CAIRO – Israeli negotiators arrived in Cairo on Monday for indirect talks mediated by Egypt on a long-term truce for the Gaza Strip, as a temporary three-day ceasefire was taking hold.
The Israeli team, includes Shin Bet Security Service Chief Yoram Cohen and the Head of the Defence Ministry’s Political and Security Bureau, Amos Gilad.
They were meeting with Egyptian security officials who are mediating the talks with a multi-faction Palestinian delegation.
A military spokeswoman in Tel Aviv told journalists that no violations were recorded after the fresh 72-hour ceasefire went it effect just after midnight local time.
The Israeli delegation had quit earlier talks in Egypt after Gaza armed groups resumed rocket attacks on Israel on the expiry of an earlier 72-hour truce on Friday.
Before the new truce took hold, Palestinian militants launched a last-minute barrage of rockets on Sunday, sending sirens howling over southern Israel.
The Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of the Islamist Hamas movement in de facto control of Gaza, claimed that five minutes before midnight it successfully launched a missile toward Tel Aviv.
It was not intercepted by the Iron Dome defence system.
Residents in the city centre heard a distant boom and initial reports said the rocket fell in the greater Tel Aviv area. [eap_ad_1] The military spokeswoman confirmed that a missile was launched toward Tel Aviv, but claimed “no fall was identified.”
Israel said it targeted 11 groups of militants on Sunday, including a Hamas activist in the northern Gaza Strip responsible for the network of attack tunnels dug by the group to infiltrate Israel.
Israeli Defence Minister Moshe Yaalon meanwhile admitted that Hamas was holding the body of Oron Shaul, a soldier killed in a rocket-propelled grenade attack on an Israeli armoured vehicle in eastern Gaza City on July 20.
The Israeli army had earlier declared that a staff sergeant was “killed in action, whose place of burial is unknown.”
Yaalon said meetings were being held on a “diplomatic level” to return the body for proper burial.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, welcomed the new unconditional temporary ceasefire and urged all concerned to avoid steps that would lead to a resumption of violence.
More than 20 Palestinians were killed between the end of the last truce on Friday and the start of the new one.
A baby died on Monday morning of wounds sustained earlier in shelling in the central Gaza Strip, Health Ministry Spokesman Ashraf al-Qedra said.
The Gaza death toll after more than a month of fighting has topped 1,900, including 467 children, 243 women and 87 elderly men, the enclave’s Health Ministry said.
Almost 10,000 have been wounded.
On the Israeli side, 64 soldiers and three civilians had been killed.
In the West Bank, meanwhile, Israeli soldiers shot dead a Palestinian militant of al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades.
He had barricaded himself inside his house and opened fire after refusing to surrender. (dpa/NAN)