Jerusalem, Dec 1, 2023
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday blamed the Hamas of breaking the seven-day humanitarian truce in Gaza by refusing to release more hostages.
In a statement posted on X, the Israeli Prime Minister’s Office said: “The Hamas-ISIS terrorist organization has violated the outline. It has not met its obligation to release all of the women hostages today and has launched rockets at Israeli citizens.
“Upon the resumption of fighting, we emphasize: The Government of Israel is committed to achieving the goals of the war: Releasing the hostages, eliminating Hamas and ensuring that Gaza never again constitutes a threat to the residents of Israel.”
The truce, which was only renewed at the last minute for the seventh day on Thursday, expired at 7 a.m. local time (about 10.30 a.m. IST) on Friday morning.
Thursday’s extension was the second of the initial four-day truce that commenced on Novermber 24.
It was extended for two more days on Tuesday.
Since the start of the pause, 240 Palestinians, 86 Israelis, and 24 foreign nationals have reportedly been released.
Earlier in the day, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said that the military has resumed combat operations against the Hamas in Gaza, accusing the militant group of violating the truce agreement by firing towards the Jewish state, thus ending the seven-day ceasefire.
In a post on X, the IDF said: “Hamas violated the operational pause, and in addition, fired toward Israeli territory. The IDF has resumed combat against the Hamas terrorist organization in Gaza.”
Shortly before the ceasefire was due to expire, sirens sounded in southern Israel, and the Israeli army said it shot down a rocket fired from Gaza, reports the BBC.
Following the attack, the IDF-affiliated Home Front Command tightened the guidelines for civilians in some areas of the country.
Media outlets affiliated with the Hamas group reported explosions and gunfire in northern Gaza.
Several air strikes have hit the southern Gaza Strip, the Hamas-run interior and national security ministry said on its Telegram account.
In a statement, the Ministry also said Israeli aircraft were in the skies above the area.
Egyptian and Qatari negotiators had been pushing to extend the pause in fighting in Gaza for an extra two days to facilitate the release of more hostages and prisoners, and to allow more aid into the strip, according to Egypt’s State Information Service.
Israeli officials had repeatedly stated that a condition of any extension to the pause in fighting is that Hamas must release 10 Israeli women and children held hostage per day.
Under the terms of the deal, Israel freed three Palestinians for every Israeli hostage released.
On Thursday, both Israel and Hamas have indicated they were prepared for fighting to resume.
Hamas’ military wing also asked its forces to maintain a high-combat readiness posture.
The restart in hostilities is likely to worsen the humanitarian crisis in Gaza, amid shortages of essential supplies.
Since Hamas launched its massive assault against Israel on October 7, more than 14,800 Palestinians have died.
Israel has reported over 1,200 casualties, including foreign nationals.(Agency)