The ceasefire between Israel and Hamas (as well as other groups) in Gaza that had held for nearly an entire week was broken hours before it was set to expire after rockets were fired into two separate areas of southern Israel.
The breach came as the two parties were in Cairo supposedly finalizing a long-term ceasefire that would end the six weeks of hostilities. Those talks have been suspended and Israel has resumed airstrikes on Gaza, causing injuries and prompting more rocket fire.
With the ceasefire formally set to end in just four hours and with the ceasefire talks lagging, we may be in for a full-scale return to violence in the coming hours.
1:14 p.m.: As rockets continue to be fired into Israel from Gaza, Israel has conducted 25 airstrikes, which according to the various reports, have wounded a handful of Palestinians across Gaza.
12:06 p.m.: AFP is reporting that thousands of Palestinians have begun leaving their homes in Gaza City to seek shelter after Israel renewed its airstrikes earlier today.
Thousands more are leaving the areas of Zeitun and Shaaf, alarmed by a series of explosions, and heading toward shelters in UN schools, the witnesses say.
11:52 a.m.: Per Haaretz, Israel's Iron Dome missile defense system was said to have intercepted two rockets fired into southern Israel from Gaza. Meanwhile, the Palestinian Health Ministry says that two Palestinian children were injured in an Israeli airstrike earlier.
11:34 a.m.: Hamas is not only reportedly denying that it launched any rockets, but it is denying that any rockets were launched into Israel.
Hamas also blamed Israel for its airstrikes, calling them attacks "intended to topple the negotiations in Cairo."
9:54 a.m.: Israel has responded to the rocket fire with airstrikes, which reportedly struck ten targets within northern Gaza, but as of yet, caused no known injuries. Earlier in the day, Hamas had both accused Israel of dragging its feet on signing a ceasefire and announced that this truce extension would be the last one.
In a sign of trouble to come, Israel, citing the rocket fire, has withdrawn its diplomats from Cairo where negotiations on a long-term ceasefire were taking place.
The ceasefire between Israel and the various Palestinian factions in Gaza has reportedly been broken.
BREAKING: Israeli military says a number of rockets have been fired from Gaza Strip, breaking cease-fire.— The Associated Press (@AP) August 19, 2014
Previous ceasefires and temporary truces in the six-week conflict had met with occasional breaches although not always devolving into full-scale violence.
This is the eleventh ceasefire that Hamas has either rejected or violated.— Mark Regev (@MarkRegevPMO) August 19, 2014
Today's rocket fire was the first since a truce was announced last Wednesday and the two sides began meeting in Cairo in the hopes of ironing out a long-term ceasefire agreement.
According to reports, the Israeli Defense Forces have been instructed to respond to the rockets, which reportedly struck near the Israeli city of Beersheba.
BREAKING: Israeli officials: After Hamas violated the ceasefire PM Netanyahu ordered IDF to attack terror targets in Gaza— Barak Ravid (@BarakRavid) August 19, 2014