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August 8th, 2014
04:49 AM ET

Cease-Fire Ends, Fighting Returns

Israel reported rocket fire from Gaza on Friday as a three-day cease-fire in the region came to an end without an agreement to extend it.

More than 18 rockets were fired at Israel after the 72-hour cease-fire expired at 8 a.m. Friday (1 a.m. ET), the Israel Defense Forces said. Two of the rockets were intercepted, 14 hit open areas and two came down in Gaza, the IDF said.

Hamas, the Islamic militant group that holds power in Gaza, said that Palestinian officials at talks in Cairo hadn't agreed to extend the truce but would continue negotiations.

But Israeli government spokesman Mark Regev told CNN that the resumption of rocket fire means Hamas has "broken the fundamental premise of the talks in Cairo." Israel had said Thursday it was willing to extend the truce unconditionally.

Two militant factions who have fought alongside Hamas in Gaza, Islamic Jihad and the Al-Nasser Salah al-Din Brigades, said they had fired rockets at Israel on Friday.

It wasn't immediately clear how the Israeli military would respond to the rocket fire. The IDF pulled its ground forces out of Gaza on Tuesday but said they were maintaining "defensive positions" around the territory.

Roughly three hours before the truce was due to end, the IDF said two rockets fired from Gaza had hit southern Israel, without causing any casualties. "Terrorists have violated the cease-fire," the IDF wrote on Twitter.

It was unclear who in Gaza, where multiple militant factions are active, launched the two rockets, which landed near Eshkol in southern Israel.

Hamas denies responsibility for the rockets fired before the cease-fire ended, said Sami Abu Zuhri, a spokesman for the group. The allegations "are based on Israeli reports aimed at confusing the situation," the Gaza-based spokesman said.

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