Israel announces resumption of combat in Gaza as truce with Hamas expires

Israeli military accused Hamas of breaking the ceasefire, while eyewitnesses reported heavy aircraft and drone activity in northwestern Gaza on Thursday morning

By AP, AFP

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Palestinians line up for food in Rafah, Gaza Strip, on November 30 during the temporary ceasefire between Israel and Hamas. — AP
Palestinians line up for food in Rafah, Gaza Strip, on November 30 during the temporary ceasefire between Israel and Hamas. — AP

Published: Fri 1 Dec 2023, 9:42 AM

Last updated: Fri 1 Dec 2023, 9:43 AM

Israel's military said it had resumed combat operations in the Gaza Strip minutes after a temporary truce with Hamas expired Friday, blaming the group for breaking the ceasefire.

The truce expired at 7am (9am, UAE time) on Friday. The halt in fighting began a week ago, on November 24. It initially lasted for four days, and then was extended for several days with the help of Qatar and fellow mediator Egypt.

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During the week-long truce, Hamas and other militants in Gaza released more than 100 hostages, most of them Israelis, in return for 240 Palestinians freed from Israeli prisons.

Virtually all of those freed were women and children, but the fact that few such hostages remained in Gaza complicated reaching a deal for a further extension.

AP
AP

Hamas had also been expected to set a higher price for the remaining hostages, especially Israeli soldiers. About 140 hostages remain in Gaza, with more than 100 having been freed as part of the truce.

Qatar and Egypt, which have played a key role as mediators had sought to prolong the truce by another two days.

Earlier today, the Israeli military said its missile defence system intercepted a rocket fired from Gaza — around an hour before a truce with Hamas was due to expire.

AP
AP

"Following the initial report regarding sirens sounded in communities near the Gaza Strip, the IDF (Israel Defense Forces) Aerial Defense Array successfully intercepted a launch from the Gaza Strip," the military said on its official Telegram account.

The rocket was the first launched from Gaza since a missile fired shortly into the first day of a truce that has lasted seven days, the military said.

Eyewitnesses reported heavy aircraft and drone activity in northwestern Gaza on Thursday morning, an AFP reporter said.

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