Over 100 Palestinians Killed Friday As Israel, Hamas Fighters Resume Hostilities In Gaza
The Hamas-run health ministry said that at least 109 people had been killed in Gaza since the pause in hostilities expired on Friday morning and ground battles and Israel air strikes resumed.
Israel alleged that Hamas had attempted to break the truce even before it ended at 0500 GMT by firing a rocket and that it had failed to produce a list of hostages that could have been released on Friday in exchange for Palestinian prisoners.
But both the United Nations chief and the White House called for the break in fighting to be restored, and UN agencies warned of a “catastrophic” humanitarian situation as bombs fell and hospitals again struggled to cope with the wounded after a week-long respite.
“We continue to work with Israel, Egypt, and Qatar on efforts to extend the humanitarian pause in Gaza,” a White House National Security Council spokesperson said after US Secretary of State Antony Blinken left Israel following diplomatic efforts to shore up the truce.
In a social media post, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said: “I deeply regret that military operations have started again in Gaza. I still hope that it will be possible to renew the pause that was established.”
SaharaReporters earlier reported that Israeli authorities on Friday resumed war against Hamas in Gaza after accusing the Palestinian militant group of firing rockets at Israel and reneging on a deal to free all women held as hostages, violating their temporary truce agreement, Reuters reports.
There has been a seven-day ceasefire which began on November 24, 2023 and was extended twice to allow for the exchange of dozens of hostages held in Gaza for hundreds of Palestinian prisoners, as well as the entry of humanitarian aid into the devastated coastal strip.
Israel said it intercepted a rocket fired from Gaza an hour before the cease-fire was set to end at 7am. (0500 GMT).
Hamas made no immediate comment or claim of responsibility for the launch.
“With the resumption of fighting we emphasise: The Israeli government is committed to achieving the goals of the war – to free our hostages, to eliminate Hamas, and to ensure that Gaza will never pose a threat to the residents of Israel,” the office of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a statement.
“What Israel did not achieve during the fifty days before the truce, it will not achieve by continuing its aggression after the truce,” Ezzat El Rashq, a member of the Hamas political bureau, said on the group’s website.
After the truce expired, Palestinian media and the Gaza interior ministry reported Israeli air and artillery strikes across the enclave, including in Rafah, near the Egyptian border.
A Reuters witness said he could hear heavy shelling and see smoke rising in the east of Khan Younis, in the southern Gaza Strip. People were fleeing to camps west of Khan Younis for safety, he added.
According to Al-Jazeera, Israeli raids and shelling killed and injured a number of people.
The Israeli military confirmed that its jets had attacked Hamas targets in Gaza.
Images on social media showed large plumes of dark smoke rising above Gaza’s densely populated Jabalia camp.
In response to the militant group’s Oct. 7 rampage, which Israel claims killed 1,200 people and took 240 hostages, Israel has vowed to annihilate Hamas.
Israel retaliated with intense bombardment and a ground invasion. Palestinian health authorities deemed reliable by the United Nations say more than 15,000 Gazans have been confirmed killed.
Qatar and Egypt had been making intensive efforts to extend the truce following the exchange on Thursday of the latest batch of eight hostages and 30 Palestinian prisoners. (SaharaReporters)