A two-year-old child and a woman are killed in an Israeli airstrike as a week-long Gaza ceasefire crumbles – with Hamas blamed for firing the first rockets.
Above: Palestinians evacuate their homes as airstrikes resume on Gaza
Palestinian health officials said the two-year-old girl and a woman were the first casualties in the renewed fighting, after an Israeli airstrike hit a home in Gaza City.
Witnesses said Israel launched 35 attacks. Another unidentified person was also killed.
Three rockets were reported to have been fired by Hamas into Israel at around 1:30pm GMT. Israel Defence Forces said the rockets hit the areas of Beesheba and Netivot.
It is understood that the rockets fell in open areas and there were no reports of casualties.
In response to today’s rocket fire, we have begun striking terror targets in the Gaza Strip.
— IDF (@IDFSpokesperson) August 19, 2014
Immediately after the Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu ordered the military to “attack terror strikes in the Gaza Strip”, a government official said.
Mark Regev, a spokesman for Prime Minister Netanyahu, called the initial attack on the southern city of Beersheba “a grave and direct violation of the ceasefire”.
Israeli and Palestinian negotiators had been struggling to reach a lasting deal in Egypt-mediated talks taking place in Cairo. On Monday night a ceasefire was extended by a further 24 hours, to 9pm on Tuesday – but this has now failed to hold.
The ceasefires had provided a respite in the bloody Gaza conflict, in which more than 2,000 people have been killed. The Palestinian Health Ministry says the death toll from the conflict is at 2,016, with the majority of the fatalities civilians.
Sixty four Israeli soldiers and three Israeli civilians have died in the conflict.
Prime Minister Netanyahu has ordered his negotiators home following the rocket attack.