Israel-Hamas War: Gaza Fighting Resumes as Truce Expires

Israel-Hamas War: Gaza Fighting Resumes as Truce Expires
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Israel said that it had renewed combat operations and that Hamas had fired toward Israeli territory, while mediators said negotiations were continuing.

Airstrikes: Israel said it had restarted airstrikes in Gaza. Footage broadcast by Al Jazeera showed plumes of smoke in the enclave and carried the sound of gunfire.

Israeli offensive: Israel’s resumed offensive is expected to focus on southern Gaza, where it claims many of Hamas’s senior leaders are hiding. It published a map it says will be used to guide Gazans away from areas of fighting.

Negotiations: The end of the cease-fire came as mediators engaged in intense talks in which Hamas didn’t provide a list of hostages needed for an extension, Egyptian officials said. Hamas said it was struggling to access some hostages held by other groups, the officials said. Negotiations were continuing despite the fighting, Qatar said.

U.S. role: Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who is in the region for the third time since Hamas’s Oct. 7 attack, had urged Israel to extend the pause and reduce civilian casualties if the fighting resumes.

Hostages: Hamas released two hostages late on Thursday and six more around midnight. Thirty Palestinians—seven women and 23 minors—were released from Israeli prisons as part of a swap deal.

The resumption of fighting came as mediators engaged in intense negotiations with the two sides in which Hamas didn’t provide a list of hostage names needed for the cease-fire extension, Egyptian officials said. An American official said the U.S. remained hopeful that negotiators could renew the truce, an effort that relies on Hamas releasing additional hostages.

Hamas said it was facing difficulty obtaining access to four women held hostage by other groups in Gaza, the officials said.

The discussions centered in part on American hostages whose release has been withheld because their captors view them as strategic assets that could provide leverage for securing a future cease-fire or other concessions now that fighting has resumed, the officials said.

The weeklong pause had enabled the exchange of dozens of hostages held in Gaza for hundreds of Palestinian prisoners and permitted shipments of humanitarian aid into the strip.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said Hamas had violated the deal’s outline. “It has not met its obligation to release all of the women hostages today and has launched rockets at Israeli citizens,” it said in a statement. 

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