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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Mangled limbs wrapped in blood-stained rags were strewn across rooms in the school.
Run by the United Nations, the building was meant to be a refuge for more than 3,000 civilians fleeing the deadly conflict raging between Israel and Hamas in Gaza.
But shells hit it in the early morning hours as those inside slept, punching huge holes in the roof and killing at least 20 people, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry.
"We saw the shells when they hit and shrapnel was falling like rain," said Sanaa abu Gerard, a woman who witnessed the blasts. "I was so scared and the school filled with smoke. We poured water in our eyes just to see."
The deadly strike Wednesday underscores growing concerns that in Gaza, where fighting is taking place in densely populated areas, safe havens appear to be anything but safe.
It's the sixth time a facility run by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) has been struck in the current conflict, intensifying questions about the tactics being used by both sides in areas crowded with civilians.
"People who go to these places expect that they go there because they will be safe," said Pierre Krahenbuhl, the commissioner-general for UNRWA. "And here is the confirmation that it appears that there is nowhere where you can be safe."
The United Nations said it thinks the rounds that hit the school, in the Jabalya refugee camp in northern Gaza, were fired by Israeli artillery. The Israeli military said it is reviewing what happened, acknowledging that it exchanged fire with militants in the area.
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While the vast majority of casualties are Palestinians in Gaza, Israel continues to ward off rocket attacks from Gaza with its Iron Dome missile defense system. Israeli officials say they are committed to destroying tunnels used by Palestinian militants in Gaza to make their way into Israel.
A poll released this week showed 86.5% of Jewish Israelis surveyed say Israel cannot accept a cease-fire because "Hamas continues firing missiles on Israel, not all the tunnels have been found, and Hamas has not surrendered," according to the Jerusalem Post.
But Israel's incursion into Gaza has had ripple effects around the world. Chile, Peru, Brazil and Ecuador have pulled their ambassadors out of Tel Aviv to protest the Israeli offensive.
It's unclear how many in Gaza want militants to stop rocket attacks.
Last month, a poll by the Washington Institute for Near East policy found most Palestinians in Gaza oppose a two-state solution and want to work toward a five-year goal of abolishing Israel. But the majority said they support nonviolent methods of "popular resistance."
Most Israelis support a two-state solution, according to a poll by the Dialog Institute, Haaretz reported.
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A large blast rocks a Gaza City building, forcing CNN's Karl Penhaul to dive for cover.
Fierce fighting between Israeli troops and Hamas militants continued near Gaza City on Monday as the death toll from the conflict rose above 500.
Heavy bombardment hit areas east of the city, particularly the neighborhood of Shaja'ia, where a large Israeli assault Sunday contributed to the deadliest day of the war so far.
As clashes escalated over the weekend, Hamas said it had captured an Israeli soldier - a claim Israel later denied.
With no sign of either side backing down in a conflict in which most of the victims have been civilians, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is due to arrive in Egypt on Monday to push for a cease-fire.
Speaking to CNN's "State of the Union" on Sunday Kerry said that the United States supports Egypt's initiative for a truce and "will work for a fair cease-fire."
The United States has "shown our willingness to try to deal with the underlying issues," but Hamas "must step up and show a level of reasonableness," he said.
"No country, no human being, is comfortable with children being killed, with people being killed, but we're not comfortable with Israeli soldiers being killed either or with people being rocketed in Israel," Kerry said.
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The Israeli Defense Forces said Wednesday that it warned residents of three areas in Gaza to vacate their homes because of its plans to carry out airstrikes on Hamas and other terrorist groups.
The IDF said it used recorded messages, text messages and leaflets to alert the populations in Beit Lahyia, Shuja'iya and Zeitoun, places where it said "a high volume of rocket fire at Israel has originated."
"We are all scared but we are force to live in this and there is nothing for us to do," said Abu Musbah, a, 21-year-old member of Islamic Jihad, one of the groups that is firing rockets at Israel. "The children are scared but we struggle to continue our lives."
He said he had already evacuated all of his family members from his house in Shuja'iya.
A woman in the southern Gaza town of Khan Yunis said some people had fled there from harder hit areas in the north and east of the territory, filling some homes with multiple families.
"Those who have family here have come," said the woman, who asked not to be identified for fear of repercussions from talking to the news media.
She said she believed other people were staying in their houses, regardless of warnings from lsraeli leaflets or other means.
These are their homes, they will not run, she said.
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Israel faced attack from a second front Friday, but it is unlikely that a rocket fired from Lebanon signifies the widening of a conflict that has left at least 100 dead in Gaza.
The rocket launched from Lebanon landed near the northern Israeli town of Metula, which sits right by the Lebanese border, and no damage or injuries have been reported. It was not immediately clear who fired the rocket.
An Israel Defense Forces spokesman said Israel holds the Lebanese government responsible for the attack, but concerns that Israel will face a two-front conflict are unlikely to be realized.
Hezbollah, which operates in Lebanon and is caught up in other conflicts in the region, probably does not have the appetite to start a war with Israel.
Thousands of rockets were fired from Lebanon into Israel during a war in 2006, but rocket attacks since then have been sporadic. Tensions are always high between Hezbollah and Israel, but Hezbollah's involvement in Syria's civil war means that a fight with Israel might not make sense.
Nonetheless, Israel responded with artillery that landed in the vicinity of the Lebanese town of Kfar Shouba. No casualties were reported, the Lebanese army said.
Israel continued to weather rocket attacks by the Palestinian group Hamas in Gaza, but virtually all of the casualties in the conflict have been suffered on the Gazan side.
Though menacing, nearly all the Hamas rockets have been intercepted by the Israeli air defense system or struck empty areas. Airstrikes by Israel in Gaza, in contrast, have been blamed for at least 100 deaths, including 22 children and 20 women, a spokesman for Gaza's Ministry of Health said.
Hospitals in Gaza are unable to take care of the wounded - who top 700 - and patients are being treated on the floors because emergency rooms are overcrowded, medical sources told CNN.
The same medical sources said that medicines are running low and that the scenes at the hospitals are not unlike the chaos witnessed at Syrian hospitals during its civil war.
CNN staff in Gaza reported there are rolling blackouts, and there are water shortages in some areas because airstrikes have damaged pumping stations.
The Israeli military, meanwhile, said that some 100 rockets were fired at Israel today, including one that was intercepted over the Tel Aviv metropolitan area.
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The dark curtain rises again on the tragedy of Israel and Gaza, and the next act begins much like its forerunners.
Rockets hunt humans. Bombs crush buildings. Blood spills. The dead ride in caskets through streets, and mothers wail their grief to the heavens.
As Israeli reserves gather like a storm over Gaza's horizon, the added bloodshed of an incursion appears imminent, and millions watching around the world ask: What could they hope to achieve?
There is no dramatic endgame in this, but there are concrete objectives, says Israeli military analyst and columnist Ron Ben-Yishai.
There are official ones and unofficial ones, short-term and long-term, that make sense for Israel, he argues.
Many of them will work, concedes critical Israeli columnist Gideon Levy. But he disagrees about their wisdom.
They won't cure the disease but instead feed it, he argues.
Military objective No. 1
First, the conservative government led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wants to stop the rocket fire by force.
And weaken the Hamas militants and other groups behind it, Ben-Yishai says.
"Erode the political clout and the ability of Hamas to act both as a political and military-terrorist movement."
Those are the official goals given by the Cabinet for the military operation named Protective Edge, he says. And they'll probably be achieved, Ben-Yishai says.
"For the short-run, no doubt," Levy concurs. But he also thinks Hamas will come back stronger militarily and politically.
That's what happened over two years ago in operation Pillar of Defense and over five years ago in Operation Cast Lead, he says.
In the latter, 1,300 Palestinians and more than a dozen Israelis died.
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A new wave of Israeli airstrikes battered areas of Gaza early Thursday, continuing the deadly onslaught aimed at stopping militant rocket fire into Israel.
The days-long aerial bombardment of Gaza has killed 76 Palestinians, including women and children, and injured more than 500 since it began Monday, Palestinian officials said.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the offensive would be expanded and continue "until the firing at our communities stops and quiet is restored."
But there was no sign that Hamas and other militant groups in Gaza were backing down as rockets continued to streak over the border into southern Israel. No Israelis have been killed so far in the rocket attacks.
Some Israeli officials have hinted at the possibility of a ground offensive in Gaza, although questions remain about the government's appetite for such a conflict.
Netanyahu didn't specify what the expansion of the current operation, which began Monday, would entail, but he said Israel's military "is prepared for all possibilities."
President Shimon Peres, whose role is largely ceremonial and is not involved in setting policy, said in an exclusive interview with CNN's Becky Anderson that he believed a ground offensive "may happen quite soon" unless Hamas stops firing rockets at Israel.
"We warned them. We asked them to stop it," Peres told Anderson. "We waited one day, two days, three days and they continued, and they spread their fire on more areas in Israel."
While Peres was speaking on his own and his position may not outline an official government policy, Israeli Intelligence Minister Yuval Steinitz earlier told CNN that a ground operation "might become necessary."
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, meanwhile, convened an emergency meeting of his cabinet on Wednesday to discuss the crisis.
"This war is not against Hamas or another political party but it is against the Palestinian people," he told the media afterward. "What do you call this crime? What is this crime known under international law? To kill entire families, is this collective punishment?
"This is called collective genocide."
A Hamas spokesman, Sami Abu Zuhri, said Israel's threat to launch a "stupid" ground offensive didn't scare anyone, and fighters from Hamas' military wing were ready to face off with Israel's "coward" soldiers in Gaza.
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As rockets and missiles fly back and forth between Gaza and Israel, the Israeli military - saying it doesn't expect the crisis to resolve itself soon - is preparing for a ground incursion.
Israeli Intelligence Minister Yuval Steinitz told CNN such an operation "might become necessary," and Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon said the security operation against the militant group Hamas "will probably not end within several days."
On Tuesday, the Israeli Cabinet gave the authorization for the military to call up 40,000 troops if needed, 10,000 more than were called up during Israel's offensive into Gaza in November of 2012. Only about 1,000 have been called up so far.
"I hope ... that it's not going to escalate into an all-out war," said Maen Rashid Areikat, the Palestinian representative to the United States. "For the Israelis, they have to know that there's no military solution to this problem."
Still, recent days have brought a dramatic escalation in the conflict.
Militants fired more than 130 rockets at Israeli civilians, Israel said Tuesday. Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said it targeted about 160 "terror sites" in Gaza in the early hours of Wednesday, after carrying out 150 airstrikes the day before.
"Overnight, terror organizations in the Gaza Strip suffered a severe blow, as the numerous IDF strikes in Gaza managed to significantly impair terrorist capabilities and prevent possible schemes against Israelis," said Lt. Col. Peter Lerner, a military spokesman.
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