Israeli Defense Forces and Palestinian militants resumed hostilities in Gaza Thursday after a temporary humanitarian cease-fire came to an end. Meanwhile, talks on a more comprehensive truce are underway in Egypt.
Palestinian civilians received a brief reprieve from 10 days of conflict after Israel and Hamas agreed to a U.N. proposal to allow for humanitarian movement.
But U.N. Humanitarian Coordinator for the Palestinian Territories James Rawley tells VOA the violence resumed shortly after the cease-fire expired.
“Rockets have been going out of Gaza and airstrikes and naval bombardment has resumed on Gaza,” he said, “so once again the people of Gaza are suffering and probably dying, and the people of Israel are also being victimized by rockets and mortars going out of Gaza.”
The streets of Gaza have been virtually deserted since Israeli military operations targeting Hamas began last week, as residents have stayed home or have sought protection at U.N. schools.
But for a brief time during Thursday’s truce, Rawley says, citizens were able to go shopping or go to the bank, while some vital repairs were done to electrical and water facilities.
“It only was a pause of five hours, it was respected for the most part by all parties, which is good,” he said, “but it is a pity that as soon as the pause is over, the hostilities have resumed.”
Israeli Defense Forces have been pounding Gaza with airstrikes and offshore assaults, while militants in the Palestinian territory have launched a continuous barrage of rocket fire into southern Israel.
More than 220 Palestinians have been killed in the conflict, while one Israeli citizen has died.
The U.N. agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA) reported 20 rockets were discovered hidden in a vacant school in Gaza. A statement from UNRWA said this was the first time weapons have been found in their facilities.
Meanwhile, talks for a broader truce are being held in Egypt. Israeli and Hamas officials have backed away from earlier media reports that a deal had been reached.
Israel previously agreed to an Egyptian-backed deal that called for an immediate end to the fighting, the eventual easing of border restrictions and further talks hosted by Cairo.
Hamas rejected the deal, saying their leaders had not been consulted and it did not address other conditions such as Israel’s long-standing blockade of Gaza.