Hamas fires rockets, ending 12-hour lull

KARIN LAUB IAN DEITCH Associated Press Published:

BEIT HANOUN, Gaza Strip -- Hamas resumed rocket fire Saturday on Israel after rejecting Israel's offer to extend a humanitarian cease-fire, the latest setback in international efforts to negotiate an end to the Gaza war.

Despite the Hamas rejection, Israel's Cabinet decided to extend a truce for 24 hours, until midnight (2100 GMT) Sunday. However, it warned that its military would respond to any fire from Gaza and would continue to demolish Hamas military tunnels during this period.

A temporary lull on Saturday saw Palestinians return to neighborhoods reduced to rubble and allowed medics to collect close to 150 bodies, Palestinian health official Ashraf al-Kidra. With the retrieval of the corpses, the number of Palestinians killed reached 1,047 in 19 days of fighting, while more than 6,000 were wounded, he said.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and European foreign ministers in Paris, had hoped to transform the cease-fire into a more sustainable truce. That effort was thrown into doubt with the Hamas' rejection of the extension.

Taliban fighters swarm checkpoints: Attacks across Afghanistan, including hundreds of Taliban fighters swarming police checkpoints across the south, killed at least 15 people Saturday, officials said, as a recount in the country's presidential election halted before a major holiday. The Taliban attacks focused on Kandahar province, where Taliban fighters killed six police officers in assaults on some 15 checkpoints, said Dawa Khan Menapal, a spokesman for the provincial governor. Menapal said reinforcements later arrived to combat the Taliban fighters and the combat continued into Saturday night. In Helmand province, a bomb hidden inside a motorcycle killed four civilians and wounded four others in Marjah district, said Omer Zwak, a spokesman for the governor of Helmand province.

Hollande wants remains returned: French President Francois Hollande said Saturday in Paris he wants the remains of all passengers on the Air Algerie plane that fell from the sky and disintegrated to be brought to France and the site of this week's catastrophe marked with a memorial to the 118 who died. UN peacekeepers in Mali found the second black box of the Air Algerie plane at the remote disaster site in the north, and the French president said the data and voice recorders must be analyzed as quickly as possible to determine the cause of the crash early Thursday. Nearly half of the victims, 54, were French and Hollande has taken a leading role in the aftermath, stressing the need to determine the cause of the crash in a storm, without ruling out any possibilities.

Ebola can spread by air travel: Nigerian health authorities raced to stop the spread of Ebola on Saturday after a man sick with one of the world's deadliest diseases brought it by plane to Lagos, Africa's largest city with 21 million people. The fact that the traveler from Liberia could board an international flight also raised new fears that other passengers could take the disease beyond Africa due to weak inspection of passengers and the fact Ebola's symptoms are similar to other diseases. Officials in the country of Togo, where the sick man's flight had a stopover, also went on high alert after learning that Ebola could possibly have spread to a fifth country. Screening people as they enter the country may help slow the spread of the disease, but it is no guarantee Ebola won't travel by airplane, according to Dr. Lance Plyler, who heads Ebola medical efforts in Liberia. "Unfortunately the initial signs of Ebola imitate other diseases," he said.

Airplane hits truck: A small airplane with engine trouble struck a pickup truck during an emergency landing on a Nevada highway Saturday morning, authorities said. At least two people were aboard the plane and two people were in the truck when the collision occurred about 9 a.m. on a rural, two-lane section of Nevada 445 about 20 miles north of Reno, Nevada Highway Patrol Lt. Kevin Honea said. All four escaped with minor injuries, Honea said. "Anytime you hear about a plane versus car, you're thinking the worst," Honea said. "I'm happy to report that nobody had to be transported to the hospital." The truck was heading north on the 40-mile-long highway, which links the Reno area and a desert lake. The plane, an experimental Thunder Mustang, was forced to land on the highway after losing power, FAA spokesman Allen Kenitzer said.

Want to leave your comments?

Sign in or Register to comment.