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US blames Hamas for ceasefire breach
Published Friday 01/08/2014 (updated) 02/08/2014 19:40
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Smoke rises from the coastal side of the Gaza Strip following a
Israeli controlled explosion of a tunnel, on August 1, 2014
(AFP Jack Guez)
WASHINGTON (AFP) -- The United States blamed Hamas for the breakdown of a ceasefire with Israeli forces Friday, accusing the Palestinian militant group of launching a "barbaric" attack to capture an Israeli soldier.

"This is an outrageous action and we look to the rest of the world to join us in condemning it," White House Deputy National Security Adviser Tony Blinken told MSNBC television.

The White House reacted after Israel ended a three-day truce only hours after it began, accused Hamas of ambushing its troops, and expressed fears that a soldier had been captured.

Hamas accused Israel of breaching the ceasefire after intensive shelling killed dozens of people in southern Gaza before and after the 8:00 a.m. start time, and denied that it had kidnapped an Israeli soldier, but Washington sided with its ally's version of events.

"The Israelis of course are reporting this morning that that ceasefire was broken," White House spokesman Josh Earnest told CNN.

"Apparently, Hamas individuals used the cover of a humanitarian ceasefire to attack Israeli soldiers and even to take one hostage. That would be a rather barbaric violation of the ceasefire."

Earlier, Gaza had enjoyed a brief respite after US Secretary of State John Kerry announced a "humanitarian truce," the longest of several agreed since the conflict broke out on July 8.

Starting from 8:00 a.m., it was supposed to mark a halt in the fighting that has killed over 1,500 on the Palestinian side, mostly civilians, and 63 Israeli soldiers and three civilians on the other.

Earnest said Kerry had called Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu from India to discuss steps toward restoring calm, and would consult "regional partners" and the United Nations.

"But again," the White House spokesman said. "This is a blatant, barbaric violation of a ceasefire agreement.

"For someone to use a humanitarian ceasefire agreement that is clearly in the humanitarian interests of innocent civilians on both sides in order to carry out an attack is a terrible thing.

"It is worthy of the strongest condemnation from the United States, and it certainly deserves the strong condemnation of the international community," he said.

'Incredibly fragile'

Blinken defended the US diplomacy leading up to the failed truce, denying that confusion between an Egyptian-led initiative and one from Turkey and Qatar had undermined peace efforts.

"The reason for going through Turkey, going through Qatar, is they have a relationship with Hamas. They need to use their influence with Hamas," he told MSNBC.

"The Egyptians had an initiative. The Israelis signed up to it repeatedly and that was a good basis for trying to move forward.

"But Secretary Kerry said last night in announcing this humanitarian pause that it was incredibly fragile and unfortunately we've seen the demonstration that that's true."

Both US officials defended Israel against the charge that its assault on Gaza had been needlessly reckless with civilian lives, while still expressing concern over the death toll.

"Israel holds itself to a very high standard, but what we've seen is that it's incredibly difficult to meet its very own high standard."

Over 60 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza so far on Thursday, the 25th day of the Israeli offensive on the Strip.

Ma'an staff contributed to this report
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1 ) Ben Gurion / halted
01/08/2014 18:23
why did kerry give israel 1 billion dollars to replenish its weapons supply for this war? hypocrite, ''there will be great liars''

2 ) Julie / USA
01/08/2014 18:53
"it's incredibly difficult" for iZrael to follow international law. actually, it's impossible. take the zionist bastards to the ICC, see what the prosecutor has to say about poor little izrahell's inability to be human.

3 ) Maureen / Australia
01/08/2014 19:07
"Barbaric." Hypocritical coming from the those who fund and approve Israel's aparheid thieving occupation. Was the soldier kidnapped or did he go AWOL?

4 ) Michael / Italy
01/08/2014 19:12
One only has to acknowledge that all the other Arab countries are silent and want Israel to win --- that is a powerful message and helpful. They finally picked the right side to win.

5 ) Ezra / US
01/08/2014 19:22
The US will always blame Hamas but the people of the world can see through the USs BS and we can smell it all over the world to.

6 ) Terry / Latvia
01/08/2014 19:35
US administration should shut up and do some serious introspection on the war crimes and killing of children they are abetting.

7 ) Citizen / Earth
01/08/2014 20:23
Has US done an investigation into who actually broke the ceasefire, or is US blindly believing what Israel says? I think everyone knows the answer by now. - One of the superpowers, quite possibly the most advanced one from a technological perspective, bowing in front of Israel. Shameful. Americans, you should be ashamed of yourselves for picking such leaders.

8 ) Mel / USA
01/08/2014 21:13
What would U expect USG to say?It waits daily for its AIPAC,ZOA script& lexicon permitted for press-conferences & a very NARROW SCRIPT & LEXICON too i.e. ROBOTIC ISRAELI ZIONISM.You can predict line & word what USG pro-Israeli Zionists are going to say,LOL! ROBOCALLS &ROBOSCRIPT! It's a HUGE embarassment &DANGER to global Jews even,who will feel the BACKLASH of fascist Israeli Zionism which DEEMS to speak for ALL Jews! Roboticas in ZOA MortonKlein :http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d5tlHsC5GQs

9 ) Tobias / USA
01/08/2014 21:23
Hopefully, the US and everyone else will finally learned
- What a ceasefire means to Hamas, and
- Stop pressuring Israel to accept one !!

10 ) Maureen / Australia
01/08/2014 22:50
Poor Obarma, his attempt at being a greater Zionist puppet was pathetic as he said,"no one would tolerate tunnels being built under their country for the purpose of terrorism..." Tunnels in Israel? What? And the Zionists didn't know?

11 ) Lez / New Zealand
02/08/2014 03:00
Kerry for Gods sake stop sucking up to the Israelie Gov.USA start being responsible You meddled in Vietnam ,Iraq ,SA and many others Start calming the waters or you could end up with another twin towers Big hearts bring peace Big guns bring Human misery

12 ) AKeenReader / UK
02/08/2014 09:45
Israel or US should provide aerial proof of the time of the so called attack. It may well be that Israeli soldier died during Israeli bombardment and lay dead in the so called tunnel. It's amazing that Isareli's provided poof of this capture but to date they haven't given us the outcome of their investigations of UNWRA school bombing. Why??? Instead they have created the soldiers capture to take the minds of the world from the horrific bombardment of UNWRA school.

13 ) Israeli / Uk
02/08/2014 15:34
Israel bombing tunnels ? More like hospitals , schools , playgrounds, kids, women, elderly, animals. Israel is a backward nation who thrive on the idea of oppression. Their is no better religion than the religion of Humanity.
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