- Recent Developments:
- Israel says it has resumed its war against Hamas in Gaza
- Israel says Hamas violated the ceasefire and opened fire on the Israeli border
- Palestinian media reported Israeli strikes across Gaza
Gaza/Tel Aviv, Dec. 1 (Reuters) – Israel’s military said on Friday it had resumed fighting Hamas in Gaza, accusing the Palestinian militant group of violating a seven-day temporary ceasefire by firing into the Israeli border.
A seven-day ceasefire, which began on November 24 and has been extended twice, allowed the exchange of dozens of hostages held in Gaza for hundreds of Palestinian prisoners and allowed humanitarian aid to enter the devastated coastal enclave.
Israel said it intercepted a rocket fired from Gaza, an hour before the truce was due to expire at 7 a.m. (0500 GMT).
Minutes before the deadline, warning sirens of rockets again sounded in Israeli areas near Gaza, the Israeli military said.
Palestinian media reported that Israeli airstrikes and artillery strikes followed the end of the ceasefire.
There was no immediate comment from Hamas or claim of responsibility for the launch.
Qatar and Egypt are making serious efforts to extend the ceasefire following Thursday’s latest batch exchange of eight hostages and 30 Palestinian prisoners.
Israel had previously agreed to free 10 hostages a day as a minimum and suspend its ground attacks and bombings.
“We are prepared for all possibilities…. Without that, we go back to war,” Mark Regev, an adviser to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, told CNN ahead of the ceasefire’s expiration.
Israel has vowed to destroy Hamas, which rules Gaza, while Israel says the gunmen have killed 1,200 people and taken 240 hostages.
Israel retaliated with heavy bombing and ground invasion. More than 15,000 Gazans have been confirmed killed, according to Palestinian health officials who are considered reliable by the United Nations.
Hostess Head Home
Thursday’s releases brought the total released during the ceasefire to 105 hostages and 240 Palestinian prisoners.
Among those freed were six women aged between 21 and 40. This includes a Mexican-Israeli dual citizen and 21-year-old Mia Schem, who holds both French and Israeli citizenship.
Photos released by the Israeli prime minister’s office show Schem, who was caught with others by Hamas at an outdoor music festival in southern Israel on October 7, embracing his mother and brother after being reunited at the Hatzerim military base in Israel.
The other two newly freed hostages are siblings Belal and Aisha al-Ziyadna, aged 18 and 17, respectively, the Israeli Prime Minister’s Office said. They were Bedouin Arab citizens of Israel and four members of their family were held hostage while milking cows on a farm.
One of Qatar’s leading negotiators, the career diplomat Abdullah al-Sulaiti, who helped broker the ceasefire through marathon shuttle talks, acknowledged in a recent Reuters interview the uncertain odds of keeping the guns quiet.
“Initially I thought that reaching an agreement would be a very difficult step,” he said in an article detailing the behind-the-scenes efforts for the first time. “I discovered that maintaining the contract was equally challenging.”
Israel agrees to protect civilians, Bilingen says
The ceasefire allowed some humanitarian aid into Gaza after much of the coastal enclave, home to 2.3 million people, was turned into wasteland by the Israeli offensive.
Israel’s Defense Ministry and the Palestinian Red Cross said more fuel and 56 truckloads of humanitarian supplies entered Gaza on Thursday.
But aid workers say supplies of food, water, medical supplies and fuel fall far short of what is needed.
At an emergency meeting in Amman, Jordan’s King Abdullah on Thursday urged UN officials and international groups to press Israel to allow more aid into the besieged region, delegates said.
When the cease-fire first took effect a week ago, Israel was preparing to shift the focus of operations from northern Gaza to southern Gaza after its seven-week offensive.
US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, in Israel on his third visit to the Middle East since the start of the war, told Netanyahu that Israel could not repeat the massive civilian casualties in southern Gaza and the displacement of residents in the north.
“We discussed the details of Israel’s current planning, and I underscored the U.S. imperative to ensure that the mass loss of civilian life and displacement we saw in northern Gaza does not recur in the south,” Blinken told reporters in Tel Aviv. .
“And the Israeli government agreed with that approach,” he said. This includes concrete measures and clear demarcation of safe zones to avoid damaging critical infrastructure such as hospitals and water facilities, he said.
Reporting by Nidal al-Mughrabi in Cairo, Mohammed Salem and Rolene Tafaqji in Gaza, Humera Pamuk in Tel Aviv, Ari Rabinovitch and Emily Rose in Jerusalem, Andrew Mills and Reuters Bureau in Doha; By Cynthia Osterman and Lincoln Feist; Editing by Raju Gopalakrishnan
Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
A veteran reporter with nearly 25 years of experience covering the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, including several wars and the signing of the first historic peace agreement between the two sides.
Humeyra Pamuk is a senior foreign policy correspondent in Washington, DC. He covers the US State Department and travels regularly with the US Secretary of State. During his 20 years with Reuters, he held posts in London, Dubai, Cairo and Turkey, covering everything from the Arab Spring and Syria’s civil war to multiple Turkish elections and the Kurdish insurgency in the southeast. In 2017, he won the Knight-Pagehatt Fellowship Program at Columbia University’s School of Journalism. He holds a BA in International Relations and an MA in European Union Studies.