Intense clashes have broken out throughout the Gaza Strip as the Israeli military resumes its attack on Hamas.
The attack started at approximately 7 a.m. local time (05:00 GMT) on Friday, following unsuccessful attempts to prolong the week-long truce as the deadline passed.
Qatar and Egypt, who have been playing central roles in mediation efforts, were unable to make a deal in time to extend the truce. They were working on a plan to release hostages, maybe even Israeli men since fewer women and children were still held.
However, Qatar said that Israel’s resumption of attacks on Gaza had complicated its efforts in the ongoing negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians to restore the truce.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a released statement that fighting had resumed against Hamas because the militant group broke an agreement of the truce and “didn’t respect its obligation to release today [December 1st] all the abducted women and launched rockets towards the citizens of Israel.”
He pledged to “accomplish the targets of the fighting” and “to liquidate Hamas,” ensuring that Israeli citizens are never threatened by Hamas again.
Recall that the seven-day pause, which began on November 24, was extended twice, allowing for the exchange of 10 captives, including 80 Israelis held in Gaza for 240 Palestinian prisoners.
Interestingly, Al Jazeera anchors noted that during the pause period, Israel allegedly arrested almost as many Palestinians as it had released in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem.
The pause also allowed access to crucial aid into the Gaza strip. Nonetheless, the city is still short of food, water, medicine, and fuel supplies to cater for its 2.3 million inhabitants.
Presently, Gaza health ministry says 14 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza in the first two hours after the pause ended.