Israel strikes Gaza as truce ends

Israeli fighter jets hit the Gaza Strip on Friday shortly after a weeklong truce expired, the military said, as the war resumed in full force.

Airstrikes hit southern Gaza, including the community of Abassan east of the town of Khan Younis, the Interior Ministry in the Hamas-run territory said. Another strike hit a home northwest of Gaza City.

Loud, continuous explosions were heard coming from the Gaza Strip and black smoke billowed from the territory.

In Israel, sirens blared at three communal farms near Gaza warning of incoming rocket fire, suggesting Hamas had also resumed its attacks.

The Israeli military's announcement of the strikes came only 30 minutes after the cease-fire expired at 7 a.m. (0500 GMT) Friday.

At least six Palestinians were killed Friday morning in an Israeli air raid on Rafah city in the south of Gaza, Hamas-run health ministry spokesperson Ashraf al-Qudra told AFP, updating an initial toll of three.

Elsewhere, two children were killed in air raids on Gaza City, said Fadel Naim, a doctor with Al-Ahli hospital, as fighting resumed shortly after the expiration of a seven-day truce between Israel and Hamas militants.

Earlier Friday, Israel accused Hamas of having violated the terms of the cease-fire, including by firing rockets toward Israel from Gaza.

The halt in fighting began Nov. 24. It initially lasted for four days, and then was extended for several days with the help of Qatar and fellow mediator Egypt.

During the week-long truce, Hamas and other militants in Gaza released more than 100 hostages, most of them Israelis, in return for 240 Palestinians freed from prisons in Israel.

Virtually all of those freed were women and children, but the fact that few such hostages...

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