World / Middle East

Israeli war jets strike on Gaza despite declaring ceasefire

(Xinhua) Updated: 2014-08-14 07:19

Israeli war jets strike on Gaza despite declaring ceasefire

A Palestinian boy carries his brother next to the remains of their house, which witnesses said was destroyed in the Israeli offensive, during a 72-hour truce in Khan Younis the southern Gaza Strip August 13, 2014. [Photo/Agencies]

JERUSALEM/GAZA - The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) struck targets in Gaza in response to rocket fire from the strip hitting southern Israel, IDF spokesperson unit said in a statement on Thursday.

"Following renewed rocket launching at Israel, the IDF is now targeting terror sites across the Gaza Strip," said the statement, released less than an hour after the previous 72 cease-fire expired at midnight.

Ashraf al-Qedra, spokesman of health ministry in Gaza, told reporters that no injuries were reported in the latest airstrikes.

"The IDF remains alert and maintains a high level of preparation with both defensive and striking capabilities in order to address the renewed aggression and will immediately respond to any threat to Israel," the IDF statement further read.

This attack came shortly after the announcement of a 120-hour extension of a truce between Israel and Hamas in Cairo. Late on Wednesday, Azzam Al-Ahmad, head of the Palestinian delegation in Cairo, announced that Israel and Hamas agreed to extend the current cease-fire, which expired at midnight, by another five days, 120 hours.

This is the third temporary cease-fire agreed upon in the past two weeks. During the cease-fire period, Israeli and Palestinian delegates conducted indirect talks in Cairo through Egyptian mediators in order to reach a permanent agreement to end the month- long offensive.

However, an Israeli official said shortly after the announcement of extension that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon ordered the army to respond to the rocket fire.

No official response was made by Israel regarding the announcement by Azzam Al-Ahmad, who also said some progress was reached between the sides during negotiations in Cairo to reach a permanent truce.

Several rockets were launched from Gaza towards communities in southern Israel late on Wednesday, breaching the 72-hour cease- fire, which started on Sunday at midnight, according to the IDF Spokesperson unit. No injuries or damages were reported.

US President Barack Obama talked by phone with Netanyahu and urged him to extend the cease-fire with Hamas, the channel 2 news reported.

More than 1,900 Palestinians have been killed in the Gaza offensive and nearly 10,000 injured. More than half a million Gaza residents have been displaced and great damages caused to infrastructure.

Sixty four Israeli soldiers have been killed during Israel's ground incursion episode in the strip, and three civilians were killed by rockets and mortar fire, as Palestinian militants fired nearly 3000 rockets and mortars across Israel.

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