Israel to debate French truce proposal for Gaza

December 31st, 2008 - 1:22 pm ICT by IANS  

Jerusalem, Dec 31 (DPA) Israel’s cabinet planned to meet later Wednesday to discuss a French proposal for a 48-hour truce in its assault on the Gaza Strip, as the Israeli warplanes continued its attacks, striking targets of the Hamas organisation in the salient overnight.Media reports Wednesday morning said Israel was hesitant about agreeing to the proposal for a “humanitarian” ceasefire, pointing out that the army was allowing some aid convoys to enter the Gaza Strip even as the fighting was going on.

Some ministers also feared that agreeing to the ceasefire would halt the momentum of the Israeli offensive, and allow Hamas to claim victory.

An Israeli military spokeswoman said that since midnight the Israel Air Force had attacked tunnels running under the Gaza-Egypt border, which Israel believes are used to smuggle weapons into the Strip. He said planes had also bombed Hamas offices including that of the Islamic movement’s leader, Ismail Haniya, and its ministry of interior.

Israel launched its “Operation Cast Lead” against Hamas Saturday morning, in response to massive rocket and mortar barrages on southern Israeli towns and villages since the end of a six-month ceasefire Dec 19.

The casualty toll of four days of Israeli airstrikes against Hamas targets in the densely populated strip has reached at least 360 dead and 1,700 injured.

Four Israelis have been killed by Hamas rocket attacks, and dozens more injured.

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