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Updated Dec 1, 2023, 12:54pm EST
securityMiddle East
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Semafor Signals

Israel restarts Gaza offensive as truce expires

Smoke rises in Gaza following an Israeli strike, after a temporary truce between Israel and the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas expired, as seen from southern Israel, December 1, 2023. REUTERS/Alexander Ermochenko
REUTERS/Alexander Ermochenko
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Israel resumed strikes on Gaza after its seven-day truce with Hamas expired on Friday.

Negotiations to extend the temporary ceasefire — which required the release of at least 10 hostages for each additional day — broke down, with Israel accusing Hamas of firing rockets into its territory and refusing to release people it had agreed to.

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Qatari mediators, who helped to negotiate the truce, are hoping to repair the deal. But sources that spoke to Israeli newspaper Haaretz said that the chances of renewing the ceasefire agreement are low, as tensions between the two sides have flared. One Qatari official told Reuters that both parties “have zero level of confidence in each other.”

The Israel Defense Forces are expected to move their focus to the southern portion of the Gaza Strip, having earlier targeted the north. U.S. officials say they have urged the IDF to hold off on its operations until it has a plan to protect the high number of civilians that have fled hostilities in the north to the south. Nimrod Novik, a former Israeli government adviser, told The Wall Street Journal that he had never seen Israeli citizens so enthusiastic about a U.S. leader as they are about President Joe Biden, so the increasingly unpopular Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu could lose support if he didn’t comply with U.S. demands.

Israeli officials reportedly knew about Hamas’ battle plan for the Oct. 7 attack more than a year before it transpired, The New York Times reported Thursday, but dismissed it as too sophisticated for the militant group. Hamas had been refining the plan for years, the Times noted, and Israel’s critical decision to ignore its intelligence instead of ward off a possible attack has drawn comparisons to the U.S.’ lack of preparedness ahead of 9/11.

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