Belfast Telegraph

Friday 27 March 2015

Gaza crisis: Israel resumes rocket strikes on Gaza after truce bid fails - Palestinian death toll approaches 200

Smoke rises after Israeli missile strikes hit the northern Gaza Strip, Wednesday, July 16, 2014. (AP Photo/Adel Hana) - PEOPLE MAY FIND SOME OF THESE IMAGES DISTRESSING
Smoke rises after Israeli missile strikes hit the northern Gaza Strip, Wednesday, July 16, 2014. (AP Photo/Adel Hana) - PEOPLE MAY FIND SOME OF THESE IMAGES DISTRESSING
Palestinians mourn over the lifeless bodies of four boys from the same extended Bakr family, covered with yellow flags of Fatah movement, in the mosque during their funeral in Gaza City, Wednesday, July 16, 2014. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)
The bodies of Palestinians, killed in various Israeli airstrikes in the Rafah area, southern Gaza Strip, lie in the Rafah hospital morgue's cold storage, Wednesday, July 16, 2014.(AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)
A Palestinian mourner carries the body of Ibrahim Ramadan Abu Daga, 10, killed while in a vehicle hit by a Israeli missile strike in Khan Younis, southern Gaza Strip on Wednesday, July 16, 2014. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)
YAHUD MONOSON, ISRAEL - JULY 16: People mourn during the funeral of Dror Khenin at a cemetary on July 16, 2014 in Yahud Monoson, Israel. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
YAHUD MONOSON, ISRAEL - JULY 16: People mourn during the funeral of Dror Khenin at a cemetary on July 16, 2014 in Yahud Monoson, Israel. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
YAHUD MONOSON, ISRAEL - JULY 16: People mourn during the funeral of Dror Khenin at a cemetary on July 16, 2014 in Yahud Monoson, Israel. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
ASHDOD, ISRAEL - JULY 16: The Iron Dome air-defense system fires to intercept a rocket over the city of Ashdod on July 16, 2014 in Ashdod,Israel.(Photo by Ilia Yefimovich/Getty Images)
ASHDOD, ISRAEL - JULY 16: Debris remains after a rocket from Gaza directly hit a house in the city of Ashdod on July 16, 2014, Israel. (Photo by Ilia Yefimovich/Getty Images)
ASHDOD, ISRAEL - JULY 16: Debris remains after a rocket from Gaza directly hit a house in the city of Ashdod on July 16, 2014, Israel. (Photo by Ilia Yefimovich/Getty Images)
A Palestinian talks on a mobile phone as he walks on the rubble of a damaged house following an overnight Israeli missile strike in Gaza City, Tuesday, July 15, 2014 (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)
A Palestinian walks on the rubble from a damaged house following an overnight Israeli missile strike in Gaza City, Tuesday, July 15, 2014.(AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)
Activist Phil McCullagh holds a sign reading "Hope" in Arabic as crowds attend a white line picket on the Falls Road in Belfast organized by the Belfast Friends of Palestine in opposition to the Israeli Bombing of Gaza. Niall Carson/PA Wire
Crowds attend a white line picket on the Falls Road in Belfast organized by the Belfast Friends of Palestine in opposition to the Israeli Bombing of Gaza. Niall Carson/PA Wire
A Thai-Muslim activist puts a sticker on her face during a rally outside the Israeli embassy in Bangkok, Thailand Tuesday, July 15, 2014. Several hundreds of activists took part in the rally to show solidarity for Palestine against Israel's attacks on Gaza. (AP Photo/Apichart Weerawong)
A Thai-Muslim girl waves a small Palestinian flag as her parents attend a rally outside the Israeli embassy in Bangkok, Thailand Tuesday, July 15, 2014. Several hundreds of activists took part in the rally to show solidarity for Palestine against Israel's attacks on Gaza. (AP Photo/Apichart Weerawong)
Thai-Muslim activists hold up banners during a rally outside the Israeli embassy in Bangkok, Thailand Tuesday, July 15, 2014. Several hundreds of activists took part in the rally to show solidarity for Palestine against Israel's attacks on Gaza. (AP Photo/Apichart Weerawong)
Filipino Muslims pause for a 15-minute prayer to pay their respects to Palestinian people who were killed in the Israeli air strikes in Gaza, during a rally outside the Israeli Embassy at suburban Taguig city, east of Manila, Philippines Tuesday, July 15, 2014. On Tuesday, Egypt proposes temporary ceasefire to allow for talks which both sides considering it. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)
An Israeli soldiers walks by a military vehicle near the Israel Gaza Border, early Tuesday, July 15, 2014. The Israeli Cabinet has accepted an Egyptian proposal for a cease-fire to end a week of conflict with Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip that has killed 185 Palestinians and exposed millions of Israelis to Hamas rocket fire. No Israelis have been killed as a result of Hamas rocket launches. A senior Hamas official says the Palestinian militant group rejects an Egyptian proposal for a cease-fire with Israel. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)
Israeli soldier sleep beside a military vehicle near the Israel Gaza Border, early Tuesday, July 15, 2014. The Israeli Cabinet has accepted an Egyptian proposal for a cease-fire to end a week of conflict with Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip that has killed 185 Palestinians and exposed millions of Israelis to Hamas rocket fire. No Israelis have been killed as a result of Hamas rocket launches. A senior Hamas official says the Palestinian militant group rejects an Egyptian proposal for a cease-fire with Israel. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)
Israeli soldiers work on their tanks near the Israel Gaza Border, early Tuesday, July 15, 2014. The Israeli Cabinet has accepted an Egyptian proposal for a cease-fire to end a week of conflict with Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip that has killed 185 Palestinians and exposed millions of Israelis to Hamas rocket fire. No Israelis have been killed as a result of Hamas rocket launches. A senior Hamas official says the Palestinian militant group rejects an Egyptian proposal for a cease-fire with Israel. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)
Israeli soldiers wait atop their military vehicle near the Israel Gaza Border, early Tuesday, July 15, 2014. The Israeli Cabinet has accepted an Egyptian proposal for a cease-fire to end a week of conflict with Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip that has killed 185 Palestinians and exposed millions of Israelis to Hamas rocket fire. No Israelis have been killed as a result of Hamas rocket launches. A senior Hamas official says the Palestinian militant group rejects an Egyptian proposal for a cease-fire with Israel. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)
A Palestinian inspects the rubble from a damaged house following an overnight Israeli missile strike in Gaza City, Tuesday, July 15, 2014. Egypt presented a cease-fire plan Monday to end a week of heavy fighting between Israel and Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip that has left at least 185 people dead, and both sides said they were seriously considering the proposal. The late-night offer by Egypt marked the first sign of a breakthrough in international efforts to end the conflict. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)
A Palestinian looks at the damage to a house following an overnight Israeli missile strike in Gaza City, Tuesday, July 15, 2014. Egypt presented a cease-fire plan Monday to end a week of heavy fighting between Israel and Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip that has left at least 185 people dead, and both sides said they were seriously considering the proposal. The late-night offer by Egypt marked the first sign of a breakthrough in international efforts to end the conflict. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)
Smoke rises after an Israeli missile strike in Gaza City, Tuesday, July 15, 2014. Egypt presented a cease-fire plan Monday to end a week of heavy fighting between Israel and Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip that has left at least 185 people dead, and both sides said they were seriously considering the proposal.The late-night offer by Egypt marked the first sign of a breakthrough in international efforts to end the conflict. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)
Smoke rises after an Israeli missile strike in Gaza City, Tuesday, July 15, 2014. Egypt presented a cease-fire plan Monday to end a week of heavy fighting between Israel and Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip that has left at least 185 people dead, and both sides said they were seriously considering the proposal.The late-night offer by Egypt marked the first sign of a breakthrough in international efforts to end the conflict. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)
Smoke rises after an Israeli missile strike in Gaza City, Tuesday, July 15, 2014. Egypt presented a cease-fire plan Monday to end a week of heavy fighting between Israel and Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip that has left at least 185 people dead, and both sides said they were seriously considering the proposal.The late-night offer by Egypt marked the first sign of a breakthrough in international efforts to end the conflict. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)
Former British Prime Minister and Mideast Envoy Tony Blair, gestures as he speaks during joint statements with Israel's President Shimon Peres at the President's residence in Jerusalem, Tuesday, July 15, 2014. The Israeli military says Gaza militants have fired three rockets that caused no casualties or damage near the southern Israeli city of Ashkelon, since the deadline passed for the start of a cease-fire proposed by Egypt. (AP Photo/Sebastian Scheiner)
Israelis and tourists watch the sky on the beach during a rocket attack fired by Palestinian militants from the Gaza Strip on July 15, 2014 in Tel Aviv, Israel.(Photo by Lior Mizrahi/Getty Images)
Israelis and tourists watch the sky on the beach during a rocket attack fired by Palestinian militants from the Gaza Strip on July 15, 2014 in Tel Aviv, Israel.(Photo by Lior Mizrahi/Getty Images)
Israelis relax on the beach on July 15, 2014 in Tel Aviv, Israel. (Photo by Lior Mizrahi/Getty Images)
SDEROT, ISRAEL - JULY 15: Limes hang from a lime tree covered in dust after a Hamas rocket landed in the front yard of a home on July 15, 2014 in Ashdod, Israel. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
ASHDOD, ISRAEL - JULY 15: Homefront Command member helmets sit while they clean up rubble from a home after a Hamas rocket landed in the front yard on July 15, 2014 in Ashdod, Israel. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
ASHDOD, ISRAEL - JULY 15: A Homefront Command member clears shattered glass from a frame after a Hamas rocket landed across the street on July 15, 2014 in Ashdod, Israel. As operation 'Protective Edge" enters it's eighth day of airstrikes by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) across the Gaza Strip, Egypt has this morning tabled a ceasefire agreement proposing a halting of fighting starting at 9am. Once violence has ceased, the proposal calls for Israel to open a border crossing into Gaza to allow the movement of goods and people. Israel has accepted the Egyptian proposal for a truce, however it is thought Hamas has rejected the deal. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
ASHDOD, ISRAEL - JULY 15: Homefront Command members clean up rubble from a home after a Hamas rocket landed in the front yard on July 15, 2014 in Ashdod, Israel. As operation 'Protective Edge" enters it's eighth day of airstrikes by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) across the Gaza Strip, Egypt has this morning tabled a ceasefire agreement proposing a halting of fighting starting at 9am. Once violence has ceased, the proposal calls for Israel to open a border crossing into Gaza to allow the movement of goods and people. Israel has accepted the Egyptian proposal for a truce, however it is thought Hamas has rejected the deal. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
ASHDOD, ISRAEL - JULY 15: Officials stand around a home after a Hamas rocket landed in the front yard on July 15, 2014 in Ashdod, Israel. As operation 'Protective Edge" enters it's eighth day of airstrikes by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) across the Gaza Strip, Egypt has this morning tabled a ceasefire agreement proposing a halting of fighting starting at 9am. Once violence has ceased, the proposal calls for Israel to open a border crossing into Gaza to allow the movement of goods and people. Israel has accepted the Egyptian proposal for a truce, however it is thought Hamas has rejected the deal. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
ASHDOD, ISRAEL - JULY 15: Women look at their neighbor's home after a Hamas rocket landed in the front yard on July 15, 2014 in Ashdod, Israel. As operation 'Protective Edge" enters it's eighth day of airstrikes by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) across the Gaza Strip, Egypt has this morning tabled a ceasefire agreement proposing a halting of fighting starting at 9am. Once violence has ceased, the proposal calls for Israel to open a border crossing into Gaza to allow the movement of goods and people. Israel has accepted the Egyptian proposal for a truce, however it is thought Hamas has rejected the deal. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
ASHDOD, ISRAEL - JULY 15: A woman inspects rubble from a home after a Hamas rocket landed in the front yard on July 15, 2014 in Ashdod, Israel. As operation 'Protective Edge" enters it's eighth day of airstrikes by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) across the Gaza Strip, Egypt has this morning tabled a ceasefire agreement proposing a halting of fighting starting at 9am. Once violence has ceased, the proposal calls for Israel to open a border crossing into Gaza to allow the movement of goods and people. Israel has accepted the Egyptian proposal for a truce, however it is thought Hamas has rejected the deal. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
ASHDOD, ISRAEL - JULY 15: A man inspects rubble from a home after a Hamas rocket landed in the front yard on July 15, 2014 in Ashdod, Israel. As operation 'Protective Edge" enters it's eighth day of airstrikes by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) across the Gaza Strip, Egypt has this morning tabled a ceasefire agreement proposing a halting of fighting starting at 9am. Once violence has ceased, the proposal calls for Israel to open a border crossing into Gaza to allow the movement of goods and people. Israel has accepted the Egyptian proposal for a truce, however it is thought Hamas has rejected the deal. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
ASHDOD, ISRAEL - JULY 15: Homefront Command members clean up rubble from a home after a Hamas rocket landed in the front yard on July 15, 2014 in Ashdod, Israel. As operation 'Protective Edge" enters it's eighth day of airstrikes by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) across the Gaza Strip, Egypt has this morning tabled a ceasefire agreement proposing a halting of fighting starting at 9am. Once violence has ceased, the proposal calls for Israel to open a border crossing into Gaza to allow the movement of goods and people. Israel has accepted the Egyptian proposal for a truce, however it is thought Hamas has rejected the deal. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
ASHDOD, ISRAEL - JULY 15: A crater from a Hamas rocket is seen in the front yard of a home on July 15, 2014 in Ashdod, Israel. As operation 'Protective Edge" enters it's eighth day of airstrikes by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) across the Gaza Strip, Egypt has this morning tabled a ceasefire agreement proposing a halting of fighting starting at 9am. Once violence has ceased, the proposal calls for Israel to open a border crossing into Gaza to allow the movement of goods and people. Israel has accepted the Egyptian proposal for a truce, however it is thought Hamas has rejected the deal. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
ASHDOD, ISRAEL - JULY 15: A man inspects a shattered car window caused by a Hamas rocket on July 15, 2014 in Ashdod, Israel. As operation 'Protective Edge" enters it's eighth day of airstrikes by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) across the Gaza Strip, Egypt has this morning tabled a ceasefire agreement proposing a halting of fighting starting at 9am. Once violence has ceased, the proposal calls for Israel to open a border crossing into Gaza to allow the movement of goods and people. Israel has accepted the Egyptian proposal for a truce, however it is thought Hamas has rejected the deal. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
JERUSALEM , ISRAEL - JULY 14: Isreali citizens of the south watching the meeting of President Shimon Peres with International Quartet Special Envoy Tony Blair during a press conference on July 15, 2014 in Jerusalem, Israel. .As operation 'Protective Edge' enters it's eighth day of airstrikes by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) across the Gaza Strip, Egypt has this morning tabled a ceasefire agreement proposing a halting of fighting starting at 9am. Once violence has ceased, the proposal calls for Israel to open a border crossing into Gaza to allow the movement of goods and people. Israel has accepted the Egyptian proposal for a truce, however it is thought Hamas has rejected the deal. (Photo by Ilia Yefimovich/Getty Images)
JERUSALEM, ISRAEL - JULY 15: International Quartet Special Envoy Tony Blair seen during a press conference with Isreali President Shimon Peres on July 15, 2014 in Jerusalem, Israel. . As operation 'Protective Edge' enters it's eighth day of airstrikes by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) across the Gaza Strip, Egypt has this morning tabled a ceasefire agreement proposing a halting of fighting starting at 9am. Once violence has ceased, the proposal calls for Israel to open a border crossing into Gaza to allow the movement of goods and people. Israel has accepted the Egyptian proposal for a truce, however it is thought Hamas has rejected the deal. (Photo by Ilia Yefimovich/Getty Images)
JERUSALEM, ISRAEL - JULY 15: Isreali President Shimon Peres ( R ) seen during a meeting with International Quartet Special Envoy Tony Blair ( L ) during a press conference on July 15, 2014 in Jerusalem, Israel. . As operation 'Protective Edge' enters it's eighth day of airstrikes by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) across the Gaza Strip, Egypt has this morning tabled a ceasefire agreement proposing a halting of fighting starting at 9am. Once violence has ceased, the proposal calls for Israel to open a border crossing into Gaza to allow the movement of goods and people. Israel has accepted the Egyptian proposal for a truce, however it is thought Hamas has rejected the deal. (Photo by Ilia Yefimovich/Getty Images) ***BESTPIX***
SDEROT, ISRAEL - JULY 15: An Israeli soldier stands on top of an armored personnel carrier near the Israeli-Gaza border on July 15, 2014 near Sderot, Israel. As operation 'Protective Edge" enters it's eighth day of airstrikes by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) across the Gaza Strip, Egypt has this morning tabled a ceasefire agreement proposing a halting of fighting starting at 9am. Once violence has ceased, the proposal calls for Israel to open a border crossing into Gaza to allow the movement of goods and people. Israel has accepted the Egyptian proposal for a truce, however it is thought Hamas has rejected the deal. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
SDEROT, ISRAEL - JULY 15: Israeli soldiers sleep next to armored personnel carriers near the Israeli-Gaza border on July 15, 2014 near Sderot, Israel. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
Left wing Israelis take part in a protest against Israel's military operation in the Gaza Strip on July 14, 2014 in Jerusalem, Israel. Israel's operation 'Protective Edge' is in its seventh day with the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) carrying out massive airstrikes across the Gaza Strip. Reports say at least 170 people have been killed in Gaza, with the majority being civilians. (Photo by Lior Mizrahi/Getty Images)
Left wing Israelis take part in a protest against Israel's military operation in the Gaza Strip on July 14, 2014 in Jerusalem, Israel. Israel's operation 'Protective Edge' is in its seventh day with the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) carrying out massive airstrikes across the Gaza Strip. Reports say at least 170 people have been killed in Gaza, with the majority being civilians. (Photo by Lior Mizrahi/Getty Images)
Left wing Israelis take part in a protest against Israel's military operation in the Gaza Strip on July 14, 2014 in Jerusalem, Israel. Israel's operation 'Protective Edge' is in its seventh day with the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) carrying out massive airstrikes across the Gaza Strip. Reports say at least 170 people have been killed in Gaza, with the majority being civilians. (Photo by Lior Mizrahi/Getty Images)
SDEROT, ISRAEL - JULY 14: Israelis look for outgoing rocket fire from Gaza and wait for Israeli airstrikes from a hill overlooking the Gaza Strip on July 14, 2014 in Sderot, Israel. 'Protective Edge' has entered a seventh day as the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) continue to carry out massive airstrikes across the Gaza Strip with reports suggesting over 166 people have been killed, the majority of whom are civilians. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
Right wing Israelis demostrate in support of Israel's operration in the Gaza Strip on July 14, 2014 in Jerusalem, Israel. Israel's operation 'Protective Edge' is in its seventh day with the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) carrying out massive airstrikes across the Gaza Strip. Reports say at least 170 people have been killed in Gaza, with the majority being civilians. (Photo by Lior Mizrahi/Getty Images)
Right wing Israelis demonstrate in support of Israel's operation in the Gaza Strip on July 14, 2014 in Jerusalem, Israel. Israel's operation 'Protective Edge' is in its seventh day with the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) carrying out massive airstrikes across the Gaza Strip. Reports say at least 170 people have been killed in Gaza, with the majority being civilians. (Photo by Lior Mizrahi/Getty Images)
Right wing Israelis demonstrate in support of Israel's oprration in the Gaza Strip on July 14, 2014 in Jerusalem, Israel. Israel's operation 'Protective Edge' is in its seventh day with the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) carrying out massive airstrikes across the Gaza Strip. Reports say at least 170 people have been killed in Gaza, with the majority being civilians. (Photo by Lior Mizrahi/Getty Images)
A right wing Israeli holds an Israeli flag during a demonstration in support of Israel's operation in the Gaza Strip on July 14, 2014 in Jerusalem, Israel. Israel's operation 'Protective Edge' is in its seventh day with the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) carrying out massive airstrikes across the Gaza Strip. Reports say at least 170 people have been killed in Gaza, with the majority being civilians. (Photo by Lior Mizrahi/Getty Images)
Right wing Israelis demonstrate in support of Israel's operation in the Gaza Strip on July 14, 2014 in Jerusalem, Israel. Israel's operation 'Protective Edge' is in its seventh day with the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) carrying out massive airstrikes across the Gaza Strip. Reports say at least 170 people have been killed in Gaza, with the majority being civilians. (Photo by Lior Mizrahi/Getty Images)
Right wing Israelis demonstrate in support of Israel's operation in the Gaza Strip on July 14, 2014 in Jerusalem, Israel. Israel's operation 'Protective Edge' is in its seventh day with the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) carrying out massive airstrikes across the Gaza Strip. Reports say at least 170 people have been killed in Gaza, with the majority being civilians. (Photo by Lior Mizrahi/Getty Images)
Right wing Israelis demonstrate in support of Israel's operation in the Gaza Strip on July 14, 2014 in Jerusalem, Israel. Israel's operation 'Protective Edge' is in its seventh day with the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) carrying out massive airstrikes across the Gaza Strip. Reports say at least 170 people have been killed in Gaza, with the majority being civilians. (Photo by Lior Mizrahi/Getty Images)

Renewed fire from the Gaza Strip has claimed its first Israeli fatality in more than a week of fighting, police said, after both sides resumed firing following the failure of an Egyptian truce proposal.

An Israeli man in his 30s was delivering food to soldiers at the Erez Crossing with Gaza when he was struck by a mortar, police said.

Nearly 200 Palestinians have been killed in strikes in Gaza since Israel launched the campaign more than a week ago to stop rocket fire at its citizens.

Gaza militants have fired more than 1,100 rockets towards Israel in the fighting, but no Israelis were killed until today, largely thanks to the Iron Dome defence system.

Police said at least 15 Israelis, including several children, have been injured by the Palestinian rocket fire since the fighting began.

Islamic militant group Hamas rejected the Egyptian plan and Gaza militants launched scores of rockets at Israel, which after halting fire for hours finally responded with what Hamas security said were more than two dozen air strikes.

The speedy resumption of violence, less than a day after Egypt presented its ceasefire plan, illustrated that it will be harder than in the past to negotiate an end to Israel-Hamas fighting.

A key difference to a previous truce in 2012 is that Hamas does not trust the current rulers of Egypt who deposed a Hamas-friendly government in Cairo a year ago.

Palestinian health officials say 194 Palestinians have been killed and more than 1,400 wounded over the past week.

Hamas believes it has little to lose by continuing to fight while a truce on unfavourable terms could further weaken its grip on the Islamic group in the Gaza Strip, a territory it seized in 2007.

The Egyptian plan asked both sides to halt hostilities without preconditions and then to try to negotiate a new border regime easing the blockade of Gaza, with Cairo's mediation.

Hamas wants a significant easing of the blockade, enforced by Israel and Egypt by varying degrees since 2007.

Egypt tightened the closure over the past year by shutting down smuggling tunnels that were crucial for Gaza's economy, pushing Hamas into a severe financial crisis.

Israel agreed to the Egyptian plan and for about six hours complied with an Egyptian call for de-escalation. But after the continued rocket fire from Gaza, Israel resumed air strikes at its previous heavy pace.

After the renewed rocket fire from Gaza, Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu and defence minister Moshe Yaalon "directed the military to act with intensity against terror targets in Gaza", said an Israeli official.

Further reading

Gaza fire kills first Israel victim

Three held over Palestinian killing

Israel 'set for ground offensive'

 

COMMENT RULES: Comments that are judged to be defamatory, abusive or in bad taste are not acceptable and contributors who consistently fall below certain criteria will be permanently blacklisted. The moderator will not enter into debate with individual contributors and the moderator’s decision is final. It is Belfast Telegraph policy to close comments on court cases, tribunals and active legal investigations. We may also close comments on articles which are being targeted for abuse. Problems with commenting? customercare@belfasttelegraph.co.uk

Latest News

Latest Sport

Latest Showbiz