a serious escalation in the area of the fence between Gaza and Israel over the past months. Israeli forces have killed at least 121 Palestinians in Gaza since weekly demonstrations started on March 30.

–IANS

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