Israeli airstrikes hit close to Egyptian border as Gaza truce collapses
Smoke and flames are seen following an alleged Israeli air strike in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip - REUTERS

CAIRO: A series of airstrikes in Gaza near the Egyptian border crossing at Rafah have Egyptian authorities on high alert, an unnamed security source in North Sinai told Youm7 Friday.

The Palestinian Ministry of Interior reported Friday Israeli F-16 jets unleashed an intense bombardment near the Gaza-Egypt border. The airstrikes started around five hours after the proposed 72-hour truce between Israel and Palestine was put in effect, and were followed by finger-pointing from both sides as to who was responsible for its failure.

Youm7 reported Friday evening the border crossing was closed temporarily due to intensified Israeli airstrikes in southern Gaza, but that it may reopen once the situation calms down.

Four Egyptian aid convoys returned to Arish for storage due to the airstrikes, but will be resent after the end of the raids, MENA reported. Egypt might send military planes to bring stranded Egyptians across the border crossing, Foreign Ministry spokesman Badr Abdel Atty told CBC Extra Channel Friday evening.

The U.S.-U.N. brokered truce started at 8 a.m. local time Friday, and ended two hours later when Israel renewed fire on Gaza and killed six people, Sky News reported. However, the Israeli military is claiming in multiple statements, including on social media, that its renewed attacks are in response to the capture of 23-year-old Lieutenant Hadar Goldin and the Hamas killing of two soldiers after the start of the cease-fire.

However, Hamas leader Moussa Abu Marzouk—while confirming Hamas was holding the soldier—blamed Israel for violating the truce, saying the Israeli military “never stands by its commitments,” and that Hamas had captured the soldier before the cease-fire went into effect.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry announced Thursday that Israel and Hamas agreed to a 72-hour truce to negotiate Egypt’s cease-fire proposal in Cairo, according to video footage published by Bloomberg.

Sky News reported that since the breaking of the cease-fire, 70 Palestinians have been killed and 400 injured by Israeli attacks.

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