Hamas breaches truce, fires 50 rockets; Israel halts Cairo talks, hits back

Smoke billows following an Israeli air strike in Rafah in the southern of Gaza Strip, on August 19, 2014. Israel ordered its negotiators back from talks in Cairo and Israeli airstrikes hit Gaza after Hamas broke a truce and resumed rocket fire on Israel. Photo by Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash90

Smoke billows following an Israeli air strike in Rafah in the southern of Gaza Strip, on August 19, 2014. Israel ordered its negotiators back from talks in Cairo and Israeli airstrikes hit Gaza after Hamas broke a truce and resumed rocket fire on Israel. Photo by Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash90

7 hours before truce’s end, Palestinians restart rocket fire; Hamas claims 2 members of terror commander Deif’s family killed

(SOURCE)  In the midst of an extended truce, Palestinians fired a volley of rockets at Israeli territory on Tuesday afternoon, prompting Israel to launch fresh airstrikes on the Strip and declare that it was pulling out of talks on a long-term ceasefire in Cairo.

The Hamas rocket attacks, which intensified through Tuesday night, brought the collapse of Egyptian attempts to broker an end to a monthlong war between Israel and Hamas. Palestinian terrorists fired dozens of rockets and Israel responded with airstrikes across the Gaza Strip. Three Palestinians — two women and a 2-year-old girl — were killed in an airstrike on a house in Gaza City, Palestinian medical official Ashraf al-Kidra said.

In Cairo, Moussa Abu Marzouk, a senior Hamas leader, said the dead included the wife and a child of Mohammed Deif, the Islamic terrorist group’s elusive military chief, who has escaped numerous Israeli assassination attempts in the past. There was no immediate confirmation from Hamas leaders in Gaza.

Twenty-one people were wounded in a separate airstrike that hit a building that houses offices of Hamas’s Al Aqsa TV station, al-Kidra said. The fatalities were the first since a temporary truce was reached last Wednesday.

Israeli officials reported at least 50 rockets were fired late Tuesday, setting off air raid sirens throughout southern Israel and as far away as the cities of Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. There were no reports of injuries, though a piece of a rocket that was intercepted near Tel Aviv fell on a busy road.

Israel’s civil defense authority, the Home Front Command, ordered authorities to reopen public bomb shelters within 50 miles (80 kilometers) of Gaza.

In Cairo, Palestinian negotiators declared the cease-fire talks over, and said they would leave Egypt on Wednesday.

Azzam al-Ahmad, leader of the delegation, blamed Israel for the failure, but held out hope that the talks could be resumed.

“We told the Egyptians we are ready to return to the talks once they find the proper atmosphere,” he said, adding that the Palestinians had submitted a final ceasefire proposal.

“It’s clear the Israelis are not interested in the ceasefire. We did not hear from them. We were willing to, but we did not hear from them,” he said.

Israeli government spokesman Mark Regev said the blame lay with Hamas. “When Hamas broke the ceasefire and fired rockets into Israel, they also violated the premise of the talks, which were based on an unconditional and total cease-fire,” he said.

He would not say whether Israel would resume ceasefire talks.

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