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Israel Refuses to Lift Blockade, Resumes Shelling

Israeli forces launch attacks, injuring two Palestinian children, in retaliation for rocket fire from Gaza

With peace talks now broken, Israel has resumed shelling the Gaza strip. (Photo: UNRWA)

Peace talks in Cairo collapsed on Tuesday morning after Israeli delegates refused to lift the blockade on Gaza, a key demand of Palestinian negotiators. Meanwhile, Israeli forces have resumed shelling the besieged strip, indicating that the tentative truce is now over.

As air strikes resumed, AFP reports that thousands of Palestinian civilians in Gaza City fled their homes "carrying bags of clothes, pillows and mattresses," streaming towards United Nations-designated shelters at local schools. The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (URWA) reported strikes in "North Gaza, Middle and Khan Younis."

According to reports, the Israeli warplanes were launched in retaliation for three rockets fired from Gaza, which Israeli officials said broke the extended ceasefire agreement. Two Palestinian boys aged six and nine were wounded when the bombs struck the southern city of Rafah, the Palestinian emergency services spokesman said.

As of Monday, over 238,000 internally displaced Palestinians are being sheltered in 81 UNRWA schools, the agency reports. And, anticipating the end of the ceasefire, many more fled to shelters overnight. According to the UN's toll, since Israeli forces launched Operation Protective Edge on July 8th, there have been 1,976 verified Palestinian deaths with 1,417 believed to be civilians, including 459 children and 239 women.

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