Israel resumes Gaza military operation after Hamas cease-fire ends

The renewed outbreak of fighting follows a week of respite for the 2.3 million civilians in Gaza. The halt in fighting that began Nov. 24 has held, allowing much-needed aid into the besieged enclave. During that time 105 hostages were released from Gaza, officials said, while Israel has released 240 Palestinians held in Israeli jails.

The deal — mediated by Qatar, Egypt and the United States — was extended Thursday morning local time for a seventh day.

Tensions had been rising.

Virtually all of the freed captives were women and children, but the fact that few such hostages remained in Gaza complicated talks.

And there were growing fears of violence spreading, after a deadly shooting at a bus stop in Jerusalem and an Israeli raid on the Jenin refugee camp in the occupied West Bank that Palestinian health officials said killed two boys, one of them 8 years old.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had vowed that after the pause, the war would restart with full force. His military leaders had signaled this would mean an assault on the south of the densely populated strip, where masses of displaced civilians had fled following the Israeli military’s urging and bombardment in the north but where it also said Hamas leaders were hiding.

The United States has publicly urged its ally to operate with much greater care for civilians in any renewed military campaign.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken, in Israel, made remarks Thursday about what the U.S. wanted if the war resumed.

“We discussed the details of Israel’s ongoing planning, and I underscore the imperative by the United States that the massive loss of civilian life and displacement of the scale that we saw in northern Gaza not be repeated in the South,” Blinken said. “As I told the prime minister, intent matters, but so does the result.”

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