Saturday, February 24, 2018
News Roundup

Cease-fire ends with rockets from Hamas, strikes by Israel

JERUSALEM — Militants in Gaza broke a temporary cease-fire by launching rockets at Israel on Tuesday, and Israel responded with airstrikes. The resumption of hostilities shut down talks in Cairo that seek a permanent truce between Israel and Hamas after more than a month of war.

The two sides, though exhausted by the conflict, vowed to continue fighting. Each side, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Gaza's Hamas leadership, insists on demands that the other rejects.

Amid the renewed attacks, the chances of a lasting truce appear dim. Instead, it seems likely that Israel may make some unilateral concessions, such as easing restrictions on imports of building materials to the Gaza Strip, as long as Hamas refrains from rocket attacks.

Hamas and the other militant factions in Gaza fired more than 50 rockets at Israel on Tuesday. Sirens sounded over Jerusalem, and a rocket landed on a highway near Tel Aviv. No injuries were reported.

Ghassan Khatib, a Palestinian political analyst based in the West Bank city of Ramallah, said the future may be marked by fragile, informal cease-fires that are broken by rocket attacks from Gaza and Israeli responses.

"But we won't go back to a full-fledged war because the cost is too high," he said.

Hamas and Israel have fought two previous small-scale wars. In 2009, hostilities ended without a formal truce. In 2012, Egypt brokered a cease-fire, but it was repeatedly breached.

Hamas leaders blamed Israel for the collapse of the Cairo talks, accusing it of foot-dragging.

A senior spokesman for the Israel Defense Forces, Lt. Col. Peter Lerner, said militants in Gaza broke the latest 24-hour cease-fire by first shooting rockets at southern Israel.

Israeli forces struck 25 sites in Gaza. The Gaza Health Ministry said that a woman and a child were killed in the attacks and that 25 people were injured.

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