Gaza conflict: Fresh ceasefire hopes after 50 days of fighting

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New attempts are being made to achieve an elusive truce, as the Gaza conflict reached the sad landmark of 50 days of fighting on Tuesday.

Rocket fire resumed towards Israel from daybreak with a strike on a house in the southern coastal town of Ashkelon. Several people were lightly wounded.

Hamas said it had fired rockets at Tel Aviv, at least one of which was shot down by Israel’s Iron Dome Interceptor.

For its part, Israel has continued to pound Gaza. In pre-dawn attacks, at least two Palestinians were killed and much of one of the territory’s tallest apartment and office buildings was reportedly destroyed.

Palestinian health officials say 2,125 people, most of them civilians, including more than 490 children, have been killed in Gaza since July 8, when Israel launched an offensive with the declared aim of ending rocket fire into its territory.

Sixty-four Israeli soldiers and four civilians in Israel have been killed.

As the casualties continue to mount, Cairo’s latest peace initiative apparently calls for the immediate opening of Gaza’s crossings with Israel and Egypt to aid reconstruction efforts in the coastal strip. This would be followed by talks on a longer-term easing of the blockade.

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