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Middle East

Abbas urges resumption of talks with Israel

Palestinian president backs Cairo-mediated talks to avoid more "casualties and sacrifices" amid new air strikes on Gaza.

Last updated: 23 Aug 2014 12:52
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The Israeli military launched several morning air strikes on central Gaza, killing at least seven [Reuters]

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has called for the urgent resumption of the Cairo-mediated talks between Israel and the Palestinians to end the Gaza crisis that entered its 47th day.

"My main goal is for the truce talks to resume in Egypt as soon as possible to avoid more casualties and sacrifices", Abbas said during a news conference on Saturday after meeting Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.

Indirect talks between the sides, brokered by Egypt, collapsed on Tuesday after rockets were fired from Gaza during a ceasefire and Israel responded with air strikes.

The Israeli military said Palestinian fighters had fired almost 500 rockets at Israel since the talks broke down and Gaza health officials said 65 Palestinians had been killed in Israeli air strikes since then. 

 

Seven people, including five from one family, were killed in new Israeli air strikes on central Gaza on Saturday.

The deadliest Israeli attack levelled a home in Al-Zawayda, killing a couple, their sons aged three and four, and a 45-year-old aunt, medics said.

The Israeli military said it had carried out about 20 air strikes over the Gaza Strip early on Saturday. 

Witnesses and Palestinian officials said two mosques were destroyed in the Khan Yunis area of southern Gaza, while a third, in the Shati refugee camp, which had already been damaged, was bombed again.

According to the Gaza health ministry, 2,103 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza and 10,544 have been injured since the fighting began on July 8. 

The Palestinian president and Hamas's exiled leader Khaled Meshaal issued an appeal on Friday urging the UN to draw up a "timetable" for the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories to end, Qatari state media said.

The two Palestinian leaders held talks in Doha, which were hosted by the emir of Qatar, a key backer of Hamas.

Meanwhile, a senior Hamas leader who has been taking part in the Cairo negotiations confirmed that the group would back any Palestinian bid to join the International Criminal Court (ICC).

According to Moussa Abu Marzouk, Hamas has signed a paper of support requested by the Palestinian president.

Palestinians accuse Israel of war crimes in Gaza because of its attacks on civilians. If Palestine did join the ICC, it would mean Hamas could also be investigated.

On Friday, officials said Hamas executed 18 Palestinians it had suspected of collaborating with Israel. 

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Source:
Al Jazeera and agencies
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