In Gaza, Cease-Fire Expires As Rockets Fly
Smoke rises over Gaza City on Friday as Israel and Gaza militants resumed cross-border attacks after a three-day truce expired. Lefteris Pitarakis/AP
Just as the latest cease-fire expired, rockets flew into Israel from Gaza and Israel responded by ordering airstrikes in Gaza.
And just like that, a three-day negotiated peace came to an end. But NPR’s Jackie Northam, who is reporting from Jerusalem, tells us it’s still unclear if this renewed fighting is a sign of something broader.
“It’s uncertain whether this is a short-lived tit-for-tat or the start of another round of intense fighting,” Jackie says. “It’s also unclear what’s happening with the Cairo indirect peace negotiations. There are conflicting reports whether delegates from all sides are still in Egypt.”
In that vein, Haaretz reports that a senior Israeli official said that the “Cairo cease-fire talks will be frozen so long as Hamas is firing rockets at Israel.”
The New York Times reports that Hamas has not commented on the rocket fire, but “Islamic Jihad, another militant faction that has taken part in the fighting and is represented at the talks in Cairo, claimed responsibility for firing them.”
The newspaper adds:
“Sami Abu Zuhri, a spokesman for Hamas, wrote in an Internet posting on Friday morning that it did not accept an extension of the lull, adding, “We will continue negotiations.”
“Lt. Col. Peter Lerner, a spokesman for the Israeli military, said in a statement: ‘The renewed rocket attacks by terrorists at Israel are unacceptable, intolerable and shortsighted. Hamas’s bad decision to breach the cease-fire will be pursued by the I.D.F. We will continue to strike Hamas, its infrastructure, its operatives and restore security for the State of Israel.'”
According to the U.N., about 1,869 Palestinians have been killed during the more than month-long conflict. Sixty-seven Israelis have been killed.