Both sides blamed each other for the failure of the ceasefire


Israel and Hamas rejected international calls to renew an expired ceasefire on Saturday as airstrikes hit targets in Gaza and Palestinian groups fired volleys of rockets.

Smoke once again blanketed the sky over the northern Palestinian territory, whose Hamas government said 240 people had been killed since the lull in fighting expired early Friday and fighting resumed.

In Israel, the military’s Home Front Command reported 40 rocket alerts in the south and center of the country, and the Palestinian groups Hamas and Islamic Jihad announced “rocket attacks” on three Israeli communities near Gaza.

According to the United Nations, an estimated 1.7 million people in Gaza – about 80 percent of the population – have been displaced by the eight-week war.

Fadel Naim, chief physician at Al-Ahli Arab Hospital in Gaza City, said his mortuary had received 30 bodies since morning, including seven children.

“The planes bombed our houses: three bombs, three houses destroyed,” Nemr al-Bel, 43, told AFP, adding that he had counted 10 dead in his family and “13 more are still under the rubble.”

The population lacks food, water and other essential goods and many houses have been destroyed. UN agencies have declared a humanitarian disaster, although some aid trucks arrived on Saturday.

After the ceasefire between Israel and Hamas expired on Friday, Israel ordered NGOs not to bring aid convoys from Egypt through the Rafah border crossing, the Palestinian Red Crescent Society said.

But on Saturday, the charity said in a social media post that its Egyptian counterparts had managed to send a number of trucks.

Both sides blamed each other for breaking the ceasefire that allowed the release of 80 Israeli hostages in exchange for 240 Palestinian prisoners.

The ceasefire had been negotiated with the help of Qatar and support from Egypt and the United States, but on Saturday Israel said it would withdraw its negotiators from Doha after talks on a renewed cessation of hostilities reached an impasse.

“Following the impasse in negotiations and on the instructions of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Mossad chief David Barnea ordered his team in Doha to return to Israel,” the Israeli leader’s office said.

French President Emmanuel Macron called for “increased efforts for a permanent ceasefire” to release all hostages, allow more aid and ensure Israel’s security.

In an unprecedented attack on October 7, Hamas militants breached Gaza’s militarized border with Israel, killing about 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and taking about 240 Israelis and foreigners hostage, according to Israeli authorities.

In response, Israel pledged to eliminate Hamas and launched an air and ground campaign that killed more than 15,000 people, mostly civilians, say Hamas authorities, which rule Gaza.

Since the end of the pause, Israeli air, sea and ground forces have attacked more than 400 targets in Gaza, the army said on Saturday. The figure is roughly the same as the daily average number of attacks before the break, according to previously released military figures.

Warplanes hit “more than 50 targets in a large-scale attack in the Khan Yunis area” in the southern Gaza Strip, the military added.

Separately, members of an Israeli armored brigade “eliminated terrorist groups and directed fire at terrorist targets in the north of the Gaza Strip,” the military said.

Since the end of the ceasefire, Hamas has been firing rockets from Gaza into Israel.

International leaders and humanitarian groups condemned the return to fighting.

“I deeply regret that military operations have begun again in Gaza,” UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said on X, formerly Twitter.

Fighting also broke out again on Israel’s northern border.

The Lebanese group Hezbollah, which like Hamas is backed by Iran, said two of its members were killed in Israeli attacks on Lebanon on Friday as its fighters resumed attacks on Israeli targets following the end of the ceasefire.

The Israeli military said its artillery hit the sources of “missile fires” from Lebanon.

Syria said Israel carried out airstrikes near Damascus on Saturday. A Britain-based war monitor said two Syrian pro-Hezbollah fighters were killed in the attacks on “Hezbollah sites.”

Iran’s Revolutionary Guard accused Israel of killing two of its members in Syria who were said to be on an “advisory mission.”

In October last year, Hamas said it had restored relations with the Syrian government. Israeli attacks on targets in Syria have increased since the Israel-Hamas war began.

The week of the hostage-prisoner exchange brought tearful reunions of Israeli families with their released relatives and cheers on the streets of the Israeli-occupied West Bank as Palestinians were released from Israeli prisons.

Twenty-five other hostages, mostly Thais, were also released under separate agreements.

The Israeli army said Friday that 136 hostages were still being held in Gaza, including more than a dozen women.

The end of the break meant a bitter disappointment for the families of those still not released.

“We saw a chance for people to get out, be reunited with their families and resume their old lives,” said Ilan Zharia, the uncle of Eden Yerushalmi, 20, one of the women still held captive.

Romania said Israel reported that a Romanian-Israeli hostage had died in Gaza.

The Israeli military has released a map of “evacuation zones” in Gaza that would allow residents to “move away from certain locations if necessary for their safety.”

Residents of various areas of the Gaza Strip received text messages on Friday warning that “a devastating military attack on your territory” was imminent with the aim of eliminating Hamas.

But the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) questioned the usefulness of the map because it did not indicate where people should go.

“It is unclear how Gazans would access the map without electricity and despite repeated telecommunications outages,” OCHA added.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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