Efforts to restore ceasefire in Gaza underway   2011-08-20 22:39:43 FeedbackPrintRSS

by Fares Akram, Osama Radi

GAZA, Aug. 20 (Xinhua) -- After two days of intensified violence, Palestinian militants and Israel cooled down on Saturday amid international calls for restraint. However, some Palestinian militant groups still vowed to take revenge.

The Israeli airstrikes and Palestinian rocket firing notably scaled down Saturday. The Israeli attacks have killed at least 14 Palestinians since Thursday and the Gaza militant groups have fired dozens of Grad and locally-produced rockets into Israel.

Egypt's Ambassador to the Palestinian territories Yasser Othman said his country were making intensive efforts with all parties to restore the shaky truce reached after Israel's Operation Cast Lead in January 2009.

"In this regard, Israel must stop its attacks and operations in Gaza first, so the Palestinian factions can respond to the calmness," Othman added.

Othman also noted that Israel and the Palestinian groups have informed Egypt that they are willing to cool down the situation, but he was unable to confirm when the truce will be officially declared.

The violence flared after Israel said that activists from Gaza had taken part in planning Thursday's attacks in the Red Sea resort of Eilat, in which eight Israelis were killed.

Hours after the Eilat bombings, Israel hit a house in the southern Gaza Strip town of Rafah, killing the leader of the Popular Resistance Committees (PRC) and three of his assistants.

On Saturday, two Palestinian militant groups rejected the efforts to restore ceasefire with Israel.

The PRC, which also lost several militants over the past two days in the Israeli raids, said rockets will continue to fall on Israel.

"We cannot talk about calmness under the Israeli military escalation," said Abu Mujahed, a spokesman for the PRC.

The Islamic Jihad movement also rejected to abide by the ceasefire. "The Palestinian resistance will take its right and will force (Israel) to pay a high price," said Abu Ahmad, a spokesman for the armed wing of the movement.

An Islamic Jihad member was killed late Friday in an Israeli airstrike that targeted his motorbike in Gaza City. A five-year- old boy and a civilian were also killed in that attack.

Hamas, the Islamic movement which controls Gaza and has been seeking to maintain lull, denied any involvement of Gazans in the Eilat attacks.

Meanwhile, Hamas has been persuading the Palestinian factions to stop rocket attacks to avoid a large-scale retaliatory Israeli military operation, sources said.

Editor: Mu Xuequan
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