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Gaza clean-up begins at start of week-long truce

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Gaza clean-up begins at start of week-long truce


The bulldozers are doing the talking in Gaza today; not those of the Israeli army, but of the clean-up operation as Palestinians make the most of the week-long ceasefire. No one can be sure the fighting will not start again, or where, but shops still need to be opened and roads cleared.

There remain other, grislier, tasks as people return to homes flattened in the combat zone to extricate the last bodies, the mostly civilian victims of Israel’s three-week war on Hamas. It claims it lost only 48 fighters among the estimated 1300 fatalities. “The calm will not be any indicator of a stabilisation process unless Israel withdraws completely from the occupied Palestinian territories, and the people are granted their full rights,” said a Hamas spokesman. The Israelis insist their forces will be out of Gaza by tomorrow — coinciding with the Obama inauguration in the USA — and armour and men are on the move today. Any renewed rocket attacks on Jewish settlements are, however, likely to draw a swift response.

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