Dec 1 (Reuters) – The fragile truce between Israel and Hamas crumbled on Friday, leading to a resumption of hostilities in the Gaza Strip. Israel’s warplanes launched airstrikes, targeting various locations in Gaza, as talks to extend the week-long truce collapsed. The renewed violence left casualties and chaos in its wake.
Khan Younis in southern Gaza experienced intense bombardment, with columns of smoke rising after the truce deadline lapsed. Residents hastily fled westward, seeking safety from the airstrikes. In the northern part of Gaza, plumes of smoke billowed from the ruins, visible from across the border in Israel.
Sirens wailed in southern Israel as militants fired rockets from Gaza into nearby towns. Israel and Hamas exchanged accusations over the breakdown of negotiations, with the White House pointing to Hamas’s failure to provide a new list of hostages for release as the reason for the truce’s demise.
The United Nations expressed concern over the escalating humanitarian crisis, emphasizing the dire situation in Gaza. Within hours of the truce ending, Gaza health officials reported over 100 people killed and dozens wounded in Israeli airstrikes.
Israel’s military stated that it had targeted more than 200 “terror targets” in Gaza, employing ground, air, and naval forces. Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, witnessing the assault from a war jet, asserted that Israel would continue its actions until achieving the war’s goals.
Reports suggested that Israel had informed Arab states of plans to establish a buffer zone on the Palestinian side of Gaza’s border to prevent future attacks. Meanwhile, Lebanon reported casualties from Israeli shelling, and Hezbollah claimed attacks on Israeli military positions in support of Palestinians.
In the midst of the bombing, leaflets were dropped in southern Gaza, urging residents to evacuate and designating Khan Younis as a “dangerous fighting zone.” Israel released a map dividing Gaza into districts to communicate safe areas.
As the conflict reignites, Qatar, a central mediator, expressed regret over the renewed combat and announced ongoing negotiations to restore the truce. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken blamed Hamas for firing rockets before the truce’s end and reneging on commitments regarding hostage releases.
The toll on Gaza has been devastating, with significant destruction and a rising death toll. The region faces an uncertain and tumultuous future as both sides remain entrenched in their positions, further complicating efforts for a lasting peace.