Israel resumes combat against Hamas in Gaza after accusing the group of violating truce

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1st December 2023 – (Gaza) Israel’s military has announced the resumption of combat operations against Hamas in Gaza today, following accusations that the Palestinian militant group violated a seven-day temporary truce by firing towards Israeli territory.

The temporary pause, which began on November 24 and was extended twice, had allowed for the exchange of dozens of hostages held in Gaza for hundreds of Palestinian prisoners, as well as the entry of much-needed humanitarian aid into the war-torn coastal strip.

However, just before the truce was set to end at 0500 GMT, Israel reported intercepting a rocket fired from Gaza. Shortly before the deadline, sirens warning of rocket attacks sounded in Israeli areas near Gaza, according to the Israeli military.

Palestinian media outlets have reported Israeli air and artillery strikes across the enclave following the expiration of the truce. As of now, there has been no immediate comment from Hamas or any claim of responsibility for the rocket launches.

Efforts to extend the truce have been underway, with Qatar and Egypt making intensive diplomatic initiatives. These efforts come after the exchange of eight hostages and 30 Palestinian prisoners on Thursday.

In previous negotiations, Israel had stipulated that the release of 10 hostages per day was the minimum requirement to halt its ground assault and bombardment.

Speaking on CNN prior to the truce’s expiry, Mark Regev, an adviser to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, stated, “We’re ready for all possibilities… Without that, we’re going back to combat.”

Israel has vowed to eradicate Hamas, which controls Gaza, in response to the group’s rampage on October 7. According to Israel, gunmen affiliated with Hamas killed 1,200 people and took 240 hostages during the incident.

In retaliation, Israel launched a widespread bombardment campaign and a ground invasion. Palestinian health authorities, verified by the United Nations, have reported that over 15,000 Gazans have been killed in the conflict.

During the truce period, a total of 105 hostages and 240 Palestinian prisoners have been released. Among the freed individuals were six women, including a Mexican-Israeli dual national and 21-year-old Mia Schem, who holds both French and Israeli citizenship. Mia Schem was captured by Hamas during an outdoor music festival in southern Israel on October 7. Heartwarming photos released by the Israeli prime minister’s office captured the emotional reunion between Schem, her mother, and her brother at Hatzerim military base in Israel.

Additionally, 18-year-old Belal al-Ziadna and his 17-year-old sister, Aisha al-Ziadna, were also released. They are Bedouin Arab citizens of Israel and were among four members of their family taken hostage while milking cows on a farm.

The truce had allowed for limited humanitarian aid to enter Gaza, as the Israeli assault had left much of the territory devastated. On Thursday, more fuel and 56 trucks of humanitarian supplies were delivered to Gaza, according to Israel’s defence ministry and the Palestinian Red Crescent Society. However, aid workers stress that the deliveries of food, water, medical supplies, and fuel still fall far short of the amount needed.

At an emergency meeting in Amman, Jordan’s King Abdullah called on UN officials and international groups to exert pressure on Israel to allow more aid into the beleaguered enclave. The king emphasized the urgency of the situation and the need for immediate action.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who is currently in Israel for his third visit to the Middle East since the conflict began, expressed his concern about civilian casualties and the displacement of residents in southern Gaza. Blinken met with Prime Minister Netanyahu and emphasized the importance of avoiding further loss of civilian life and damage to critical infrastructure such as hospitals and water facilities.