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Israel-Hamas war: Israeli warplanes carry out strikes across Gaza as cease-fire expires, offensive resumes

Israeli fighter jets struck several targets in the Gaza Strip just minutes after a weeklong truce expired on Friday morning, resuming the war with Hamas.

After more than 100 hostages were freed as part of the cease-fire and Palesitnians in Gaza experienced days of peace for the first time since a wider war broke out between Israel and Hamas, which governs the territory, black smoke billowed from the besieged territory once again.

The renewed hostilities came as Israel and Hamas have traded blame for the collapse of the cease-fire, with each saying the other side violated the terms of the truce.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu specifically said Hamas had “not met its obligation to release all of the women hostages today and has launched rockets at Israeli citizens.”

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The Israeli military’s announcement of the resumption of strikes came only 30 minutes after the cease-fire expired at 7 a.m. (0500 GMT) Friday.

One airstrike destroyed a large building in Khan Younis. Another strike hit an apartment in a multi-story residential building in Hamad City. Elsewhere, a strike hit a home near Gaza City in the north, and in the refugee camp of Maghazi, near Gaza’s center.

Israel has said it is targeting Hamas operatives and blames Hamas for civilian casualties, accusing the terror group of operating in residential neighborhoods and using civilian facilities such as residential buildings, schools and hospitals as cover for its operations.

Israel also continued dropping leaflets over parts of southern Gaza urging people to leave their homes, ahead of its planned offensive to the south.

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Hours after the Israeli airstrikes, the Health Ministry of Hamas-controlled Gaza said 32 people had been killed and dozens wounded. Hours later, they updated the figure to 54 dead.

Fighting between Israel and Hamas initially stopped on Nov. 24 after both sides negotiated a temporary cease-fire to exchange Israeli hostages for Palestinian prisoners being held in Israel. It initially lasted for four days, but was extended for several days with the help of Qatar and fellow mediator Egypt.

Qatar, which has served as mediator along with Egypt, expressed “deep regret” over the Israeli bombardments, saying the resumption of violence further complicates its attempts to negotiate peace.

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“The State of Qatar expresses its deep regret at the resumption of the Israeli aggression against the Gaza Strip following the end of the humanitarian pause, without reaching an agreement to extend it,” the Qatari Foreign Ministry said.

“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirms that negotiations between the two sides are continuing with the aim of returning to a pause. It also clarifies that the State of Qatar is committed, along with its mediation partners, to continuing the efforts that led to the humanitarian pause, and will not hesitate to do everything necessary to return to calm,” it added.

And, “The Ministry stresses that the continued bombing of the Gaza Strip in the first hours after the end of the pause complicates mediation efforts and exacerbates the humanitarian catastrophe in the Strip, and in this context calls on the international community to move quickly to stop the violence.”

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These negotiators are continuing talks to restart the truce, according to mediator Qatar.

The renewed fighting came a day after U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken visited the region for the fourth time in recent months.

In Israel, the chief diplomat met with Israeli officials and urged them to do more to protect Palestinian civilians as they continue their objective to eliminate Hamas. Blinken then traveled to the COP28 climate talks in Dubai, where he was to meet with Arab foreign ministers and others.

Netanyahu has not said if he will heed the appeals of the United States to prevent unnecessary civilian casualties.

Netanyahu’s office said Friday that Israel “is committed to achieving the goals of the war: Releasing the hostages, eliminating Hamas and ensuring that Gaza never again constitutes a threat to the residents of Israel.”

The current war was triggered when Hamas led a deadly attack on Israel on Oct. 7, during which it and Palestinian militants killed about 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and took around 240 people back into Gaza as hostages.

Israel then declared war on the terror group, vowing to end its rule in Gaza and led a ground invasion of the Gaza Strip. According to the Health Ministry in Hamas-ruled Gaza, more than 13,300 Palestinians have been killed since Oct. 7. The ministry does not differentiate between civilians and combatants.

Fox News’ Trey Yingst and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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