Israel Carries Out Strikes on Gaza After Rocket Fire Resumes

Israel Carries Out Strikes on Gaza After Rocket Fire Resumes

For residents of Gaza and southern Israel, the fleeting period of calm is over.

(CNN) -- For residents of Gaza and southern Israel, the fleeting period of calm is over.

The Israeli military said it carried out strikes on militant targets in Gaza on Friday in response to a barrage of rocket fire after a three-day truce in the region came to an end without a longer-term agreement.

At least 45 rockets were fired at Israel after the cease-fire expired Friday morning, the Israel Defense Forces said. Most of the rockets hit unpopulated areas, but one moderately injured a civilian and lightly injured a soldier, the IDF said.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon ordered the military to respond forcefully to the resumption in rocket fire, Israeli officials said. The IDF said it "targeted terror sites across the Gaza Strip."

Several explosions were heard in Gaza City as Israeli fighter jets flew overhead. Local media reported airstrikes elsewhere in the territory. One strike in Gaza City killed a 10-year-old boy, said Ashraf el-Qedra, a spokesman for the Palestinian Ministry of Health.

Hamas, the Islamic militant group that holds power in Gaza, said that Palestinian officials at peace talks in Cairo hadn't agreed to extend the truce but would continue negotiations.

But Israeli government spokesman Mark Regev told CNN that the resumption of rocket fire means Hamas has "broken the fundamental premise of the talks in Cairo."

The Israeli delegation arrived back from Egypt about an hour before the cease-fire ended, Israeli officials said.

Israel, which pulled its ground forces out of Gaza earlier this week, had said Thursday it was willing to extend the truce unconditionally.

Two militant factions -- Islamic Jihad and the Al-Nasser Salah al-Din Brigades -- who have fought alongside Hamas in Gaza under the banner of "the resistance" said they had fired rockets at Israel on Friday.

"The enemy ended the cease-fire when he refused to accept the demands of the resistance and he bears responsibility for the consequences of that," the military wing of Islamic Jihad said in a statement.

Roughly three hours before the truce was due to end, the IDF said two rockets fired from Gaza had hit southern Israel, without causing any casualties. "Terrorists have violated the cease-fire," the IDF wrote on Twitter.

It was unclear who in Gaza, where multiple militant factions are active, launched the two

Hamas denies responsibility for the rockets fired before the cease-fire ended, said Sami Abu Zuhri, a spokesman for the group. The allegations "are based on Israeli reports aimed at confusing the situation," the Gaza-based spokesman said.

The reports of rocket fire came as hopes faded for an agreement to extend the Egyptian-brokered cease-fire, which began Tuesday.

Under the truce, Israeli and Palestinian delegations held indirect talks in Cairo through Egyptian go-betweens. But the two sides appeared to be too far apart in their positions.

A Palestinian member of the negotiating delegation, not authorized to speak to the media directly about the talks, told CNN on condition of anonymity that the two sides failed to agree on the wording of a cease-fire extension that included the Palestinian demand for Israel to lift the blockade on Gaza. The official also indicated the Palestinian demands to open an airport and a seaport, and to release prisoners who had been released and rearrested in June, were declined by the Israeli negotiators.

Despite the lack of a breakthrough in the talks, Israel had said Thursday that it was willing to extend the cease-fire unconditionally. The country's military said earlier in the week that it had achieved its goal of destroying Hamas' network of tunnels that extends under the border into Israel.

But Hamas, one of several factions in the Palestinian delegation, said it wasn't content to continue to hold fire unless progress was made on its key demands.

"We are ready for the start of the battle again," the group's armed wing, the Al-Qassam Brigades, said in a statement before the reports of rocket fire from Gaza.

"We call upon the delegation of the Palestinian negotiating team that it does not extend the cease-fire without receiving an agreement in principle to the demands of our people, and especially the port," the statement said, referring to Hamas request for a seaport on the Mediterranean.

That demand raises serious security concerns for Israel, Dore Gold, a senior foreign policy adviser to Netanyahu, told CNN on Thursday.

Israel says Hamas must disarm as part of any larger deal that might lead to the end of border restrictions and greater economic freedom for Gaza residents.

Hamas, meanwhile, says the longstanding Israeli blockade of Gaza must end before a lasting peace deal can be reached.

As violence flared once again Friday, a senior PLO official said that cease-fire talks in Cairo were still possible and Israel should "lift the siege of Gaza immediately."

"Talks are not dead" Saeb Erakat, a veteran Palestinian negotiator told CNN.

The lack of a deal appears to be reviving a conflict that brought death and destruction to large areas of Gaza and thousands of rockets fired at Israel.

Renewed hostilities also deepen the misery for people in Gaza who were wounded, displaced or deprived of basic necessities by the first four weeks of fighting.

On Friday, the Palestinian Ministry of Health issued new casualty numbers for the conflict -- 1,893 deaths, including 446 children, and 9,805 injured.

It's unclear how many of the Palestinian dead were militants.

The United Nations has estimated that at least 70% of the dead were civilians. The Israel Defense Forces believes it killed about 900 militants -- roughly half of the dead.

Israeli officials have said 64 Israeli soldiers and three civilians in Israel died. Israel's Iron Dome missile defense system intercepted many of the rockets fired at populated areas of the country.

Additionally, about 65,000 Gaza residents lost their homes to the fighting, according to U.N. estimates. The territory is also short on running water, power and medical supplies.

"We have an emergency situation in Gaza," Erakat said.

Read more at CNN.

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