Smoke rises over Gaza City after an Israeli strike, Aug. 8, 2014, as Israel and Gaza militants resumed cross-border attacks after a three-day truce expired and Egyptian-brokered talks on a new border deal for blockaded Gaza hit a deadlock. (Lefteris Pitarakis / AP)
Gaza City, Gaza Strip — Gaza militants resumed rocket attacks on Israel on Friday, refusing to extend a three-day truce after Egyptian-brokered talks between Israel and Hamas on a new border deal for blockaded Gaza hit a deadlock.
Israel responded with a series of airstrikes that killed at least five Palestinians, including three children, Palestinian officials said. Two Israelis were wounded by rocket fire, police said.
The renewed violence threw the Cairo talks on a broader deal into doubt. Hamas officials said they are ready to continue talks, but Israel’s government spokesman said Israel will not negotiate under fire.
Egypt’s Foreign Ministry expressed “extreme regret” over the failure to extend the truce, urged restraint by both sides and called for a new cease-fire to resume negotiations. The ministry said progress had been made in the talks, but did not explain.
Later Friday, the Palestinian delegation was to meet again with Egyptian mediators.
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon expressed disappointment at the failure to extend the cease-fire and urged the parties to find a way to reach “a durable cease-fire,” U.N. deputy spokesman Farhan Haq said.
Hamas wants Israel to open Gaza’s borders, following a seven-year closure also enforced by Egypt, but Israel says it will only do so if the Islamic militants disarm or are prevented from re-arming. Hamas has insisted it will never give up its weapons.
The wide gaps became clear at an all-night meeting between Egyptian and Palestinian negotiators that preceded the renewed fire. Hamas negotiators told The Associated Press that Israel rejected all of their demands.
Hamas had entered the Cairo talks from a position of military weakness, following a month of fighting in which Israel pounded Gaza with close to 5,000 strikes. Israel has said Hamas lost hundreds of fighters, two-thirds of its rocket arsenal and all of its tunnels under the border with Israel.
The fighting has left more than 1,900 Gaza residents dead, close to 10,000 wounded and tens of thousands displaced, with entire neighborhoods reduced to rubble.