Gaza bomb disposal team hit by blast

Aug 13, 2014, 7:51 AM EDT
GAZA BORDER, ISRAEL - AUGUST 03: Israeli tanks line up after soldiers return from Gaza on August 3, 2014 near the border with Gaza, Israel. As Operation Protective Edge enters its 27th day, a large amount of Israeli ground troops are believed to have left the Gaza Strip. Credit Ilia Yefimovich/Getty Images
Ilia Yefimovich/Getty Images

Six people were killed in the Gaza Strip when an Israeli missile exploded amid attempts to dismantle it. The BBC states:

The dead included two journalists - an Italian and a Palestinian - and a number of bomb disposal officers.

The incident happened in the town of Beit Lahiya, in the north of the Gaza Strip. It comes hours before a three-day ceasefire agreed between Israel and the Palestinians is due to expire.

Among those killed in Wednesday's explosion was Simone Camilli, a video journalist working for several international agencies, including Associated Press.

Some 2,000 people have died since the fighting in Gaza began on 8 July. Those killed include more than 1,900 Palestinians, mostly civilians, according to the UN.

Talks to end a month-long war between Israel and Gaza militants are "difficult," Palestinian delegates said on Tuesday, while Israeli officials said no progress had been made so far and fighting could soon resume. According to Reuters:

As a 72-hour ceasefire held for a second day, Palestinian negotiators held fresh talks with Egyptian intelligence following a meeting on Monday that lasted nine hours. Hamas, the Islamist group that dominates the Gaza Strip, and its allies are seeking an end to an Israeli and Egyptian blockade of the coastal Palestinian enclave.

"We are facing difficult negotiations," Hamas' leader in Cairo, Moussa Abu Marzouk, said on Twitter.

An Israeli official, who declined to be named, said the gaps between the sides were big. "There is no progress in the negotiations," the official said.

Within the talks, Mahmoud Abbas, president of the Palestinian Authority, has been a figure to watch. The New York Times reports:

Mr. Abbas is making a comeback as a major player in the Egyptian-mediated talks in Cairo to end the latest war in Gaza, and he is emerging as a potential linchpin for Israel, Egypt and Hamas as they seek new and lasting arrangements for that Palestinian coastal enclave.

Israel has no direct dealings with Hamas, which refuses to recognize Israel’s right to exist, and Egypt under President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi has turned hostile to the group. So Mr. Netanyahu told reporters here last week that cooperation with the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority was “important” for the reconstruction of Gaza and the flow of humanitarian aid.

He praised the authority for helping coordinate the second 72-hour cease-fire, which held for another day on Tuesday. And he has dropped his public condemnations of the Palestinian government.