Palestinians, Israelis trade charges of breaking Gaza truce
Palestinians and Israel accused each other of breaking a seven-hour ceasefire intended to allow humanitarian aid into the battered Gaza Strip soon after it came into force today.
Palestinians said Israel had bombed a refugee camp in Gaza City, killing an eight-year-old girl and wounding 29 other people, while Israel said at least four rockets had been fired at its territory from Gaza.
Gaza Health Ministry spokesman Ashraf Al-Qidra said the air strike on a house in Shati camp took place after the truce was scheduled to start this morning.
An Israeli military spokeswoman said she was checking the refugee camp attack. She said four rockets had been fired from Gaza since the truce started and two had crashed inside Israel. There were no reports of casualties or damage.
In Jerusalem, a heavy construction vehicle slammed into a bus, overturning it in what Israeli police said was a suspected terrorist attack. No passengers were on the bus but a passerby died after being run over by the digger, and police said its driver was shot dead. Israeli media identified the driver as a Palestinian from East Jerusalem.
Israel announced a ceasefire to free up humanitarian aid and allow some of the hundreds of thousands of Palestinians displaced by almost four weeks of war to go home.
The announcement met with suspicion from Gaza's ruling Islamist Hamas movement and followed unusually strong censure from Washington at the apparent Israeli shelling on Sunday of a U.N.-run shelter that killed 10 people.
An Israeli defence official said the ceasefire, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (0700 to 1400 GMT), would apply everywhere but areas of the southern town of Rafah where ground forces have intensified assaults after three soldiers died in a Hamas ambush there on Friday.
"If the truce is breached, the military will return fire during the declared duration of the truce," the official said. The official said east Rafah was the only Gaza urban area in which troops and tanks were still present, having been withdrawn or redeployed near the border with Israel over the weekend.
Mark Regev, spokesman for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, told CNN that Israel's goal with the truce was "to assist with the humanitarian relief" of the people of Gaza.