Israel rejects ceasefire call

Israel has rejected a French proposal for a 48-hour ceasefire in the Gaza Strip.

France had called for a temporary truce to allow humanitarian aid to reach the beleaguered Stri, but an Israeli foreign ministry spokesman said that the plan failed to include any guarantees that Hamas would stop firing rockets at Israeli communities.

However, sources said the truce might be reconsidered if its terms were amended.

France’s foreign minister Bernard Kouchner said that he and President Nikolas Sarkozy were weighing the possibility of visiting Israel to try to broker a ceasefire, following an emergency summit of the 27 EU foreign ministers in Paris on the current Gaza crisis.

Meanwhile, the death toll in Gaza rose to 385 as the Israeli air force continued to attack targets including smuggling tunnels and weapon stores.

More than 200 rockets have been fired at Israel since the fighting began, with military intelligence suggesting that at least 2,000 more remain in the hands of militants. Three Israelis have been killed since the operation was launched last Saturday.

    Last updated: 12:04pm, December 31 2008