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Exchange of rockets, missiles imperil cease-fire extension

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(JTA) — An exchange of rockets and missiles raised questions as to whether an extended truce between Israel and Hamas could hold.

Palestinian leaders announced a five-day extension of the three-day cease-fire shortly after midnight Thursday, the expected expiration of the truce.

Shortly before that hour, rockets from the Gaza Strip struck southern Israel; no casualties were reported. Israeli officials reported that as many as eight rockets were fired between 9:30 pm and 1 a.m., according to The New York Times. In retaliation, the Israeli Defense Forces launched missile strikes at targets in Gaza.

Hamas officials denounced Israel for violating the cease-fire and denied firing rockets at Israel, according to The Jerusalem Post.

“There is no violation of the calm from any Palestinian side, and nobody in Gaza has heard rocket fire,” said Izzat Reshiq, a Hamas official, according to the Post.

Hamas said the rockets were fired by militants outside its control, according to the Times.

The five-day extension of the cease-fire was by Palestinian officials. Israeli officials reportedly have refused to comment on the cease-fire, but The New York Times reported that Egyptian officials said Israel had agreed to the extension and to continue negotiations toward a more extended truce.

 

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