Israel-Gaza conflict: Peace shattered by rocket fire and air strikes hours before ceasefire was due to end

Israel alleges that Hamas 'terrorists' broke truce by firing rockets from Gaza

A temporary truce between Israel and Hamas has collapsed once again after rockets were reportedly fired from the Gaza Strip hours before the latest ceasefire was due to end.

Israeli forces resumed bombing targets in Gaza after the alleged attack on Tuesday and ended negotiations that were hoped to bring an end to the latest conflict.

The Hamas rockets landed in open areas and caused no injuries and there were no immediate reports of casualties from air strikes in Gaza.

The Israeli Defence Forces said three rockets landed near the city of Beersheba and Netivot and it resumed strikes on “terror targets” in response.

“Terrorists have violated the ceasefire,” a tweet read shortly before 2pm.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has ordered Israel’s negotiating team to return home from talks with Hamas working towards a peace deal brokered by Egypt.

Israel started bombing Gaza with the start of Operation Protective Edge on 8 July, which the Government said was necessary to stop militants firing rockets from the coastal enclave.

Palestinians walk next to the ruins of houses on the fifth day of ceasefire in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip Palestinians walk next to the ruins of houses on the fifth day of ceasefire in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip The latest ceasefire lasted almost a week and had been successfully extended for a day until 9pm on Tuesday – midnight local time – to allow talks over a long-term truce.

It was not clear when or if the discussions will resume after today’s round of fighting comes to an end.

“This rocket attack on Beersheba is a grave and direction violation of the ceasefire,” Israeli government spokesman Mark Regev said.

Video: Gazans talk about hope for 'final agreement'

He refused to say whether Israel would stop negotiations in Cairo but officials have repeatedly said they will only negotiate if there is a “total and complete” stop to hostilities.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the rocket attacks but shortly before the reported launch, Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum appeared to hint at a launch, saying: “If Netanyahu doesn't understand [...]the language of politics in Cairo, we know how to make him understand.”

Hamas wants Israel to end a seven-year blockade that has ravaged its economy and Israel's primary aim is for Hamas to disarm.

An Egyptian compromise would see the blockade eased, rather than lifted, and let Hamas keep its arsenal but back the partial return of ousted Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to run border crossings and overseeing internationally-supported reconstruction efforts.

Jamal Shobaky, the Palestinian ambassador in Cairo, voiced disappointment with the Israeli stance, particularly on the question of the blockade.

“What the Israelis have offered so far in the talks is not removing the blockade but rather easing it,” he said.

An estimated 2,000 Palestinians have been killed in the conflict so far, the majority of them civilians, and Israel had lost 67 people including three civilians.

Additional reporting by Reuters and AP

Read more: Ceasefire extended amid warnings 'circle of violence' could resume 
‘Israel must stop punishing Gaza’s people,’ pleads UN commissioner
Hamas leadership considers ceasefire offer
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
  • Get to the point
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Digital Marketing Consultant

£28000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Digital Marketing Cons...

Recruitment Genius: Assistant Stores Keeper

£16640 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Assistant Stores Keeper is r...

Recruitment Genius: Claims Administrator

£16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developer - C# / ASP.NET / SQL

£17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Developer required to join a bu...

Day In a Page

'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before
'Queer saint' Peter Watson left his mark on British culture by bankrolling artworld giants

'Queer saint' who bankrolled artworld giants

British culture owes a huge debt to Peter Watson, says Michael Prodger
Pushkin Prizes: Unusual exchange programme aims to bring countries together through culture

Pushkin Prizes brings countries together

Ten Scottish schoolchildren and their Russian peers attended a creative writing workshop in the Highlands this week
14 best kids' hoodies

14 best kids' hoodies

Don't get caught out by that wind on the beach. Zip them up in a lightweight top to see them through summer to autumn
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The acceptable face of the Emirates

The acceptable face of the Emirates

Has Abu Dhabi found a way to blend petrodollars with principles, asks Robert Fisk