Gaza City: Israeli air strikes battered Gaza and militants fired rockets again on Saturday as deadly fighting resumed after a night of relative calm, despite efforts to secure a truce.
A new ceasefire proposal was circulated late Friday by Egypt, which has been mediating between the two sides, after a previous bid fell through, a Palestinian source said.
Israel on Saturday ruled out an immediate truce in Gaza, saying the onus was on Palestinian militants to stop launching rockets from an arsenal it suggested could be depleted within days, while its aircraft kept up strikes in the enclave.
Islamic Jihad’s armed wing said it would press on with rocket salvoes as fighting entered a fifth day. “The resistance prepared itself for months of confrontation,” Islamic Jihad said a statement.
From dawn, Gaza militants fired rockets, setting off sirens and sending Israelis across the border running to bomb shelters.
The current bout of violence erupted on Tuesday when Israeli air strikes on Gaza killed three leading Islamic Jihad members. Three other senior figures from the Palestinian militant group were killed in later strikes.
They are among at least 33 Palestinians killed in the fighting, according to Gaza’s health ministry, including children.
A rocket killed an elderly woman in the central Israeli city of Rehovot, rescue services said.
New ceasefire formula
Egypt, a historic mediator between Israel and Gaza’s factions, has been working on bringing an end to the fighting, the worst in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict since an August flare-up that killed nearly 50 Palestinians.
A Palestinian source on Friday said Gaza factions were studying Cairo’s new ceasefire formula, adding that Egypt was also waiting for Israel’s response.
Israeli public television meanwhile said an “improved” Egyptian ceasefire proposal had been handed to Israel.