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Hamas requests additional 24-hour cease-fire as rocket fire continues

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Hamas asked for an additional 24-hour humanitarian cease-fire, after Israel called off its own 24-hour  unilateral cease-fire due to continued rockets fired from Gaza.

Hamas requested a 24-hour humanitarian cease-fire to begin at 2 p.m. on Sunday through Robert Serry, the United Nations envoy to the Middle East Peace Process.

“In response to U.N. intervention and considering the situation of our people and the occasion of Eid, it has been agreed among resistance factions to endorse a 24-hour humanitarian calm, starting from 2 p.m. on Sunday,” Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri told Reuters.

Rockets from Gaza continued to be fired at Israel after 2 p.m.

Israeli officials indicated that Israel would not recognize Hamas’ request until it stopped firing rockets, according to reports.

Israel observed a 12-hour humanitarian cease-fire  from 8 a.m. on Saturday, during which time Gaza civilians stocked up on essential supplies and buried their dead.

Israel offered to extend the cease-fire by four hours, and later by 24 hours but was rebuffed in the form of rockets fired from Gaza. Israel continued to observe a cease fire until mid-Sunday morning when volleys of rockets led the security Cabinet to order the Israel Defense Forces to continue its strikes on Gaza.

Israel’s security Cabinet Friday unanimously rejected a cease-fire proposal made by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, which was seen as giving Hamas significant concessions, and not giving Israel the right to continue to seek out and destroy terror tunnels.

Also on Sunday, an Israeli reservist soldier died from injuries sustained Saturday night in Gaza, bringing the Israel Defense Forces death toll in the military operation to 43.

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