Airstrikes, rockets as Gaza truce collapses

2014-08-09 09:49

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Gaza City – Israeli airstrikes struck more than 20 targets today in the Gaza Strip as rocket fire continued toward Israel following the collapse of a three-day truce aimed at ending the war between Israel and Hamas.

Hamas resumed their rocket attacks yesterday, shortly before the 72-hour truce expired, drawing a wave of Israeli airstrikes that killed at least five Palestinians.

The fighting shattered a brief calm in the month-long war and dealt a blow to Egyptian-led efforts to secure a long-term ceasefire between the bitter enemies.

Hamas officials said the Israel airstrikes today hit houses, mosques, its warehouses and training sites. A handful of rockets landed this morning in Israel.

More than 1 900 Gazans have been killed in the four-week war, about three-quarters of them civilians. Israel disputes that breakdown, saying more militants have been killed. Sixty-seven people have been killed on the Israeli side, including three civilians.

The war grew out of the killing of three Israeli teens in the West Bank in June. Israel blamed the killings on Hamas and launched a massive arrest campaign, rounding up hundreds of its members in the West Bank, as Hamas and other militants unleashed rocket fire from Gaza.

On July 8, Israel launched an air campaign on the coastal territory, sending in ground troops nine days later to target rocket launchers and cross-border tunnels built by Hamas for attacks inside Israel.

A delegation of Palestinian negotiators remained in Cairo in hopes of salvaging the talks. But participants said the negotiations were not going well. The Palestinian delegation met again late yesterday with Egyptian mediators.

Azzam al-Ahmad, head of the Palestinian delegation, said the delegation would stay in Egypt until it reaches an agreement that “ensures” the rights of the Palestinian people. “We told the Egyptians we are staying,” he told reporters.

The Israeli delegation to the Cairo talks left Egypt yesterday morning. It was not clear if it would return.

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