Tue., 9:33am: PLO offers truce as at least 100 killed in Gaza
GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip – A senior PLO official proposed a 24-hour humanitarian cease-fire Tuesday in the Gaza war, saying he spoke in the name of Hamas, but was contradicted a short while later by a spokesman of the Islamic militant group.
In Gaza, a health official said at least 100 Palestinians were killed in Israeli airstrikes and tank shelling Tuesday, as Israel escalated its military campaign. The official, Ashraf al-Kidra, said the day’s death toll was expected to rise.
There have been several instances in which the daily Gaza death toll in more than three weeks of Israel-Hamas fighting has surpassed 100.
Israel has lost 53 soldiers, along with two civilians and a Thai national.
Tuesday’s cease-fire offer was made by the Palestine Liberation Organization, of which Hamas is not a member. The largest group in the PLO is the Fatah movement of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, Hamas’ main political rival.
However, the PLO’s secretary-general, Yasser Abed Rabbo, said the offer came after consultations with Hamas and Islamic Jihad, a smaller militant group in Gaza. Palestinian officials said Abbas has been in touch in recent days with Khaled Mashaal, the top Hamas leader in exile.