Why Israel Resumes Bombardments in Gaza; The Straw That Broke the Camel’s Back

Fighting between Hamas and Israel has resumed in Gaza after a seven-day cessation that facilitated the exchange of hostages and Palestinian prisoners and the flow of humanitarian aid in the devastated enclave.

Gaza’s Hamas-run health ministry says 109 people died in the first hours of Friday’s attack.

The Israel Defense Forces said Friday the resumption of fighting follows Hamas’ violation of a temporary truce and the militant group’s launching of a rocket attack on Israel.

The renewed violence comes amid a New York Times report that Israel had advance knowledge of a detailed Hamas plan to attack Israel, but that the plan was dismissed as “aspirational.”

The approximately 40-page translated document, codenamed “Jerico Wall” and reviewed by the Times, detailed how U.S.-designated terror group Hamas would execute a multi-pronged assault on Israeli defense positions and take over cities. It did not set a date for the attack.

The Times said Israeli military and intelligence officials had knowledge of the plan more than a year before the October 7 attack. It was not clear if Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also knew.

There was no immediate reaction by the Israeli government to the Times report.

Even as the sounds and smells of war return to Gaza, international mediators are continuing to negotiate to bring an end to the fighting.

The IDF said on the social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter, that it had “successfully intercepted” the rocket launch from Gaza.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility from Hamas for the rocket attack.

However, leaflets dropped by Israel in Khan Younis in southern Gaza are advising people there to travel farther south for their safety.

James Elder, a UNICEF spokesperson, said in a video posted on X, from Gaza’s “biggest, still functioning” hospital that “This hospital simply cannot take more children with the wounds of war.” He said a bomb had fallen “literally 50 meters from here.”

Elder said, “Inaction by those with influence is allowing the killing of children. This is a war on children.”

The return to fighting comes after a seven-day truce that allowed for the exchange of Israeli hostages from the Oct. 7 Hamas attack on Israel for Palestinian prisoners.

On Thursday, two Palestinian gunmen attacked a Jerusalem bus stop, killing at least four people and injuring several others.

Two women were released in the afternoon and six more were released shortly before midnight. It was the seventh group of hostages released under the temporary truce deal between Hamas and Israel.

Israel initially required the militant group to release at least 10 hostages daily for the truce to continue, but a Qatari Foreign Affairs Ministry spokesperson said that no additional hostages would be released Thursday. Qatar helped broker the truce.

The Qatari spokesperson said Israel accepted the eight hostages because Hamas on Wednesday released an extra two hostages, who were Israeli-Russian women.

Hamas had indicated that it could free two more Israeli-Russian citizens, but the militant group ultimately did not do so. Hamas had also previously said it would release the bodies of three Israeli hostages on Thursday, but it is unclear whether that occurred.

In turn, Israel released 30 Palestinians from prisons in Israel.

To date, Hamas has released 105 hostages and Israel has released 240 Palestinian prisoners. Hamas has been designated a terrorist organization by the United States, Britain, the European Union, and others.

“We have seen over the last week the very positive development of hostages coming home, being reunited with their families, and that should continue today,” Blinken said. “It’s also enabled a significant increase in humanitarian assistance to go to innocent civilians in Gaza, who need it desperately.”

Blinken is to end his Middle East trip with a Friday visit to the United Arab Emirates, where he is expected to discuss Gaza with Arab world leaders attending the U.N. Climate Conference in Dubai.


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