Lull In Gaza Fighting As Biden Urges Truce In Eid Message

Lull in Gaza fighting as Biden urges truce in Eid message

Gaza Strip, (APP - UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - 17th Jun, 2024) Israel struck Gaza on Monday and witnesses reported blasts in the besieged territory's south, but fighting has largely subsided after a day of relative calm and as Muslims marked Eid al-Adha.

In a holiday message late Sunday, US President Joe Biden called for the implementation of a ceasefire plan he outlined last month, saying it was "the best way to end the violence in Gaza" and to help civilians suffering "the horrors of the war between Hamas and Israel".

A daytime "pause" for aid deliveries announced at the weekend by Israel's military around a southern Gaza route appeared to be holding, while elsewhere in the Palestinian territory an AFP correspondent said strikes and shelling have decreased.

In Gaza City, medics at Al-Ahli hospital said at least five people were killed in two separate air strikes, and witnesses reported tank shelling in the southern neighbourhood of Zeitun.

At least one strike hit Bureij refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip, residents said.

Palestinian officials in the far-southern city of Rafah reported tank shelling early on Monday, before the start of the daily "local, tactical pause of military activity" announced by the army.

It said the pause "for humanitarian purposes will take place from 8:00 a.m. (0500 GMT) until 7:00 p.m. (1600 GMT) every day until further notice along the road that leads from the Kerem Shalom crossing to the Salah al-Din road and then northwards".

An Israeli official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told AFP "there was no change" in the military's policy and stressed fighting "continues as planned".

An army spokeperson told AFP the pause was in effect on Monday, and the military in a statement said troops were still operating in Rafah and central Gaza, reporting "close-quarters combat" that killed several militants.

Witnesses told AFP they could hear blasts in Rafah's city centre and west on Monday morning.