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Israel, Hamas resume attacks

By Associated Press in Gaza Strip | China Daily | Updated: 2014-08-09 07:41

Israel and Gaza militants resumed their cross-border attacks on Friday, after a three-day truce expired and talks brokered by Egypt on a new border deal for the blockaded coastal territory deadlocked.

Israel launched at least 10 airstrikes in response to rocket and mortar fire from the Gaza Strip. One hit the backyard of a mosque and killed a 10-year-old boy, Palestinian officials said.

In Israel, two people were hurt by rocket fire, police said.

It is not clear if the renewed fighting will derail the Cairo talks, which are aimed at reaching a sustainable truce, or if Egyptian mediators can find a way to prevent further escalation.

Hamas officials said that even though they refused to extend the three-day cease-fire, they were willing to continue negotiations.

An Israeli government official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Israel would not conduct negotiations under fire and would protect its citizens by all means.

The Israeli delegation left Cairo on Friday morning, and it was not clear whether it would return.

Within minutes after the temporary truce expired at 8 am local time, Gaza militants began firing rockets. By midday, 33 rockets had been fired. Twenty-six landed in Israel, three were intercepted and four fell short in Gaza, the Israeli army said.

Israel eventually responded with what the military said were strikes "across Gaza". It did not elaborate.

Police in Gaza said most of the strikes hit empty fields, but one landed in the backyard of the Nour al-Mohammadi Mosque in the Gaza City neighborhood of Sheik Radwan.

Gaza health official Ashraf al-Kidra said a 10-year-old boy was killed, and five other boys were wounded, one of them critically.

Police also reported fire from Israeli tanks on northern Gaza and from Israeli gunboats on the central area.

In Israel, the army said it was prohibiting gatherings of more than 1,000 people in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and other areas within 80 kilometers of the Gaza border because of the rocket fire.

The resumption of violence casts doubt on the chances of the Cairo negotiations.

(China Daily 08/09/2014 page12)

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