Jerusalem, 7 a.m. (0500 GMT) – The Israeli military has announced that its fighter jets have commenced striking Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip, marking a clear escalation in the conflict after a weeklong truce.
Cease-fire Violation and Potential Return to Fighting
Israel has accused Hamas of violating the terms of the recent cease-fire by firing rockets towards Israeli territories from Gaza. The cease-fire, which began on November 24, has expired with no immediate announcement from mediator Qatar regarding an extension, raising concerns of renewed fighting.
Efforts for Temporary Peace
The initial four-day halt in fighting was extended with the assistance of Qatar and Egypt. During this time, Hamas and other militant groups in Gaza were responsible for the release of over 100 hostages, mostly Israelis, in exchange for the liberation of 240 Palestinians from Israeli prisons. Notably, the majority of those released were women and children.
However, as the number of remaining women and children held captive in Gaza decreases, reaching new agreements on hostage swaps becomes increasingly challenging.
The resumption of airstrikes indicates a significant escalation in hostilities, underscoring the fragility of the situation.