After more than 30 mortar shells, rockets fired from Strip Friday, Hamas leader in Gaza calls on Israel to stop retaliatory airstrikes. Meanwhile, Hamas foreign minister consults with Arab states on how to end escalation of violence
Elior Levy Published: 04.08.11, 22:34 / Israel News
Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh demanded Friday "an end to Israeli aggression" in Gaza after terror groups in the Strip bombarded the Negev with more than 30 mortar shells and Qassam rockets.
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Retaliatory airstrikes by Israel killed nine Palestinians and wounded dozens, including two members of a rocket-launching cell responsible for firing rockets intercepted by Ashkelon's Iron Dome system.
"Israeli aggression against our people in the Gaza Strip will not succeed in breaking the will of our people," Haniyeh said, adding, "Our people's faith and will are greater than the occupation's slaughter."
On Thursday at 11 pm Palestinian terror organizations announced a ceasefire, which Israel was apparently not a part of, and thereafter continued to bombard Israel with rockets.
A spokesman for the Popular Resistance Committees in Gaza, Abu Mujahed, said, "We will not remain committed to the ceasefire agreement while the blood flows freely in Gaza and Israel is not committed to it."
Other factions were not as clear, but the military wings of Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and the Popular Resistance Committees all claimed responsibility for the fire on Israel Friday.
But Hamas appeared to desire a halt to the escalation in violence. Its foreign minister, Mohammed Awad, released a statement saying his ministry was holding talks with Egypt and other Arab states to convince them "to pressure Israel into stopping its crimes against the Palestinian people".
The Gazan government also called for an urgent meeting of the Arab League to discuss finding "the proper mechanism" to stop Israeli strikes. On Thursday Hamas spokesman Taher Nunu said the organization would also appeal to the UN because Israel was not honoring a lull agreement.
Palestinian ambassador to the UN, Riyad Mansour, also called on the Security Council to affect an end to the fighting in Gaza. He met with the ambassadors of China, South Africa, Lebanon, and Portugal to ask for UN intervention
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