After the expiration of a weeklong truce between Israel and Hamas, the Gaza Strip witnessed intensified conflict on Friday. Israeli military forces conducted airstrikes, targeting various locations in Gaza and issuing evacuation warnings to residents in southern areas.
Israel asserted that the offensive operations were in response to Hamas “violating” the cease-fire and launching attacks towards Israel. In contrast, Hamas officials accused Israel of rejecting offers to release elderly hostages and the bodies of hostages.
Within half an hour of the truce’s conclusion, Israel announced airstrikes on Hamas targets across Gaza, including a community east of Khan Younis and a home northwest of Gaza City. The Gaza Health Ministry, under Hamas control, reported over 100 Palestinian casualties due to Israeli airstrikes on Friday.
In addition to airstrikes, Israeli forces dropped leaflets over southern Gaza, designating Khan Younis as a “dangerous battle zone” and urging residents to evacuate.
Simultaneously, sirens warning of incoming rockets sounded in Israeli communities near the Gaza border, although there were no reported rocket hits. Photographs captured rockets being fired from Gaza towards Israel.
The cessation of hostilities began a week ago, facilitated by Qatar and Egypt, resulting in the release of over 100 hostages and 240 Palestinians imprisoned in Israel. Qatar expressed “deep regret” over the renewed conflict and announced efforts to renew the truce.
According to the Gaza Health Ministry, over 13,300 Palestinians have lost their lives in the conflict that began nearly two months ago. Approximately 1,200 Israelis, mostly civilians, were killed during Hamas’ October 7 attack on Israel.