Four killed in Gaza as Egypt raises new truce proposal

Four killed in Gaza as Egypt raises new truce proposal
A ball of fire rises after an explosion on an apartment tower following an Israeli air strike in Gaza City, in the northern Gaza Strip.

GAZA CITY, Palestinian Territories - Violence reverberated across Gaza on Monday with four Palestinians killed in Israeli air strikes as Egypt proposed a new ceasefire that would open key crossings into the blockaded territory.

Since an earlier ceasefire arrangement collapsed on August 19, the death toll in Gaza has risen steadily with 106 Palestinians killed in more than 350 Israeli air strikes across the territory.

Over the same period, more than 650 rockets have struck Israeli territory, one of which killed a four-year-old boy over the weekend, army figures show. Around 100 rockets were shot down.

Since midnight, Israeli strikes have killed four Palestinians, including two women and a three-year-old boy, raising the Gaza death toll to 2,124.

On the Israeli side, 68 people have been killed, the vast majority soldiers.

Another 38 rockets fired from Gaza struck the Israeli south on Sunday, while another was shot down, army statistics showed.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday Israel would not be worn down by persistent rocket fire, warning it would hit any place from which militants were firing, including homes.

His remarks came as the air force stepped up its campaign against rocket fire, bombarding a 12-storey residential block.

But by early Monday, there was increasing talk about a possible new ceasefire agreement which would see the delegations return to Cairo to resume discussions on an Egyptian proposal to broker a more permanent end to the violence.

Waiting for Israel

"There is an idea for a temporary ceasefire that opens the crossings, allows aid and reconstruction material, and the disputed points will be discussed in a month," a senior Palestinian official told AFP in Cairo.

"We would be willing to accept this, but are waiting for the Israeli response to this proposal," he said, requesting anonymity because of the sensitivity of the negotiations.

Another Palestinian official said Egypt might invite Palestinian and Israeli negotiating teams to return to Cairo within 48 hours.

"Efforts are ongoing to reach an agreement," Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri told AFP, without going into specifics.

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