Israeli jets bombed targets across Gaza early today, retaliating to Palestinian rocket attacks in spiralling violence that left a truce extension teetering on the brink of collapse.
The resumption of hostilities shattered nearly three days of calm over the skies of Gaza and southern Israel, raising fears that a new ceasefire announced in the Egyptian capital could quickly unravel.
More than 1,950 Palestinians and 67 people on the Israeli side have been killed since July 8, when Israel launched an offensive to destroy Hamas rockets and attack tunnels burrowing under the Jewish state.
After days of shuttle diplomacy, the agreement clinched by Egypt had appeared to secure the longest period of calm in the five-week conflict and allow more time for talks on the thorniest issues that separate the two sides, the Palestinians said.
An official at the Palestinian interior ministry reported four air strikes over open ground about 30 minutes into the extension of a new truce, from midnight.
Israel said it was targeting “terror sites across the Gaza Strip” in response to rocket fire. The military “will immediately respond to any threat to Israel’’, it added.
A spokeswoman for the Israeli army told AFP that Palestinian militants launched eight rockets towards Israel late yesterday, six of which hit open areas and one of which was intercepted.