Israel's military on Friday said it resumed combat operations in the Gaza Strip minutes after a temporary truce with Hamas expired, blaming the militant group for breaking the ceasefire.
Israeli air strikes and artillery fire were seen in Gaza City after the truce expired at 1pm Hong Kong time. The halt in fighting began a week ago, on November 24 and initially lasted for four days, and then was extended for several days with the help of Qatar and fellow mediator Egypt.
During the week-long truce, Hamas and other militants in Gaza released more than 100 hostages, most of them Israelis, in return for 240 Palestinians freed from prisons in Israel.
Hamas, a militant group that has ruled Gaza for 16 years, had also been expected to set a higher price for the remaining hostages, especially Israeli soldiers. About 140 hostages remain in Gaza, with more than 100 having been freed as part of the truce.
Qatar and Egypt, which have played a key role as mediators had sought to prolong the truce by another two days.
About an hour before the deadline, the Israel Defense Forces said they had intercepted a rocket fired from Gaza. (AP/AFP)