Israel, Hamas resume attacks after ceasefire

BY Sarah Corapi  July 17, 2014 at 11:03 AM EST
Israeli soldiers stand near the southern Israeli border with the Gaza Strip. Israeli air strikes in Gaza killed four children today, medics said, after a humanitarian lull in a 10-day conflict that has killed 237 Palestinians. Photo by Jack Guez/AFP/Getty Images

Israeli soldiers stand near the southern Israeli border with the Gaza Strip. Israeli air strikes in Gaza killed four children today, medics said, after a humanitarian lull in a 10-day conflict. Photo by Jack Guez/AFP/Getty Images

Rocket fire and airstrikes between Hamas and Israel resumed just as a five-hour United Nations-brokered ceasefire ended in Gaza Thursday. The temporary pause in action — for humanitarian reasons — was the first of its kind during the 10 days of fighting.

Before the lull, Israel stopped 13 Hamas militants from sneaking into the country through an underground tunnel. It also carried out airstrikes against roughly 37 targets in Gaza since midnight.

That 5-hour lapse in fighting came as a much-needed relief to Gaza residents. They seized the opportunity to visit banks, stock up on food and survey the damage. But as soon as the ceasefire timed out at around 3 p.m. local time, Hamas blasted more than 40 rockets across the border into Israel.

The attacks resumed as discussions on a permanent truce between the Israelis and Palestinians are still underway. Egypt proposed a long-term ceasefire plan on Tuesday, which Israel has accepted. Hamas has refused to agree until its demands — including ending a seven-year blockade on Gaza by Israel and Egypt — have been met.

Since July 8, Israel has carried out nearly 2,000 airstrikes on Gaza, and Hamas has fired more than 1,300 rockets towards Israel. Israeli attacks have killed more than 230 Palestinians. One Israeli has been killed and several wounded.