UK's Hammond urges Hamas to accept humanitarian truce

24th July 2014, Comments 0 comments

British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond on Thursday called on Hamas to accept an unconditional humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza as the death toll in the 17-day conflict with Israel topped 770.

Hammond spoke at a news conference in Cairo after meeting Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, whose government has pushed for a truce in the neighbouring Palestinian enclave.

"Hamas must agree to a humanitarian ceasefire without preconditions for the sake of the people of Gaza," Hammond said, pledging five million pounds Sterling (around 6.3 million euros, $8.4 million) in aid.

The Islamist Hamas, which controls the impoverished Gaza Strip, has rejected a ceasefire proposal by Egypt, instead demanding a comprehensive agreement before it agrees to a truce.

Hamas's chief Khaled Meshaal insisted on Wednesday on a ceasefire only after Israel ends its eight-year siege of the territory.

The 17-day conflict has killed more than 770 Palestinians, many of them civilians.

Israel, which initially accepted a truce, has said it will keep up its military campaign aimed at eliminating tunnels Gaza militants have used in attacks.


© 2014 AFP

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