The Islamist group did not send a list of hostages to be released by 7 a.m. and fired several rockets into southern Israel. The IDF has resumed air and ground operations in Gaza

Hamas breaks truce with Israel and Gaza war resumes

Soldados israelíes en la Franja de Gaza - PHOTO/Fuerzas de Defensa de Israel vía REUTERS
photo_camera PHOTO/Israeli Defence Forces via REUTERS - Israeli soldiers in the Gaza Strip

After a week without hostilities, the alarm bells have sounded again in several parts of southern Israel. Likewise, shelling has returned to the Gaza Strip. The war between Israel and Hamas has resumed after the Islamist organisation broke the truce by firing several rockets into Israeli territory.

"Hamas violated the operational pause and also fired into Israeli territory," the Israeli army said in a statement in which it also assured that the Israel Defence Forces "have resumed fighting against the Hamas terrorist organisation in the Gaza Strip". In this regard, Gazan sources report that the IDF has dropped leaflets over Khan Younis, urging the population to move to Rafah as the area is dangerous.  

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office has also stressed that Hamas "failed in its duty to release all the abducted women today", in addition to "firing rockets at citizens of Israel". Hamas did not provide a list of hostages by 7 a.m., as scheduled and stipulated in the agreement.

However, the Israeli army qualifies that "the people of Gaza are not our enemy". For this reason, "the IDF is leading controlled and targeted evacuations of Gaza residents to get them as far as possible out of the combat zones," it explains. 

In addition to the controlled evacuations, the IDF has published a map dividing the Gaza Strip into hundreds of small zones that will serve to notify civilians of active combat zones. "The IDF is operating strongly against terrorist organisations, while making great efforts to differentiate between civilians and terrorists," the IDF tells Gazans.

The terrorist group, for its part, has accused Israel of "the resumption of war and Nazi aggression against the Gaza Strip, after refusing all night to accept all offers to free other hostages". 

"If they return our women, there will be a day's pause" 

During this week of permanent ceasefire, 105 hostages have been released - 86 Israelis and 24 foreigners, although 137 hostages remain in Gaza, including 20 women and 11 foreigners. There are also an estimated 10 citizens held by Hamas and other terrorist groups in Gaza who are 75 years of age or older.

While almost all of the children have returned to Israel, the whereabouts of the youngest hostage, 10-month-old Kfir Bibas, and his 4-year-old brother Ariel, are still unknown. According to Hamas, both have been killed along with their mother, Shiri. In the last few hours, the terrorist organisation has released a propaganda video of their father, Yarden - also kidnapped - in which he is shown crying when he learns that his entire family has been killed.  

In addition to all the adult male civilians and soldiers still held somewhere in the Gaza Strip, there are also women still to be released, such as 26-year-old Noa Argamani, abducted from the Nova music festival.

Argamani was last seen in a video in which she is shown screaming on a motorbike as several men forcibly take her into Gaza. Recently her mother, who is terminally ill with cancer, has again called for her release. "I don't know how much time I have left, I would like to have the chance to see Noa at home," she says.  

Despite the return to hostilities, Qatar has assured that negotiations between the two sides are already underway "to return to another ceasefire". Likewise, according to Egyptian security sources, Cairo is maintaining "urgent contacts" with Israel and Hamas, in coordination with Doha, to re-establish the humanitarian pause.

In addition to the cessation of fighting and the release of 105 hostages and 240 Palestinian prisoners - all of them women and minors - during this week of truce some 150 trucks a day have entered Gaza with humanitarian aid, an insufficient number according to several NGOs.

"If they return our women, there will be a day's pause. The equation is simple," a senior Israeli official told Channel 13. On the other hand, an Israeli diplomat told Channel 12 that "there will be several days of fighting". "Hamas knows the conditions for a return to the pause," he added.

The release of the Israeli women is a key point for a temporary end to hostilities and a return to the truce. "Unfortunately, Hamas decided to end the pause by not releasing all the abducted women," said government spokesman Eylon Levy, who also warned that, after deciding to hold the women, "Hamas will now take the mother of all thumpings". 

The international community deplores the return to fighting and the UN stresses that the resumption of hostilities between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip is "catastrophic". According to the Hamas-controlled Gaza Health Ministry, 32 people have been killed and dozens injured in the first Israeli attacks since the resumption of the war.  

On the other hand, Israeli sources claim that more than 45 rockets have been fired into Israel since the truce was broken. Some of them have hit houses in several kibbutzim on the Gaza border, an area that has been evacuated because of the war. 

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