News World Israel renews Gaza campaign

Israel renews Gaza campaign

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Israel has resumed a punishing air campaign against Gaza after its Islamist foe Hamas rejected a six-hour truce and fired dozens of rockets over the border.

The renewed strikes killed one person in southern Gaza, raising the toll in eight days of violence to 193, medics said on Tuesday.

• US warns Israel against ground assault
Israel accepts truce proposal

In an early morning vote, Israel’s security cabinet said it would accept an Egyptian ceasefire plan, which went into effect at 0600 GMT (1600 AEST) despite Hamas rejecting the initiative.

But the calm was short-lived, with sirens sending tens of thousands running for cover along Israel’s Mediterranean coast as militants fired rockets at the densely populated plain.

The truce proposal, which Cairo laid out late on Monday, won US support, but Hamas, whose militants have fired more than 1000 rockets into Israel, ruled out any end to the fighting without a full agreement.

One Hamas leader said the movement had not yet formulated an official position on the proposal, but rockets continued to be fired after the deadline.

By 1200 GMT (2200 AEST) Israel announced it was resuming its operation.

Tensions were also high on Israel’s other borders.

Overnight, three rockets hit in and around the southern resort city of Eilat wedged between Jordan and Egypt.

Another fired from Lebanon struck just outside the northern coastal town of Nahariya, the army said.

A rocket fired from the Syrian Golan Heights also struck the Israeli-occupied sector of the strategic plateau, prompting the air force to launch a pre-dawn strike, killing four people, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

As the violence resumed, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned Hamas that the Jewish state would not hesitate to resume its punishing campaign in and around Gaza.

“We responded positively to the Egyptian proposal to give a chance to deal with the demilitarisation of Gaza,” Netanyahu said, referring to Hamas’s arsenal of missiles and rockets.

“But if Hamas doesn’t accept the ceasefire proposal – and that’s how it seems at this point in time – Israel will have all the international legitimacy to broaden its military activity in order to achieve the necessary quiet.”

Cairo’s initiative was made after Washington warned Israel against a launching a ground offensive in Gaza, where troops and armour have massed along the border.

Israel launched Operation Protective Edge before dawn on July 8, hitting Gaza with an intensive air and artillery bombardment aimed at stamping out rocket fire.

Militants answered with over 1000 rockets, dozens of which have targeted central and even northern Israel.

So far, the conflict has claimed 193 Palestinian lives, with human rights groups saying well over two-thirds are civilians.

There have been no deaths in Israel, although four people have been seriously wounded.