Gaza: Israel resumes Gaza offensive after truce expires

The Israeli army says it resumed operations in Gaza after the truce expired, launching air raids and artillery fire.

International mediators, including Qatar, Egypt, and the United States, had pushed for another extension of the truce, which expired at 7 a.m. local time on Friday.

Fighting has resumed between Hamas and Israel on the ground in separate areas across the territory.

The Israeli army has issued a statement saying that it has resumed fighting against Hamas in the Gaza Strip, claiming that Hamas violated the truce by firing into Israel territory.

Starting from the north of the Gaza Strip, where the Israeli occupation forces carried out an air strike in the neighbourhood of Sheikh Radwan.

Also, artillery shelling and targeting continue in [central] Gaza, as the [Israeli forces] are trying to expand the military operations on the ground.

The sound of the Israeli drones can be clearly [heard] again in the sky of the south of the Gaza Strip.

The Gaza Strip is under heavy artillery and even aerial bombardment by the occupation forces. In the coming hours, we might witness a surging increase of the number of the Israeli strikes across the territory.

This brings Palestinians only one option – that they will live again under the Israeli bombardment that will destroy all means of life inside the Gaza Strip.

Witnesses in Gaza City and the north of the Gaza Strip say heavy clashes are taking place between Palestinian fighting groups and Israeli troops.

In the central Gaza Strip, Israeli tanks are also shelling near Nuseirat and Bureij refugee camps.

Health Ministry officials in Gaza say Israeli air strikes have killed at least nine people across the Gaza Strip in less than two hours since the resumption of military operations.

In the south, at least six people were killed in an attack on a house in Rafah, and one in Khan Younis, journalist Hind Khoudary reported from Khan Younis. In central Gaza, at least nine people were killed in the al-Maghazi area in central Gaza.

Israel has also been asking residents in certain neighborhoods of Khan Younis to leave ahead of an expected attack in the area.

“The Israeli forces dropped leaflets for people in Khan Younis asking them to evacuate to Rafah, but they are also targeting Rafah,” Khoudary said.

Luciano Zaccara, associate professor of Gulf politics at Qatar University, says it was always Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s plan to restart military operations in Gaza.

Whether a return to all-out war can be avoided is now the crucial question, Zaccara told Al Jazeera.

“The intention of Netanyahu has been clear since the very beginning, that he wants to eliminate Hamas. So the question was, what would happen as soon as all the hostages were released? If the objective is to eliminate Hamas, once all the hostages are finally released, they would resume attacks,” Zaccara said.

“I had the expectation that this truce could be extended for a while. At least to show that Israel has some political will to appease the situation,” he said.

“It all depends on how, today, Blinken, Qatar, and other stakeholders are pressuring Israel and Hamas at least to not start a full-fledged war. We are witnessing now that they are starting to launch rockets and retaliation from the Israeli side. So it depends on the coming few hours to see if there is hope at least to not see a full-fledged war.”