Friday, Oct 31, 2014

Gaza rockets fired as Israel-Hamas truce expires

A Palestinian plays in a courtyard near to destroyed buildings at a residential neighborhood, in Beit Lahiya, northern Gaza Strip. (Source: AP) A Palestinian plays in a courtyard near to destroyed buildings at a residential neighborhood, in Beit Lahiya, northern Gaza Strip. (Source: AP)
Associated Press | Gaza Strip | Posted: August 8, 2014 1:23 pm | Updated: August 8, 2014 1:33 pm

Gaza militants renewed rocket fire on Israel, after a three-day cease-fire expired on Friday and negotiations in Cairo on a new border deal for blockaded Gaza hit a deadlock.

The Israeli military said at least 17 rockets were fired at Israel from Gaza after the temporary truce expired at 8 a.m. (0500 GMT). Two rockets were intercepted over the city of Ashkelon, while the others hit open areas, the military said.

There was no immediate counter strike by the Israeli military and it was not immediately clear if the renewed fire from Gaza will derail indirect, Egyptian-brokered negotiations between Israel and Hamas on a long-term truce. Both sides are under intense international pressure to reach a deal.

As part of such an arrangement, Israel wants to see Hamas disarmed or prevented from re-arming, while Hamas demands Gaza’s borders be opened. No progress was reported in all-night talks that ended before dawn Friday.
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Sami Abu Zuhri, a Hamas spokesman in Gaza, said that while his group did not agree to an extension of the truce, it was willing to continue the talks.

Hamas, which has seen its popularity boosted for confronting Israel, entered the Cairo talks from a point of military weakness after losing hundreds of fighters, two-thirds of its rockets arsenal and all of its attack tunnels.

With no definitive statement that it would return to open war, the group appeared to be keeping its options open while several smaller Gaza militant organizations claimed responsibility for Friday’s rocket fire.

The Israeli delegation left Cairo on Friday morning, according to a Cairo airport official who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media.

Israeli government spokesman Mark Regev would not say whether Israel is interested in extending the cease-fire or if it will respond to the rockets.
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Regev blamed Gaza militants for breaking the cease-fire.

“The cease-fire is over,” Regev said. “They did that.”

The three-day truce came after a month of Israel-Hamas fighting, the third cross-border confrontation in just over five years.

Since July 8, Israeli strikes on Gaza killed nearly 1,900 Palestinians, wounded more than 9,000, devastated large areas along Gaza’s border with Israel and displaced tens of thousands of people. Sixty-seven people, all but three soldiers, were killed on the Israeli side, and Gaza militants fired thousands of continued…

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