Two-Hour Gaza Truce Falls Apart Shortly After It Begins as Fighting Resumes

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
July 20 2014 11:55 AM

Two-Hour Gaza Truce Falls Apart Shortly After It Begins as Fighting Resumes

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Part of a destroyed ambulance is seen strewn along a street following an Israeli military offensive on the Shejaiya neighborhood.

Photo by MOHAMMED ABED/AFP/Getty Images

A two-hour so-called humanitarian truce in Gaza fell apart not long after it began on Sunday. The mutually agreed to temporary ceasefire to allow for the evacuation of the wounded began at 1:30 p.m. local time, but the BBC reports the brief respite from the fighting didn’t even last an hour before shots were again being fired. Both sides blamed the other for reneging on the deal. “Israel's military said its forces were shot at shortly after the two-hour truce, facilitated by the Red Cross, had begun at 1:30 pm, and that it had resumed combat operations,” Reuters reports.

The ceasefire targeted Gaza's Shejaiya neighborhood, which was bombarded by Israeli forces overnight, killing at least 40 and wounding 400 others, according to Agence France Presse. “The intensity of the bombardment prevented emergency services from accessing the neighbourhood and dead bodies lay in the streets as thousands fled in terror,” AFP reports.

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Here’s more on the state of Shejaiya from the BBC’s correspondent on the ground:

When we arrived at the edge of the neighbourhood, Palestinians were still fleeing in their hundreds: carrying nothing but their children, some pausing to vent their anger in front of cameras. They spoke of bodies lying in the street and the wreckage of buildings, including a mosque. After a night of ferocious bombardment, they seem traumatised and stunned. For three days, Israel had warned them to leave their homes, but Shejaiya is home to 80,000 people. Most stayed put, not expecting the ferocity of last night's bombardment.

The Israeli offensive, now in its twelfth day, “has killed at least 360 Palestinians and wounded some 3,000,” according to NPR.  “At least eight Israelis have been killed in the latest fighting.”

Elliot Hannon is a writer in Washington, D.C. Follow him on Twitter.

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