News World Bombs rain amid calls for truce
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Bombs rain amid calls for truce

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Israeli warplanes have pummelled Gaza with 50 air strikes that killed eight Palestinians as militants slammed 24 rockets into Israel amid mounting calls for a fresh ceasefire.

Britain, France and Germany on Saturday urged Israel and Hamas to agree a truce at once.

“We call upon all parties immediately to return to a ceasefire. We fully support the ongoing efforts by Egypt to this end,” a statement from foreign ministers Laurent Fabius of France, Philip Hammond of Britain and Frank-Walter Steinmeier of Germany read.

A Palestinian official said that indirect negotiations for a ceasefire in Gaza were expected to resume in Cairo on Sunday with an Israeli delegation scheduled to arrive in the city, where a Palestinian team and Egyptian mediators are waiting.

An Israeli official said talks could not take place until Palestinian rocket fire came to a halt.

“The Egyptian initiative was based on two stages in a consecutive order,” he said on condition of anonymity.

“First, unconditional ceasefire, and after the implementation of an unconditional ceasefire there would be discussions in Cairo,” he said.

“The first stage has still not been implemented.”

Gaza emergency services said eight men were killed in Israeli raids – one in the southern Gaza town of Deir el-Balah, two in Rafah, two travelling by motorcycle through Al-Maghazi refugee camp and three pulled from the rubble of Al-Qassam mosque in the middle of the enclave.

The Palestinian interior ministry said Israeli jets destroyed three mosques. At least two of them were considered close to Hamas.

Gazan Ibrahim Taweel said the Israeli military telephoned him at 3am, warning him to evacuate his nearby home five minutes before the mosque was attacked.

“I couldn’t tell all my neighbours, so I evacuated myself and my neighbour and after five minutes an F-16 fired one rocket and after that a bigger rocket destroyed the mosque,” he said.

The army said 24 rockets rained on Israel, bringing to 62 the number of projectiles launched at the Jewish state since a 72-hour truce ended on Friday morning.

One Israeli civilian and a soldier were wounded on Friday.

Israel said it had carried out more than 100 strikes in Gaza since Friday morning, 49 of them on Saturday, targeting those responsible for the rocket fire.