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Did Gaza Truce End Or Collapse? Hamas, Israel Trade Blame

Israel says Hamas fired rockets before a 72-hour cease-fire ended, but reporters only saw rockets after it expired. Regardless, fighting has resumed.
Posted at 9:56 AM, Aug 08, 2014

Looks like both sides were ready to start fighting again the second that brief cease-fire in Gaza ended Friday morning.

BBC reporters on the ground in Gaza say they saw evidence of more conflict as soon as the 72-hour cease-fire came to an end.

JAMES REYNOLDS, BBC CORRESPONDENT: "Have heard some explosions. Indeed, one of my colleagues a few moments ago saw the plume of smoke from the north of Gaza. ... From the evidence we've seen with our own eyes, Hamas or perhaps other militant groups have begun to fire rockets."

Haaretz and other media outlets based in Israel reported Israeli air strikes on the Gaza Strip began immediately after that.

Israel claims Hamas fired those rockets before the cease-fire was over, though no media outlets appear to have confirmed that. They've only repeated the accusation. As for Hamas, the group says Israel ended the cease-fire by not meeting its demands at the negotiations in Cairo.

The blame game isn't unexpected. These talks started with each side putting the onus of successful peace negotiations on the other. The Israeli delegation spoke with Al Jazeera after leaving negotiations. (Video via Sky News)

MARK REGEV, SPOKESMAN FOR ISRAEL PRIME MINISTER BENJAMIN NETANYAHU: "Hamas has not only shown its total disregard for Israeli life, but has shown it has no qualms whatsoever about endangering and bringing tragedy upon the civilian population of Gaza."

During the now month-long conflict, Israel Defense Forces say they managed to locate and destroy most or all of Hamas' underground tunnels leading out of Gaza. But the operation came at a price.

More than 60 Israeli soldiers died so far, a number still dwarfed by the Palestinian death toll that neared 1,900 this week.

Meanwhile, a Haaretz poll published Wednesday showed a majority of Israelis thought the government only achieved some of its goals while neither side won the conflict.

Hamas can't be terribly proud of what it's accomplished to this point, either. Analysts — at least Western ones — say Palestinians got nothing out of the negotiations in Cairo except three days without fighting.

REZA SAYAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: "The minimum demand Hamas put forth to the Israeli was getting a seaport that would give them access to the outside world. Israel did not give that to them, apparently."

GIDEON LICHFIELD, QUARTZ SENIOR EDITOR ON MSNBC"Israel has kind of got what it wanted out of the first round of fighting. It managed to destroy the Hamas tunnels. Hamas got nothing, and Israelis are able to say, 'Look, Hamas broke the cease-fire.'"

In a statement on its website, Hamas continued its demand for a seaport giving Palestinians access to the Mediterranean Sea. A translated portion read, "We are ready for the start of the battle again."

This video includes images from Getty Images.