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Middle East

Both sides ignore UN truce call

Article published on the 2009-01-09 Latest update 2009-01-09 11:08 TU

An Israeli soldier fires a mortar towards Gaza(Photo: Reuters)

An Israeli soldier fires a mortar towards Gaza
(Photo: Reuters)

The Palestinian Islamic movement Hamas has rejected the UN Security Council's call for an "immediate, durable" ceasefire in Gaza, as Israel continues to bombard the territory. Fourteen of the Security Council's 15 members voted for the truce call, with the US abstaining.

"Even though we are the main actors on the ground in Gaza, we were not consulted about this resolution and they have not taken into account our vision and the interests of our people," top Hamas official Ayman Taha told the AFP news agency.

Others complained that it did not mention Palestinian "aspirations" to a viable state.

The Israeli army says that nine rockets have been fired into southern Israel on Friday, injuring one person.

Israel has staged at least 50 air strikes, which Palestinian emergency services say killed at least 12 civilians. The Israeli army said that it hit five rocket-launching sites, weapons stores and production facilities and Hamas command buildings. Navy artillery also fired on Gaza.

The UN Security Council called for an immediate ceasefire, leading to a "full withdrawal" of Israeli troops.

The US, which abstained in the vote, says that its army engineers are helping the Egyptian government detect tunnels, which are allegedly used to smuggle weapons and other contraband into Gaza.

Following the suspension of UN aid on Thursday, the International Committee of the Red Cross is temporarily restricting its Gaza operations to Gaza City after one of its vehicles was hit, injuring one person. Red Cross officials say they "very much believe" the shots were fired by the Israeli army.

The UN humanitarian affairs office, OCHA, on Friday accused Israeli forces of repeatedly shelling a house into which they had evacuated about 110 Palestinians 24 hours earlier.

It says that about 30 people, including several children, were killed in the shelling on 5 January and calls it "one of the gravest incidents since the beginning of operations" on 27 December.

The army says that it is investigating the charge.

Israel on Friday protested to the UN over the firing of rockets from Lebanon on Thursday, saying that it was "a gross violation" of the Security Council resolution passed at the end of the 2006 Israeli invasion of southern Lebanon.