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'Truce' over after Israeli is killed by Hamas mortar

By Staff Reporter

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

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 put an end to 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 yesterday, 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.

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 had 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.

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