72-Hour Israel/Hamas Ceasefire Collapses in 90 Minutes

by Ian Tuttle

It took less than two hours for the 72-hour ceasefire negotiated by U.S. secretary of state John Kerry to collapse. The New York Times reports:

Lt. Col. Peter Lerner, a spokesman for the Israeli military, said that government forces were moving to destroy a tunnel, as the terms of the cease-fire allowed for, when several militants came out of the ground.

Colonel Lerner said the militants included at least one suicide attacker, that there was an exchange of fire on the ground and that initial indications were that a soldier was apparently dragged back into the tunnel. He was unable to offer details about the soldier’s condition or whether others were killed in the attack. He said the episode began at around 9.30 a.m., about 90 minutes after the 72-hour cease-fire came into effect. . . .

Moussa Abu Marzouk, a senior official in the political wing of Hamas, the Islamic group that dominates Gaza, told the Turkish news media that Hamas had taken a soldier captive but claimed the event took place before the cease-fire began.

Fighting between Israel and Hamas is ongoing, undermining planned negotiations for peace in Cairo. A Palestinian official tells NBC News that Egypt, in light of Hamas’s actions abnegating the ceasefire, has refused to receive the Palestinian delegation, which consists of Hamas, West Bank–based Fatah, and Palestinian Islamic Jihad, among other groups.

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