Middle East

Israel resumes Gaza offensive after Hamas rockets

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Media caption"International efforts to prolong a ceasefire have failed here", reports Chris Morris from Gaza

The Israeli military says it is resuming air, ground and naval raids on Gaza as Palestinian militants continue to fire rockets after rejecting a humanitarian truce.

Israel had accepted a UN request for a 24-hour ceasefire, but warned it would act if it was breached by Hamas.

Hamas said it would not accept a truce unless Israeli troops left Gaza and the displaced were allowed to return home.

More than 1,000 Palestinians and 46 Israelis have been killed.

A majority of those killed in Gaza are civilians, Palestinian health officials say, while 43 soldiers and three civilians have died on the Israeli side.

On Saturday, many Gaza residents used the truce to gather supplies and retrieve bodies buried under rubble.

The extended ceasefire had been due to expire at midnight local time (21:00 GMT).

'Incessant rocket fire'

"Following Hamas' incessant rocket fire throughout the humanitarian window, which was agreed upon for the welfare of the civilian population in Gaza, the IDF [Israel Defense Forces] will now resume its aerial, naval and ground activity in the Gaza Strip," Israel's military said in a tweet on Sunday morning.

Israel's cabinet had decided to extend the humanitarian truce, which began on Saturday, until the end of Sunday.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Israel says its ground offensive in Gaza is aimed at destroying tunnels dug by militants to infiltrate Israel
Image copyright AP
Image caption Palestinian militants, seen here marching in the West Bank, continued to fire rockets despite the truce

However, there was no agreement from Hamas, which has accused Israel of using previous ceasefires to prepare more attacks. Hamas also claimed that there had been truce violations during Saturday

The Israeli military confirmed it would continue operations against tunnels used by Palestinian militants during the truce period.

On Sunday, IDF spokesman Lt Col Peter Lerner said raids would restart because of "flagrant violations of humanitarian remission by Hamas".

Correspondents in Gaza say there are heavy explosions in several districts. Palestinian eyewitnesses have reported heavy shelling to the east of Gaza City.

According to reports from Gaza, three Palestinians were killed shortly after Israeli air strikes resumed.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption A funeral is being held on Sunday for a Palestinian whose body was found in the rubble during the pause
Image copyright AFP
Image caption Many Gazans used the ceasefire to return to their houses and assess the damage
Image copyright EPA
Image caption Thousands of Israeli army reservists have been called up to take part in the campaign
Image copyright AP
Image caption Tel Aviv saw rival demonstrations for and against the military campaign - here anti-war protesters spell out the Arabic and Hebrew for "sorry" in candles

During the temporary truce, rocket sirens continued to sound across Israeli cities into Sunday. The IDF said some 20 rockets had been launched toward Israel since Saturday night.

It added that a soldier was killed by mortar shell fired from Gaza early on Sunday morning.

Foreign ministers from the US, Turkey, Qatar and several European countries held talks in Paris on Saturday, urging both sides to negotiate a longer-term ceasefire.

But Israeli cabinet minister Gilad Erdan later said a definitive deal looked remote, with no representatives from Israel, Egypt or the Palestinians attending the Paris talks.

Israel launched its military offensive on 8 July with the declared objective of stopping Hamas firing rockets from Gaza into Israel.

On 18 July, it extended operations with a ground offensive, saying it was necessary to destroy tunnels dug by militants to infiltrate Israel.

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