UN Chief Welcomes Ceasefire, Urges Long-Term Truce

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urges Israel and Hamas to "avoid any steps which would lead to a return to violence."

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AFP and Arutz Sheva Staff,

Ban Ki-moon
Ban Ki-moon
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United Nations (UN) Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon Sunday welcomed the news of a fresh 72-hour ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, urging the two sides to work towards a longer-term truce.

Ban "expresses his strong hope that this will give the two sides, under Egyptian auspices, another chance to agree on a durable ceasefire for the benefit of all civilian populations and as a starting point to address the underlying grievances on both sides," a statement from his spokesman quoted by AFP said.

The UN chief "continues to urge all concerned to work constructively to this end and avoid any steps which would lead to a return to violence."

"The United Nations stands ready to assist in the implementation of an agreement that would consolidate peace and allow for much needed reconstruction and development of Gaza," the statement added.

Egypt, which has acted as a mediator in the conflict, has urged both sides to use the new truce to "reach a comprehensive and permanent ceasefire," after an earlier three-day truce ended Friday.

In the gap between ceasefires, warplanes hit more than 170 targets, killing at least 19 people, while Hamas and other Gaza terrorist groups fired at least 136 rockets at Israel, of which 93 hit and 13 were shot down, with the rest falling short inside Gaza, the army said.

Just moments before the ceasefire began at midnight Israel time, Hamas fired a barrage of rockets towards Israel, including Tel Aviv.

Residents of the Gush Dan region in central Israel reported hearing a loud explosion. Hamas later claimed it fired a long-range missile towards Tel Aviv.

Officials confirmed that a rocket indeed exploded in an open region, causing no physical injuries or damages.

Earlier, five rockets exploded in a community outside the Eshkol Regional Council. There were no physical injuries or damages.

As well, the Iron Dome anti-missile system intercepted two rockets over the city of Kiryat Malachi.

Two rockets were intercepted over Ashdod and another one was intercepted over the Merhavim Regional Council.

There were no physical injuries in any of the attacks.

Hamas played a double game Sunday, with its negotiators reportedly agreeing to a ceasefire in Cairo, and its terrorists in Gaza launching missiles at Israel. Israel insists that it will not negotiate under fire, but Hamas appeared to be trying to make it do so anyway.