ISRAELI AIR STRIKES last night and early this morning killed at least eight people including a pregnant woman and a number of children.
In a strike this morning on the southern Gaza town of Deir el-Balah the pregnant woman, three children and two men were killed, emergency services said.
They said that the woman was nine months pregnant but medics were unable to save the foetus.
Another strike last night killed the wife and two-year-old daughter of Gaza’s military chief, Mohammed Deif, according to Hamas.
“The wife of the great leader was martyred with his daughter,” in a strike last night, Hamas’s exiled deputy leader Mussa Abu Marzuk wrote on Facebook while saying nothing about the fate of Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades commander himself.
The Israeli military said it hit “more than 25 targets” in Gaza yesterday but would not elaborate.
More than a month of fighting between Israel and Hamas has killed at least 2,026 Palestinians and 67 on the Israeli side since 8 July.
A 24-hour truce due to last until midnight collapsed late yesterday afternoon, with each side blaming the other leaving peace talks in Cairo frozen.
The al-Qassam Brigades said in a statement that it fired 34 rockets into Israel yesterday, hitting Tel Aviv and the southern city of Beersheva.
An Israeli statement reported no casualties. ”A rocket hit an open area in the Tel Aviv metropolitan area,” it said and confirmed that two rockets landed near Beersheva, which is home to around 200,000 Israelis.
Air raid sirens were also heard in Jerusalem, with Hamas claiming a rocket attack on the city.
Talks in Cairo
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered a new round of air strikes on Gaza and recalled his negotiators from Egyptian-mediated ceasefire talks in Cairo.
“The rocket fire which broke the ceasefire also destroyed the foundation on which the talks in Cairo were based,” Netanyahu spokesman Mark Regev told AFP early Wednesday.
“The Egyptian initiative is based on a total and unconditional cessation of hostilities, which was clearly broken when rockets were fired into Israel.”
The Palestinian negotiators are also expected to leave Cairo today but the delegation’s head Azzam al-Ahmed said they were not pulling out of negotiations.
The renewal of Israeli air strikes spread panic among Gaza residents.
An AFP reporter saw hundreds of Palestinians streaming out of Shejaiya, an eastern area of Gaza City which has been devastated by more than a month of fighting between Israel and the militant Islamist Hamas movement.
More poured out of the Zeitun and Shaaf areas, alarmed by a series of explosions and heading to shelter in UN schools, local witnesses said.
Bomb shelters in Israel
In Israel the army said that it ordered that public bomb shelters within 80 kilometres of the Gaza border, be opened ready for use. That includes Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.
Israel has vowed not to negotiate under fire, and Netanyahu has pledged “a very strong response” to any resumption of rocket attacks.
- © AFP 2014 with additional reporting by Michelle Hennessy.