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Israel intercepts rocket fired from Gaza

Israel’s military said it intercepted a rocket fired from Gaza early this morning while Hamas-affiliated media reported sounds of gunfire and explosions in the north of the coastal strip shortly before a deadline to extend a seven-day truce was set to expire. Air raid sirens sounded in Israeli communities near the border with Gaza as the 7 a.m. (0500 GMT) deadline to extend the pause in fighting neared.

Israel’s Kan public broadcaster described the sirens as the first to sound since the truce, which has been extended twice, began on November 24. Neither side has announced an extension to the truce.

There was no immediate comment from Hamas or claim of responsibility for the launch. Israel’s military said its Iron Dome missile defence system had intercepted the projectile.

The Shehab News Agency, which is considered close to Hamas, reported explosions and gunfire could be heard in the northern part of the Gaza Strip. Other Hamas-affiliated media reported sounds of military and drone aircraft flying over Gaza City. No other details were immediately available.

After two last-minute extensions, the enemies marked the seventh day of a Qatari-mediated truce yesterday with the exchange of eight hostages and 30 Palestinian prisoners as well as the infusion of more humanitarian aid into the shattered Gaza Strip.

Mark Regev, an adviser to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, said Israel was open to continuing the ceasefire if Hamas committed to further hostage releases. Israel had previously set the release of 10 hostages a day as the minimum it would accept to pause its assault. We’re ready for all possibilities…. Without that, we’re going back to the combat,” he said on CNN.

Before the prior truce was due to expire early yesterday, Hamas and its ally, the armed wing of Palestinian Islamic Jihad, put their fighters on alert for a resumption of hostilities.

Israel has sworn to annihilate Hamas, which rules Gaza, in response to the October 7 rampage by the militant group, when Israel says gunmen killed 1 200 people and took 240 hostages. Israel retaliated with intense bombardment and a ground invasion. Palestinian health authorities deemed reliable by the United Nations say more than 15 000 Gazans have been confirmed killed.

Source:  news365

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