World / Middle East

Hope slim for ceasefire in Gaza as Israel holds on strikes

(Xinhua) Updated: 2014-07-11 19:34

GAZA - Growing tension between Israel and Hamas-led Gaza militants predominated the efforts to reach a ceasefire to end an intensive Israeli large-scale aerial offensive on the Gaza Strip.

According to Palestinians medical officials, 98 Palestinians were killed and more than 600 were injured since the beginning of the Israeli offensive "Operation Protective Edge" on Tuesday.

In a new round of air raid early Friday, Palestinian medical sources reported that four people were killed and 15 others were critically injured when an Israeli warplane hit their home while asleep in the southern city of Rafah.

The Israeli army announced Thursday night that its war jets struck within the past 24 hours 320 targets all over the Gaza Strip, including 220 rockets launchers, 58 locations believed to be tunnels for storing weapons and 46 locations of militants groups.

According to Israel Radio, the Israeli army threatened to intensify its air strikes on the Gaza Strip within the coming days to exhaust the militants and Hamas movement before launching a large-scale ground operation into the enclave.

The radio quoted Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as saying that a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas movement is currently not considered. Hamas officials warned that Hamas is also not interested in a ceasefire with Israel right now.

Mushir al-Masri, a senior Gaza Hamas leader said in a press statement that there is no calm with Israel in this stage, adding that Israel seeks an elusive victory by killing children and destroying houses.

Abu Obeida, the spokesman of Hamas armed wing al-Qassam Brigades, said in a televised statement that his group and other militants "only used little part of its military abilities and the war is still limited."

"We didn't start the war and we didn't start the aggression and the threats, it was the enemy Israel which did all, but since the enemy wants a war, the decision on ending it and its shape or conditions has not been made yet," said Abu Obeida, adding that Hamas and other Gaza militants prepared themselves for a long-term gun-battle.

Meanwhile, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas unveiled on Thursday that the Egyptian efforts to end the growing tension in the Gaza Strip and reach calm "had so far failed," adding "we don' t want any of the parties to impose its own conditions, but we want to end the blood shedding in Gaza."

Abbas also noted that he is making contacts with the United States, Qatar, Turkey and Egypt to restore calm in the Gaza Strip, in order to prevent a possible Israeli ground operation.

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