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Israel Resumes Gaza Strikes After Rocket Attacks

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Updated at 10 a.m. ET

Israel said today that it had resumed targeting "terror sites" across the Gaza Strip after renewed rocket attacks on the Jewish state. The resumption of violence casts doubts about the future of indirect talks in Cairo between Israel and the Palestinians to stop the fighting between the two sides.

"Yet again, terrorists breach the ceasefire and renew fire at Israeli civilians from Hamas ruled Gaza Strip," Lt. Col. Peter Lerner, a spokesman for the Israel Defense Forces, said in a statement. "This continued aggression will be addressed accordingly by the IDF; we will continue striking terror infrastructure, pursuing terrorists, and eliminating terror capabilities in the Gaza Strip, in order to restore security for the State of Israel."

Israel's Haaretz newspaper quoted government officials as saying the truce had collapsed, and that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had instructed the Israeli delegation in Cairo to return home. Similar flare-ups prior to the end of previous cease-fires have not prevented the two sides from reinstating another temporary truce.

On Monday, the two sides agreed to extend a cease-fire by another 24 hours in an attempt to give negotiations more time to succeed.

NPR's Jackie Northam, who is in Jerusalem, reported on the extension of the talks for our Newscast unit. Here's what she said:

"Hamas wants a full lifting of the seven-year blockade of Gaza and a new seaport. Israel says it's willing to loosen some border restrictions, allowing easier access for people and goods, including some construction materials, in and out of the Palestinian enclave. But Israel also wants a full demilitarization of Gaza. Analysts say this, like other tough demands, may have to wait for later negotiations. For now, if some agreement can be reached on relatively easier issues, it could prevent a resumption of fighting when this latest cease-fire extension ends at midnight local time, or 5 p.m. ET."

Fighting between the two sides began in June following the kidnapping and killing of three Israeli teenagers in the West Bank and the subsequent killing of a Palestinian teenager in Jerusalem. The fighting has so far claimed the lives of nearly 2,000 Palestinians, mostly civilians, and 67 Israelis, mostly soldiers. But it has also had an enormous social and economic impact on both sides.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Source: NPR

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