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Heavy fighting erupts in Gaza despite cease-fire declaration

(JTA) — Heavy fighting broke out in the Gaza Strip two hours after Hamas and Israel were supposed to be observing a cease-fire.

Several people were killed in the Gaza Strip in the exchanges of fire that broke out a little after 10 a.m. Friday, the Ma’an news agency reported.

A mortar round that was launched at Israel Friday morning at 10 a.m. exploded inside the Gaza Strip, the news site Ynet reported. Another alarm was heard following the detection of a second launch roughly one hour later.

Fighting also broke out between Israeli troops and Hamas militants in the Rafah region in the southern part of the Gaza Strip.

Hamas Health Ministry official Ashraf al-Kidra and Gaza police spokesman Ayman Batniji said 15 other Palestinians were wounded in the shelling east of Rafah, the Associated Press reported.

The cease-fire, announced by U.S. Secretary fo State John Kerry and U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, was supposed to facilitate Egyptian-hosted talks on ending the hostilities.

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