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Jerusalem Anschlag 4. August 2014
Image: Reuters

'Gaza campaign is continuing'

August 4, 2014

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said the military campaign in the Gaza Strip "will only end when quiet and security is established" for Israelis. Meanwhile, French leaders have upped the pressure on Israel.


Israel's prime minister said on Monday that the military campaign in Gaza would continue, after a shaky seven-hour truce called by Israel drew to a close.

"The campaign in Gaza is continuing," Netanyahu said at the end of the humanitarian lull. "This operation will only end when quiet and security is established for the citizens of Israel for a prolonged period."

Israel began airstrikes on the Gaza Strip on July 8, with a ground offensive following on July 17, saying this was designed to destroy the network of tunnels dug by Palestinians in the blockaded enclave. These tunnels are sometimes used for attacks on Israeli forces.

Galerie - Tunnel Gazastreifen
Netanyahu said the tunnels were nearly destroyedImage: DAVID BUIMOVITCH/AFP/Getty Images

"What is about to conclude is the IDF [Israel Defense Force - the army] action to deal with the tunnels," Netanyahu said, without elaborating.

Palestinians accused the IDF of breaching its unilateral seven-hour lull on Monday, saying an attack on a Gaza City refugee camp just followed the start of the truce. The Israeli military disputed this, however, saying there had been no strikes since 10 a.m. (0700 UTC), when the truce began.

In Jerusalem, a man used an excavation vehicle to ram into an Israeli bus in what police described as a "terrorist attack." A police spokesman said an officer in the area opened fire and killed the attacker, and that a pedestrian was also killed.

Several past truce attempts during the Gaza conflict failed altogether, most recently an international 72-hour agreement announced for Friday that broke down in mutual recrimination from Israel and Hamas.

More than 1,800 Palestinians and over 60 Israelis have died since the fighting began.

France toughens tone

French politicians, marking 100 years since the outbreak of World War I on Monday, issued stern criticism of Israeli behavior in recent weeks. Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said the civilian casualties in Gaza were unacceptable.

"How many more deaths must there be to stop what must be called the carnage in Gaza? The tradition of friendship between France and Israel is old and Israel's right to security is total, but this right does not justify the killing of children and the massacre of civilians," Fabius said.

The foreign minister said a ceasefire and then a permanent two-state solution was needed for Israel and the Palestinian territories, saying this "should be imposed by the international community because, despite numerous attempts, the two sides have shown themselves to be incapable of concluding negotiations."

Demonstration in Paris
Several pro-Gaza protests have taken place across France in recent weeksImage: picture-alliance/dpa

At a World War I ceremony in Liege, French President Francois Hollande issued a grim list of conflicts around the world in the present day´, 100 years after German forces invaded Belgium. Hollande cited Ukraine, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and, finally, Gaza, saying the violence raging near Europe's borders called neutrality into question.

"How can we remain neutral, when in Gaza a deadly conflict endures for nearly a month? There is an obligation to act," Hollande said.

msh/ksb (AFP, AP, dpa, Reuters)

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