Temporary ceasefire over: Israel resumes fighting against Hamas

The Israeli army announced on Friday morning that it had resumed fighting in Gaza against Islamist Hamas. This brings to an end a week-long ceasefire. Meanwhile, US secretary of state Antony Blinken has called for safe zones for civilians.

On Thursday, Blinken met again with the parties to the conflict: Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas. In his meeting with Netanyahu, Blinken urged him to protect civilians in central and southern Gaza.

"Plans for the humanitarian protection of civilians must be put in place to minimise the number of innocent Palestinian deaths," Blinken told reporters at a press conference in Tel Aviv.

"This means taking more effective measures to protect the lives of civilians, for example, by clearly and precisely designating zones and locations in central and southern Gaza where they will be safe and out of the line of fire."

Since Friday morning, Israel and Hamas have resumed fighting after a pause that began on 24 November and has been extended twice. It ended seven weeks of devastating Israeli bombardment of Gaza in retaliation for Hamas's bloody attack on Israeli territory on 7 October.

The pause also allowed the release of dozens of hostages held in Gaza since 7 October and three times as many Palestinians detained by Israel, as well as humanitarian access to the Palestinian territory.



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