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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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August 5th, 2014
05:08 AM ET

Israel Pulls Out of Gaza During Cease-Fire

The Israeli military said Tuesday that it has withdrawn its ground troops from Gaza for a 72-hour humanitarian cease-fire in the conflict with Hamas.

"We have no forces within Gaza," Israel Defense Forces spokesman Lt. Col. Peter Lerner told CNN.

Israel is implementing the Egyptian-brokered truce, which took effect Tuesday morning, from "defensive positions" outside Gaza, the IDF said.

Israeli officials had previously indicated they were winding down their ground operation in Gaza, which was aimed at demolishing Hamas' network of tunnels that extends under the border.

The Israeli military said Tuesday it had destroyed 32 of the tunnels, some of which were used by militants to launch attacks on Israeli soil during the four-week conflict.

Officials from the United Nations and United States, who have been pushing for a cease-fire for weeks, hope that the three-day pause will allow negotiations to take place for a more lasting peace.

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July 17th, 2014
04:07 AM ET

Cease-Fire Broken: Rockets Fired Toward Israel

At least three mortars were fired from Gaza toward southern Israel on Thursday morning, some two hours after a temporary lull in hostilities went into effect to allow humanitarian supplies into the area.

The mortars fell in open areas and no injuries were immediately reported, the Israeli military said. Mortars are smaller and have a more limited range than rockets.

Israel, which said it would honor the cease-fire but not sit idle if attacked, did not immediately respond.

The five-hour long temporary halt in fighting went into effect at 3 a.m. ET, requested by the United Nations to offer a brief respite in a conflict that has killed more than 220 people.

Banks opened for the first time in 10 days in Gaza and residents poured into the streets.

Red Cross officials visited hospitals and damaged houses to assess medical needs, and worked with local officials to quickly fix water pipelines, which has left hundreds of thousands without water.

There were no reported air strikes since the cease-fire began. Still, the fear of death hung heavily over Gaza. The health ministry warned civilians to avoid gathering in squares.

"Should the humanitarian window be exploited by Hamas or other terror organizations for the purpose of launching attacks against Israeli civilian or military targets the IDF will respond firmly and decisively," the Israeli military said.

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July 14th, 2014
04:56 AM ET

Palestinians Struggle to Find Safety as Israel and Hamas Continue Attacks

One bombĀ dropped on a center for the disabled. Another wiped out 18 members of the same family.

By Monday morning, the death toll from nearly a week of Israeli airstrikes on Gaza had reached 172 - all of them Palestinians - with more than 1,250 wounded, according to Palestinian health authorities.

Israel has so far shrugged off international calls for a cease-fire, saying it will continue the offensive as long as the militant group Hamas keeps firing rockets into its territory.

And Hamas shows no sign of letting up after already launching almost 1,000 rockets at Israel.

Caught in the middle are the residents of Gaza. While the Israeli attacks have killed some militants, around 70% of the fatalities were civilians, according to the United Nations. Of the dead, more than 30 are children, the U.N. reported.

"All sides ... must respect the sanctity of civilian life," said Chris Gunness, spokesman for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees.

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July 1st, 2014
04:33 AM ET

Israel Hits Back After Teens Found Dead

Nineteen days ago, three Israeli teenagers, trying to hitchhike home from the southern West Bank, disappeared.

Monday afternoon, volunteers from a nearby Israeli settlement discovered their bodies in an open field not far from Hebron, a city in the southern West Bank.

The teens' disappearance - which Israel blamed on Hamas - had already worsened relations between Israel and the Palestinians.

The discovery threatens to make it worse.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the students had been "murdered in cold blood" by people he described as "animals."

"Hamas will pay," Netanyahu warned.

Hamas, the militant fundamentalist Islamic organization that operates in the West Bank and Gaza, denied it was behind the abductions.

If Netanyahu "brings a war on Gaza," the group warned, "the gates of hell will open to him."

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