Israel Palestine Conflict

At least 109 killed in Israeli strikes in Gaza since truce expired: Ministry

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The Hamas-run health ministry in the Gaza Strip said 109 people had been killed in the Palestinian territory on Friday after a truce between Israel and Hamas expired and fighting resumed.

Spokesman Ashraf al-Qudra said in a statement that the military had also tallied “hundreds of wounded in the Israeli aggression.”

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As the deadline lapsed, Reuters journalists in Khan Younis in southern Gaza saw eastern areas come under intensive bombardment, sending columns of smoke rising into the sky. Residents took to the streets fleeing for shelter further west.

In the north of the enclave, the main war zone for weeks, huge plumes of smoke rose above the ruins, seen from across the fence in Israel. The rattle of gunfire and thud of explosions rang out above the sound of barking dogs.

Medics and witnesses said the bombing was most intensive in Khan Younis and Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, and also targeted houses in central and northern areas.

“Anas, my son, I don’t have anyone but you my son!” wailed the mother of Anas Anwar al-Masri, a boy lying on a stretcher with a head injury in the corridor of Nasser hospital in Khan Younis. “He is my only boy!”

The Israeli military announced it had “resumed combat operations” and its warplanes were striking the enclave, accusing Hamas of violating the truce first by firing rockets and failing to free all the women it was holding hostage.

“With the resumption of fighting we emphasize: The Israeli government is committed to achieving the goals of the war - to free our hostages, to eliminate Hamas, and to ensure that Gaza will never pose a threat to the residents of Israel,” the office of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said.

Hamas said Israel bore responsibility for the end of the truce, for rejecting terms to free more hostages and extend it.

“What Israel did not achieve during the fifty days before the truce, it will not achieve by continuing its aggression after the truce,” Ezzat El Rashq, a member of the Hamas political bureau, said on the group’s website.

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