Gaza City, Aug 21 (AFP): A Hamas warning to foreign airlines to halt flights into Tel Aviv was to take effect today as a six-week war with Israel spiralled into further bloodshed after truce talks collapsed.
The warning came as Israeli warplanes carried out dozens of air strikes across Gaza again yesterday in response to multiple rocket attacks on southern Israel, as nine days of calm exploded into bloodshed.
The UN Security Council later urged Israel and the Palestinians to return to the negotiating table to quickly agree on a lasting truce in Gaza.
In a unanimously adopted statement, the 15-member council “called upon the parties to resume negotiations to urgently reach a sustainable and lasting ceasefire”.
The statement, drafted by France, was agreed after negotiations in Cairo teetered on the verge of collapse amid a fresh flare-up of violence in the war, which has killed more than 2,000 Palestinians since July 8.
The measure fell short of a full resolution, but diplomats signalled they would be ready to move toward a stronger response if the Egyptian-led peace track fails.
However the spokesman of the Hamas armed wing, Abu Obeida, said the group was abandoning efforts to negotiate a durable ceasefire with Israel.
“We are calling on the Palestinian delegation to withdraw immediately from Cairo and not to return,” Abu Obeida, said in a televised speech aired on Hamas’s Al-Aqsa TV channel.
“We are warning international airlines and press them to stop flying into Ben Gurion airport from 6 am (local time),” he announced, dressed in military fatigues with his face wrapped in a red-and-white chequered headscarf.
Last month, many international airlines briefly suspended flights into Tel Aviv after a Hamas rocket struck close to the airport.
Several thousand furious mourners poured onto the streets of Jabaliya refugee camp to bury the wife and infant son of the top commander of Hamas’s armed wing, baying for revenge.
Mohammed Deif, who has topped Israel’s most wanted list for more than a decade, escaped the assassination attempt, Hamas said.
The mourners, firing Kalashnikovs, buried Widad and her son Ali, who died alongside another woman and a teenager when a missile slammed into a six-storey building in Gaza City late on Tuesday.
Grief-stricken, Widad’s father Mustafa Harb Asfura carried his grandson into the mosque then to the cemetery, his body wrapped in a white sheet exposing his face with an injury to the eye.
“My daughter knew she would die a martyr when she decided to marry Mohammed Deif,” he told AFP.