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Israel Says Gaza Militants Broke Cease-fire

  • VOA News

Palestinians walk amid the ruins of destroyed homes in the Shejaia neighbourhood, which witnesses said was heavily hit by Israeli shelling and air strikes during an Israeli offensive, in Gaza City, Aug. 6, 2014.

Palestinians walk amid the ruins of destroyed homes in the Shejaia neighbourhood, which witnesses said was heavily hit by Israeli shelling and air strikes during an Israeli offensive, in Gaza City, Aug. 6, 2014.

The Israeli military has accused militants in the Gaza Strip of violating a cease-fire, just hours before it was scheduled to expire on Friday morning.

In a statement on Twitter, the Israeli military said two rockets from Gaza landed in southern Israel. No injuries were reported as a result of the rocket fire.

Officials from Hamas and Israel have been holding indirect talks in Egypt in an attempt to extend the 72-hour cease-fire, which is set to end at 8 a.m. Friday, local time.

Both sides have warned they are ready to resume fighting if provoked, and they appear far apart on the terms for extending the humanitarian truce.

Israeli officials have said they are willing to unilaterally extend the cease-fire if necessary.

The cease-fire brought an end to four weeks of fighting that killed nearly 1,900 Palestinians, mostly civilians. Sixty-four Israeli soldiers and three civilians also were killed.

Hamas is demanding that Israel lift its blockade of a Gaza seaport, which has choked the Gazan economy and kept Palestinians from traveling.

Israel is insisting that Hamas disarm.

Israeli government spokesman Mark Regev told CNN television that if the war starts up again, it will be clear who is responsible for the violence and carnage.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says the Israeli action is justified. He called every civilian casualty a tragedy, but one of Hamas' own making, saying the militant group fires weapons and puts fighters among the civilian population.

President Barack Obama says Gaza cannot sustain itself and is not capable of providing jobs and economic growth. He says the territory cannot remain permanently closed off from the world.

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