Gaza truce extension called off


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Israel renewed its aerial, naval and ground operations in the Gaza Strip after militants in the Hamas-controlled territory barraged it with dozens of rockets and mortars during a United Nations-requested truce.
The break in hostilities, which Israel agreed to put in force until midnight, was intended to give Palestinians a chance to stock up on supplies, bury their dead, and repair water and energy infrastructure damaged in nearly three weeks of violence. About 1,150 Palestinians have been killed and more than 160,000 have been displaced in fighting that has also left 45 Israelis and a Thai worker in Israel dead.
After Hamas sent more than 30 rockets and mortars into Israel since late yesterday, the military announced in an e-mailed statement that the truce was off.
Hamas said it rejected the cease-fire deal because it left Israeli troops inside Gaza. Israeli police said a civilian was severely wounded after Israel agreed yesterday to extend the truce, which initially went into effect late Friday, police said.
The third conflict between the sides in six years deepened last week after the Israeli military added to its air strikes by sending troops into the territory. Israeli financial markets have been mostly unaffected, with the benchmark stock index little changed and the shekel approaching a three-year high.
The lull in fighting was sought after neither side agreed to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s plan for a week-long cease-fire, designed to allow time for talks on a sustainable settlement. Israel says its offensive aims to end the barrage of rockets fired at its towns from Gaza and destroy infiltration tunnels militants dug into Israeli territory to carry out attacks. Hamas, labeled a terrorist organization by the U.S. and European Union, says Israel’s economic embargo on Gaza must end as part of any deal.

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