Fresh strikes follow ceasefire extension in Gaza
Posted on Aug 14 2014 | IANS
Cairo/Jerusalem, Aug 14 : Palestinian militants launched more rockets into Israel prompting the Israelis to resume their strikes on Gaza Strip moments after the Egypt brokered five-day truce began between the two sides Thursday.
The new ceasefire took effect at midnight Thursday, immediately after the old 72-hour ceasefire expired, Efe reported.
According to reports from Cairo, Israel had announced its readiness to extend the earlier ceasefire but it was not known until the last minute whether Hamas would agree.
The two parties have been involved in another round of bloody warfare in Gaza since July 8.
Two hours before the earlier ceasefire was due to end, air raid sirens sounded once again in Israel after several rockets were launched from Gaza by Palestinian militants.
The Israelis reported that two rockets had fallen in the vicinity of Ashkelon, a town near the Gaza Strip, a couple of hours before midnight but Hamas quickly said that it had not launched the missiles.
Later, in a brief communique, the Israeli armed forces said that two more rockets launched from Gaza had fallen in the area of Eshkol.
There have been no reports of Israeli casualties so far.
According to Israeli radio, in the face of the renewed Palestinian rocket fire, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered the army to resume its attacks on the Gaza Strip.
An official with the Palestinian negotiating team told Efe that the two sides, despite the fact that they are not engaging in face-to-face talks in Cairo but rather are speaking through mediators, had been able to resolve several points, but some of the matters under discussion will require more time before their respective stances can be reconciled.
Israel launched its Operation Protective Edge July 8, which has so far claimed the lives of at least 1,938 Palestinians, mostly civilians, according to Palestinian health officials.
In Israel, 64 soldiers and three civilians were killed, according to Israeli military and police.