Humanitarian cease-fire called by Israel marred by rocket fire

Marcy Oster

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israel is observing a seven-hour unilateral humanitarian cease-fire.

Monday’s “humanitarian window” is set to last until 5 p.m., according to the Israel Defense Forces.

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The cease-fire does not include Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip, which has seen heavy fighting in recent days as Israeli troops continue to search for tunnels leading from Gaza to Israel, the IDF said before the start of the humanitarian window.

“If the truce is breached, the military will return fire during the declared duration of the truce,” Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories, Maj.-Gen. Yoav Mordechai, said.

“The calm Israel declared is unilateral and aims to divert attention away from the Israeli massacres. We do not trust such a calm and we urge our people to exercise caution,” Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri told the international media.

Palestinians blamed Israel of breaking the cease-fire less than two hours after it began, saying an eight-year-old girl was killed and some 30 people wounded in an IDF strike on the Shati refugee camp in northern Gaza.

Several rockets have been fired into southern Israel during the hours of quiet.

At least 1,788 Palestinians have been killed since the beginning of Israel’s Gaza operation on July 8. Nearly 270,000 have displaced, according to the United Nations Works and Relief Agency.