GAZA CITY, Palestinian Territories // Violence reverberated across Gaza on Monday with at least eight Palestinians killed in Israeli air strikes as Egypt proposed a new ceasefire that would open key crossings into the blockaded territory.
Since an earlier truce collapsed on August 19, the death toll in Gaza has risen steadily with 109 Palestinians killed in more than 350 Israeli air strikes.
The current death toll in Gaza stands at 2,128.
On the Israeli side, 68 people have been killed, most of them soldiers.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday Israel would hit any place from which militants were firing, including homes.
But by early Monday, there was increasing talk about a possible new ceasefire agreement which would see the delegations return to Cairo to discuss Egypt’s proposal to broker a longer-term end to the violence.
“There is an idea for a temporary ceasefire that opens the crossings, allows aid and reconstruction material, and the disputed points will be discussed in a month,” a senior Palestinian official said in Cairo.
“We would be willing to accept this, but are waiting for the Israeli response to this proposal,” he said.
Another Palestinian official said Egypt might invite Palestinian and Israeli negotiating teams to return to Cairo within 48 hours.
“Efforts are ongoing to reach an agreement,” Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said.
There was no immediate comment from Israel, with Mr Netanyahu’s spokesman Mark Regev saying Israel’s position of no negotiations under fire had “not changed”.
But Israeli science minister Yaakov Peri, a former head of the Shin Bet internal security agency, said if the rocket fire stopped, it was likely talks would resume.
Hamas, the de facto authority in Gaza, says any truce must provide for a lifting of Israel’s crippling eight-year blockade and the opening of a seaport and airport, while Israel has demanded Gaza be demilitarised.
Elsewhere, Iran said it would “accelerate” arming Palestinians in retaliation for Israel deploying a spy drone over Iran, which was shot down.
Iran, which does not recognise the existence of Israel, has confirmed it supplied Palestinian fighters from Hamas and the Islamic Jihad with the technology for the rockets being fired relentlessly into Israel from Gaza since July 8.
* Agence France-Presse