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Egyptian truce plan unravels after new fighting

By The Associated Press

This article was originally published July 15, 2014 at 6:33 a.m. Updated July 15, 2014 at 9:58 a.m.


Smoke rises after an Israeli missile strike in Gaza City on Tuesday, July 15, 2014. The Israeli military says it has resumed airstrikes on Gaza after Hamas militants violated a deescalation brokered by Egypt.

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — An Egyptian truce proposal for the conflict in Gaza quickly unraveled Tuesday, after the Islamic militant Hamas rejected the plan, Gaza militants fired scores of rockets at Israel and Israel responded with more than a dozen airstrikes.

Israel had agreed to the Egyptian plan, proposed late Monday. Under it, a 12-hour period of deescalation was to begin at mid-morning Tuesday. Once both sides agree to halt hostilities, they would negotiate the terms of a longer-term truce.

Gaza militants responded by firing dozens of rockets after the proposed start of the deescalation, some of them reaching deep into Israel, though not causing injuries. Israel, which had warned it would strike Gaza harder than before if Hamas did not halt hostilities, held its fire for several hours, but resumed air strikes by mid-afternoon Tuesday.

After the renewed rocket fire from Gaza on Tuesday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon "directed the military to act with intensity against terror targets in Gaza," said an Israeli official who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the decision with the media.

Since the outbreak of cross-border fighting on July 8, more than 190 Palestinians have been killed in hundreds of Israeli airstrikes and millions of Israelis have been exposed to rocket fire. The current round of violence was the third in just over five years. The previous one, in 2012, eventually ended with the help of Egypt, at the time seen as a trusted broker by Hamas.

Read tomorrow's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for full details.


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