(JTA) — The war between Israel and Hamas in Gaza has restarted after a weeklong ceasefire ended at 7 a.m. local time, with Hamas firing rockets into Israel and Israel resuming its military campaign to dismantle the terror group.
The truce, which began on Friday, Nov. 24, saw Hamas release more than 100 of the hostages it held, nearly all of them women and children, in exchange for a pause in the fighting and the release of Palestinian security prisoners. Originally set to last four days, it was extended through international mediation. But efforts to continue the truce fell short as Hamas did not provide Israel with a list of 10 hostages it would have released Friday in return for one more day of quiet.
“Upon the resumption of fighting, we emphasize: The Government of 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,” read a statement Friday morning from the Israeli Prime Minister’s Office.
The war began on Oct. 7 when Hamas invaded Israel, killing 1,200 and taking more than 240 people hostage. Israel’s counterattack aims to depose Hamas from its control of Gaza and has included airstrikes and a ground invasion of the Gaza Strip’s northern half. According to the Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry, more than 14,500 Palestinians have been killed in the fighting, a number that does not distinguish between civilians and combatants and does not denote casualties from misfired Palestinian rockets.
The ministry said on Telegram that dozens of Gazans had been killed in the hours after the truce ended. Five Israeli soldiers were wounded by a rocket in southern Israel amid the renewed volley of rockets there.
Israel vowed to continue the fight following the truce and is expected to expand its operations against Hamas into the southern half of the Gaza Strip, where most of the territory’s population has fled.
Visiting Israel on Thursday, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken warned Israeli leaders that they had to take increased measures to protect civilian life in the next stage of the war. The Biden administration has supported Israel’s vow to resume fighting in the face of mounting international pressure for a ceasefire.
But in a meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Blinken also reportedly said Israel may only have “weeks” left to fight, rather than months. He also pledged to continue efforts to retrieve Israeli hostages, an estimated 137 of whom remain in Gaza.
“The way Israel defends itself matters,” he said, according to the Times of Israel. “I made clear that before Israel resumes major military operations, it must put in place humanitarian, civilian protection plans that minimize further casualties of innocent Palestinians. That means taking more effective steps to protect the lives of civilians, including by clearly and precisely designating areas and places in southern and central Gaza where they can be safe and out of the line of fire.”