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Gaza ceasefire ends – violence resumes

THE LEVANT – The Palestinian militant group Hamas has rejected an extension on a three-day ceasefire which expired this morning after largely holding, saying Israel had failed to meet its demands during negotiations in Egypt.

The Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) said Gaza militants fired a barrage of at 18 rockets at southern Israel shortly after the three-day truce between Israel and Hamas expired at 8am local time. Fourteen hit open areas and two were intercepted by its Iron Dome missile defence system.

The Israeli government spokesman Mark Regev blamed militants for breaking the truce, saying: “The ceasefire is over – they did that.” He did not comment on whether Israel was still considering extending the lull in fighting, or if it would respond to rockets.

Earlier, a senior Hamas official said the militant group would not extend the cease-fire as Israel had rejected all of Hamas’ demands in Egyptian-brokered talks, including the re-opening of Gaza’s borders.

A spokesman from Hamas’ military wing had earlier released a statement calling on Palestinian negotiators holding indirect talks in Cairo to reject any ceasefire unless its demands were met. However, he said negotiations in Cairo would continue.

The talks followed a month of bitter Israel-Hamas fighting, during which 1,900 Palestinians have been killed and more than 9,000 wounded.

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