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France claims Israel accepts peace plan, Gaza bombing starts again

Article published on the 2009-01-07 Latest update 2009-01-07 16:58 TU

An Israeli soldier stands atop a mobile artillery unit(Photo: Reuters)

An Israeli soldier stands atop a mobile artillery unit
(Photo: Reuters)

French President Nicolas Sarkozy on Wednesday afternoon claimed that Israel has accepted Egypt's peace plan for Gaza, although Israeli officials seemed more reticent than he suggested. After a three-hour break, Israeli bombardments killed two people in Gaza City, according to local people, while Palestinians fired rockets into Israel.

A senior aide to Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak will go to Cairo on Thursday to dicuss the Egyptian plan, according to the AFP news agency.

Earlier an official said that Israel viewed the proposal postively, while Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas said he is ready to travel to Cairo for talks, prompting Sarkozy to hail its acceptance by Israel and the Palestinians.

"The president warmly welcomes Israel and the Palestinian Authority's acceptance of the Franco-Egyptian plan presented yesterday evening by President Hosni Mubarak," Sarkozy's office said.

Sources in Hamas say that they are considering the plan.

Israel stopped bombing Gaza for three hours on Wednesday to allow residents to receive humanitarian aid.

Despite reports that the break will take place every day, government spokesperson Daniel Seaman says that "each day it will be evaluated according to the needs on the ground".

Talking to RFI, Seaman denied that there was a humanitarian crisis.

Reaction: Israeli government spokesperson Daniel Seaman

07/01/2009 by Philip Turle

But NGO worker Amjad Shawa insists that there is.

"In my home for the sixth day I have no water," he said before the short ceasefire. "I managed to go out just now to get some food for my family for the third day of the ground military operation in Gaza. It was very difficult because of the intensive bombardment."

Eyewitness: Amjad Shawa of the NGO network in Gaza City.

07/01/2009 by Philip Turle

In Iraq, radical Shia-Muslim leader Moqtada al-Sadr called for the resumption of attacks against American targets, as "revenge" for the US's support for Israel.