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Gaza Ceasefire Crumbles, Fighting Continues To Escalate



JERUSALEM - Two Palestinians were reportedly killed during the visit of Egyptian Prime Minister Hesham Kandil in Gaza, dashing hopes of a possible ceasefire between Israel and Palestine

According to Al Jazeera, a new air strike hit the Jibaliya refugee camp located at the northern end of the Gaza Strip, killing two people, one of them a child, and injuring seven others.

Earlier, Israel pledged to suspend the strikes during Kandil’s visit, if Palestinian militants refrained from firing rockets, thus creating what Reuters called a "tiny window to emergency peace diplomacy in Gaza."

But shortly after the prime minister arrived, Israeli and Palestinian officials accused each other of violating the temporary truce, BBC News reports.

Overnight, Israeli war planes pounded Gaza with around 150 air strikes, with the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) targeting rocket-launching sites and arms depots. The Guardian reports that the Israeli military is calling up 16,000 reservists, after receiving permission to draft up to 30,000 – a clear sign that Israel is preparing to further escalate Operation Pillar of Defense.

At least 20 Palestinians and three Israelis have been killed since the offensive began on Wednesday when Israel killed Ahmed al-Jabari, the military chief of Hamas, and started to shell the coastal enclave in response to increasing rocket fire from Gaza.

Fighting reached a new level on Thursday evening, when two rockets were fired from the Gaza strip on the Tel Aviv area for the first time – although no casualties were reported, one rocket crashing into the sea and the other in an uninhabited part of the Jaffa suburb south of the city.

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FOCUS: Israel-Palestine War

Our Next Four Days In Gaza: Digging For The Dead, Hunting For Food, Hoping Ceasefire Sticks

With Qatar now confirming that the temporary truce will begin Friday morning, ordinary Gazans may be able to breathe for the first time since Oct. 7. But for most, the task ahead is a mix of heartbreak and the most practical tasks to survive. And there’s the question hanging over all: can the ceasefire become permanent?

Photo of Palestinians looking for their belongings in the rubble of their housein Deir al-Balah, Gaza

Palestinians look for their belongings in the rubble of their housein Deir al-Balah, Gaza

Elias Kassem

It’s what just about everyone in Gaza has been waiting for: a ceasefire in the Israel-Hamas war is expected to begin Friday, bringing a respite to more than 2.3 million people who have been living under war and siege for seven straight weeks.

By the stipulations of the deal, the truce is expected to last four days, during which time Hamas will release hostages captured during their Oct. 7 assault and Israel will release Palestinian prisoners from their jails.

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While details of the negotiations continue, ordinary Palestinians know they may only have four days before the bombs starting dropping and tanks start rolling again.

Some will continue sifting through the rubble, looking to find trapped family members, after searches were interrupted by new rounds of air attacks.

Other Gazans will try to find shelter in what they’ve been told are safer areas in the south of Palestinian enclave. Some will hurry back to inspect their homes, especially in the northern half of the strip where Israeli ground forces have battled Palestinian militants for weeks.

Ahmed Abu Radwan says he will try to return to his northern town of Beit Lahia, with the aim of resuming digging the rubble of his home in hopes of pulling the bodies of his 8-year-old son Omar.

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