News Column

Hamas Breaks Gaza Truce, Israel Retaliates

August 19, 2014

Al Jazeera

Aug. 19--Israel has launched air strikes on "terrorism targets" in Gaza and recalled negotiators from Cairo after three rockets were fired from Gaza into Israel, as efforts to agree a permanent ceasefire appeared to unravel.

The Israeli military said that rockets landed in open areas near the town of Beersheeva. Sources told Al Jazeera that they were fired from nearby Shujayea.

Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, ordered his army to attack targets in Gaza, and recalled from Cairo negotiators who were involved in indirect talks with Palestinians on a permanent ceasefire.

"In response to Hamas's violation of the truce, the prime minister and defence minister have ordered the IDF [Israeli army] to once more attack terror sites in the Gaza Strip," a government official said.

The AP and AFP news agencies, quoting Palestinian and Israeli sources, reported air strikes in the north of the Gaza Strip, although there were no further details.

Hussam Badran, a Hamas spokesman in Doha, told Al Jazeera that the group could not confirm whether Hamas or any other factions fired rockets into Israel and that the next few hours would clarify the situation.

Palestinian and Israeli negotiatiors had been working towards a permanent ceasefire to end the latest Gaza war, in which more than 2,000 people have died. Most of the dead were Gazan civilians.

The rocket fire broke a temporary truce valid until midnight local time (9pm GMT on Tuesday).

Al Jazeera's Jacky Rowland, reporting from West Jerusalem, said: "This is the first time that rockets have been fired since late Wednesday, and come in the hours approaching the latest deadline for the ceasefire negotiations.

"It is a tense moment, bearing in mind that Netanyahu had warned any fire would be met by, in his words, 'a very aggressive response'."

Al Jazeera's 's Jayne Ferguson, reporting from the Jabaliya area of Gaza, said: "Those rockets were fired from the Shujayea area of Gaza. No group has claimed responsibility.

"This is the last thing anyone who hoped for a ceasefire deal wanted."


Al Jazeera and agencies


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Distributed by MCT Information Services

Original headline: Israel strikes Gaza targets after rocket fire

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Source: (c)2014 Al Jazeera (Doha, Qatar)

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