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Israeli military says Gaza ceasefire is over

Published on Aug 1, 2014 7:03 PM
Palestinians, who were displaced from their houses due to fighting between Israel's army and Hamas fighters, return to inspect the condition of their homes in Jabalia in the northern Gaza Strip on Aug 1, 2014. -- PHOTO: AFP

JERUSALEM (REUTERS) -  Israel declared a Gaza ceasefire over on Friday and killed more than 50 Palestinians in renewed shelling, saying militants had breached the truce shortly after it began and apparently captured an Israeli soldier.

The 72-hour break announced by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon was the most ambitious attempt so far to end more than three weeks of fighting, and followed mounting international alarm over a rising Palestinian civilian death toll.

The ceasefire was to be followed by Israeli-Palestinian negotiations in Cairo on a longer-term solution.  Egyptian officials said the invitation still stood, but some Palestinian representatives had asked for a postponement until Saturday or Sunday to allow a new truce to be reached.  

The Israeli military said that 90 minutes into the truce - as Palestinian families who had fled neighbourhoods that had been turned into battlefields began to trek home – militants attacked soldiers searching for infiltration tunnels in the southern Gaza Strip. “Out of a tunnel access point or several, terrorists came out of the ground. At least one was a suicide terrorist who detonated himself. There was an exchange of fire,” said Lieutenant-Colonel Peter Lerner, a military spokesman.

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