Hamas officially announces end to Gaza truce

December 19th, 2008 - 5:53 pm ICT by IANS  

Tel Aviv, Dec 19 (DPA) The radical Islamic Hamas movement formally announced early Friday that a six-month truce with Israel had ended and would not be extended.A statement issued in Gaza by Hamas’ armed wing the al-Qassam Brigades said the truce expired at 6 a.m. and blamed Israel for its collapse, Israel Radio reported.

Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum had already said Thursday that there was no room for extending the truce, brokered by Egypt in June this year.

An Egyptian Foreign Ministry spokesman, in remarks broadcast on Israel Radio, expressed regret at the end of the truce and said the Palestinian people would be the ones paying the price.

A senior Israeli military official said Israel would continue to respond according to the situation on the ground. “If there is quiet, Israel will respond with quiet,” he told the radio station.

He said the Israel Defence Forces had the ability to destroy the Hamas infrastructure in Gaza but such a move would come at a heavy price and lacked international backing.

Palestinian militant factions active in the Gaza Strip, notably the Islamic Jihad, have already intensified their rocket attacks against southern Israel over the past few days.

Two more Gaza-made rockets landed in open fields in the Eshkol region of southern Israel Friday morning.

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