'No ceasefire' yet between Israel, Hamas

By Jessica Elgot, August 22, 2011
Photo: Ariel Hermoni, Israeli Defense Ministry

Photo: Ariel Hermoni, Israeli Defense Ministry

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office has denied that any cease fire has been agreed with Hamas to stop operations in the Gaza Strip, following cross-border violence over the last five days.

There were reports that an unofficial ceasefire had been agreed on Sunday night by Israeli and Palestinian representatives, along with Egyptian mediators, if Hamas crack ed down on small militant groups responsible for ongoing rocket attacks against Israel.

The Popular Resistance Committee said that it was temporarily halting its rockets, but since 9pm on Sunday evening 12 rockets have landed in Israel. More than 100 have landed in the country since Thursday.

On Thursday, terrorists crossed the border into Israel and attacked Israeli buses, killing eight people. Retaliatory Israeli air strikes on Gaza have killed 15 Palestinians and one Israeli was killed in rocket fire from Gaza. The man, who has not yet been named, died when a missile hit Beersheba on Saturday, injuring at least eight others.

Israeli President Shimon Peres, on a visit to Ashdod today , said: "The situation in Gaza is not simple and we must examine all options. We were not the ones who opened fire first. Whoever started the escalation must stop it, not us."

According to a source on Army Radio, the Prime Minister's Office "do es not sign agreements with Hamas, not directly and not indirectly. Israel is following the implementation of the ceasefire. If they continue the shooting, we'll respond accordingly."

    Last updated: 2:49pm, August 22 2011