As world leaders called for a full truce, Israel extended the humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza for 24 hours. The ceasefire has been prolonged until Sunday at midnight, the country’s cabinet decided late today.
“At the request of the United nations, the cabinet has approved a humanitarian hiatus until tomorrow (Sunday) at 24:00,” an unnamed official said in a statement.
However, Israel warned that it will retaliate if Hamas fires rockets from Gaza territory. In addition, the IDF “will continue to neutralize the terror tunnels inside Gaza. Four terror tunnels were neutralized in Gaza on Saturday, despite the ceasefire that was in place from 8:00 a.m.”
Hamas rejected Israel’s 24-hour extension of the humanitarian ceasefire, a spokesman for the group said.
“No humanitarian ceasefire is valid without Israeli tanks withdrawing from the Gaza Strip and without residents being able to return to their homes and ambulances carrying bodies being able to freely move around in Gaza,” he said as cited by AFP.
The Israeli Security Council is set to reconvene on Sunday morning to reevaluate the situation.
The Palestinian death toll from the 19-day operation is over 1,040 people, Gaza’s Health Ministry told AFP.
On Shabbos, Hamas ignored an Israeli announcement that it would extend the 12-hour truce by four hours and resumed firing rockets into from Gaza.
Despite the 12-hour cease-fire, the Israeli Defense Forces has urged the Palestinians, who earlier left their homes in Gaza, to “refrain from returning.”
“The IDF shall respond if terrorists choose to exploit this time to attack IDF personnel or fire at Israeli civilians,” the military’s spokesperson also said in a statement, adding that Israel will continue “the operational activities to locate and neutralize tunnels in the Gaza Strip” during the ceasefire.
Thousands of Palestinians ignored IDF warnings and returned to their Gaza homes to find scores of houses demolished and wreckage blocking the roads. Read more at AFP.