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Middle East

Hamas rejects Egypt ceasefire plan for Gaza

Armed wing of Palestinian group calls proposal an "initiative of submission" as death toll in Gaza climbs to 189.

Last updated: 15 Jul 2014 06:16
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The armed wing of the Palestinian group Hamas has rejected an Egyptian-proposed ceasefire in the Gaza conflict, according to its official website.

The Qassam Brigades said on Tuesday that it had not been sent details about the "alleged initiative" from any side, "officially or unofficially".

The statement said that excerpts published in the media showed it was an initiative of "bowing and submission", and added "it was not worth the ink it was written with".

"Our battle with the enemy will continue and will increase in ferocity and intensity," it added.

Earlier, Israeli officials said Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel's prime minister, would convene his security cabinet to discuss the proposal. 

The official told the Reuters news agency that the meeting will take place later on Tuesday.

The proposed truce would start on Tuesday morning, and be followed by talks on a long-term ceasefire.

Khaled al-Batch, a senior leader of the Islamic Jihad armed group, said that the group welcomed "Egypt's role and efforts to end the Israeli aggression and defend the Palestinian people" but will not accept the ceasefire without conditions.

"It is not acceptable to start observing a ceasefire for short term then negotiate the terms. We have experienced this in the past and it has failed," he said.

"What is needed now is to agree on the demands of the Palestinian people, chiefly ending the siege and opening the border corsing, then a zero hour can be agreed upon. Otherwise, history will repeat itself, period."

INTERACTIVE: Gaza Under Attack

In a televised statement on Al-Aqsa TV on Monday, Ismail Haniyeh, the deputy head of the political bureau of Hamas, said the group had been contacted about a ceasefire but he did not specify who had made that contact.

Haniyeh said: "Our people were avoiding the war but the Zionist enemy began it, he announced it, he prepared for it, he started to kill the women, children and families, destroy homes. Entire families were eliminated."

"Every drop of blood is dear to us. My heart and all the people are standing beside these families, but this bloodshed pushes us towards being more committed to our rights and to stopping this aggression, to end this situation in Gaza and the West Bank."

Egypt's state news agency said on Monday that US Secretary of State John Kerry is to fly to Cairo to discuss the situation and US President Barack Obama said he was "encouraged" by Egypt's proposal for a ceasefire.

At least 189 Palestinians have been killed in the conflict so far, and the UN has said that at least 80 percent of the casualties have been civilians. 

Another 1,350 people have been wounded in the offensive and more than 17,000 people are sheltering in UN compounds.

At least 10 Israelis have been injured by rockets fired from Gaza. No Israeli fatalities have been recorded.

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Source:
Al Jazeera and agencies
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