A White House spokesperson stated that the United States, in collaboration with Israel, Egypt, and Qatar, remains committed to extending the humanitarian ceasefire in the Gaza Strip. The spokesperson further added that President Joe Biden will continue to actively participate in initiatives aimed at prolonging the ceasefire and facilitating the release of additional hostages. The spokesperson blamed Hamas for undermining the ceasefire agreement by "failing to draw up a list of hostages that would allow further extension of the ceasefire."
For the first time since the war restarted, a barrage of rockets was fired from the Gaza Strip into central Israel Friday evening, triggering air raid sirens across the Gush Dan and Shfela regions. The Iron Dome air defense system made multiple interceptions.
Police forces were scanning areas in the Tel Aviv district to locate rocket impact sites. There were no reports of injuries or damage due to rocket fire.
Magen David Adom first responders provided medical treatment to three people who were slightly injured while running for cover.
Sirens also blared in the southern city of Ashdod, which was also targeted earlier in the afternoon along with other nearby communities.
Calm was also disrupted along the northern border, with sirens sounding off multiple times throughout the day. The IDF said that air defenses intercepted two rockets over around the northern city of Kiryat Shmona.
Several military border outposts were also attacked around 4 pm, with Hezbollah claiming responsibility for the attack. The IDF responded with artillery fire and reported eliminating a terrorist squad near the Israeli border town of Zar'it.
The IDF said its ground offensive would be renewed in a matter of days after at least 200 targets in Gaza were struck by artillery fire or areal bombardments. The targets include Hamas command posts and the homes of senior members of the terror group were across the strip from north to south.
Israeli officials said that there are 137 Israelis held captive by Hamas including 17 women and children. 113 hostages, among them 24 non-Israelis were released until Friday. In their accounts they have provided the military with valuable intelligence, the officials said.
They note that Israel did not cause the humanitarian pause to end and that the failure by Hamas to deliver the names of 10 hostages to be released on Friday, and the rocket fire it launched just an hour before the deadline to extend the truce, was to blame.
According to the IDF, the fighting in Gaza will be prolonged and some of the reserve forces deployed, especially those stationed in the north, may be released from duty, to alleviate some pressures on the economy. The military said five of its troops were slightly hurt in a mortar attack on the border area.
Sirens were also heard on Friday along the northern border and the military said a suspicious target was intercepted. no casualties were reported.
Israeli officials said on Friday that the fighting in Gaza could still be halted and the humanitarian truce reinstated for one day, if Hamas delivers the names of 10 women held hostage would be released. Meanwhile, efforts to mediate a pause in the fighting continued in Qatar.
Deputy Hamas leader in Gaza Khalil al-Hayya said on Friday that Israel rejected several suggestions to exchange hostages for prisoners but insisted on the release of female soldiers. Hamas also claimed it was "struggling" to gain access to four female hostages being held by other groups. The terrorists were using hostages with American passports as leverage.
Some of the families of hostages held by Hamas in Gaza issued a statement calling on the government to exhaust every option to halt the renewed fighting and return to the truce that would free more of the captives from Gaza. "Opting for the fighting over the release of hostages is a desertion of our loved ones," Udi Goren, whose cousin Tal Haimi is held in Gaza, said. The families said the resumption of the IDF offensive endangered the lives of the hostages amid bombings and after their health deteriorated while in captivity.
The Foreign Ministry in Qatar said on Friday in a statement that negotiations were continuing to reach a cease-fire in Gaza. Doha also called for humanitarian aid to be allowed into the Strip.
President Isaac Herzog, attending the Convention on Climate Change (COP) in the UAE, met and shook hands for the first time on Friday with Qatar's Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani.
The IDF said on Friday that with the resumption of fighting it had published a map to advise Gazans of safe areas for their evacuation.
"This divides the territory of the Gaza Strip into areas according to recognizable areas to enable the residents of Gaza to orient themselves and understand the instructions, and to evacuate from specific places for their safety if required," the military said.
The Prime Minister's office said in a statement earlier that Hamas violated the terms of the truce and failed to meet its obligation to release hostages and free all abducted women held in Gaza. "Israel's government is committed to achieving the objectives of the war - to free hostages, eliminate Hamas and ensure Gaza can never be a threat to the safety of Israelis."
The IDF said that Hamas violated the operational pause and fired rockets at Israel and as a result, the fighting will resume. "The IDF has resumed combat against the Hamas terrorist organization in the Gaza Strip," the military said. IDF strikes were reported in the northern parts of the Strip and the area of Rafah and Khan Yunis in the south.
Residents of Khan Yunis were seen heading out of the city to avoid injury amid the strikes.
According to officials, Hamas failed to provide the names of hostages that would be released in a further day of the truce. Israelis were cautioned to take precautions in case of rocket attacks on Israeli cities. According to the Home Front Command, schools can operate only where children can reach protected areas in sufficient time for their safety.
Sounds of explosions were heard early on Friday in the northern part of the Gaza Strip after a rocket was fired at Israel less than one hour before the deadline for Hamas to provide the names of additional hostages to be freed or end the truce. Rocket fire continued into the morning.
Earlier the Wall Street Journal quoted Egyptian officials who said a further extension of the truce was agreed to by Israel and Hamas, allowing the release of 10 more hostages. There was no Israeli confirmation of the report.
According to the WSJ, U.S. officials said they expected that Israel’s military campaign would resume as Israeli forces seek to root out Hamas and begin to move southward in Gaza. The focus now among U.S. officials has been on working with Israel on tactics that ensure minimal civilian casualties, U.S. officials said.
Hamas freed eight hostages on Thursday, two in the early evening hours and the rest close to midnight after long hours of an anxious wait for their families.
First published: 07:15, 12.01.23