Israel: Hamas to pay price for its ‘no’ to truce
GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — Israel resumed its heavy bombardment of Gaza on Tuesday and warned that Hamas “would pay the price” after the Islamic militant group rejected an Egyptian truce plan and instead unleashed more rocket barrages at the Jewish state.
Late Tuesday, the military urged tens of thousands of residents of northern and eastern Gaza to leave their homes by Wednesday morning, presumable a prelude to air strikes there.
Rocket fire killed an Israeli man Tuesday, the first Israeli fatality in eight days of fighting. In Gaza, 197 people were killed and close to 1,500 wounded so far, Palestinian officials said, making it the deadliest Israel-Hamas confrontation in just over five years.
The Egyptian proposal, initially accepted by Israel, had been the first attempt to end the fighting.
It unraveled in less than a day, a sign that it will be harder than before to reach a truce. Hamas does not consider Egypt’s current rulers — who deposed a Hamas-friendly government in Cairo a year ago — to be fair brokers.
Violence is bound to escalate in coming days.
Hamas believes it has little to lose by continuing to fight, while a truce on unfavorable terms could further weaken its grip on the Gaza Strip, a territory it seized in 2007. Underscoring that position, Gaza militants fired more than 120 rockets and mortar rounds at Israel on Tuesday, during what Egypt had hoped would be a period of de-escalation.
A particularly heavy barrage came around dusk, with more than 40 rockets hitting Israel in just a few minutes, including one that fell on an empty school. TV footage showed children cowering behind a wall in Tel Aviv’s main square as sirens went off. An Israeli man in his 30s was killed near the Gaza border when he was delivering food to soldiers — the first Israeli death.