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Renewed Israeli bombardment kills 5 in Gaza

Aug. 9, 2014 9:38 A.M. (Updated: Aug. 10, 2014 12:57 P.M.)
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Israeli airstrikes on the Gaza Strip early Saturday left at five Palestinians dead and dozens injured, as a series of strikes overnight hit homes, mosques, and a sports club on the second day after the end of a 72-hour ceasefire.

The strikes, which come on the 33rd day of a massive Israeli assault that has left more than 1,900 Palestinians dead and more than 9,837 injured, come as negotiations between Palestinian and Israeli delegations stalled, despite reports Friday that both sides were close to an agreement.

Egypt, which is mediating between Israelis and Palestinians, insisted negotiations were making progress and urged a new truce but Israel recalled its delegation and warned it would not negotiate under fire.

The head of the Palestinian delegation in Cairo said they were committed to achieving a truce.

"We told the Egyptians (mediators) we are sitting here to achieve a final agreement that restores the rights" of Palestinians, Azzam al-Ahmed told reporters.

Hamas and the Islamic Jihad group had rejected another 72-hour truce, accusing Israel of stalling.

"There had been an agreement on the vast majority of matters that are important to the Palestinian people, but some limited points remained undecided, a matter that should have led to an acceptance to renew the ceasefire," the Egyptian foreign ministry said.

Hamas and Palestine Liberation Organization officials have insisted that Israel end its eight-year siege on the Gaza Strip, release dozens of prisoners whom Israel has re-arrested that were released in 2011 as part of the Shalit exchange, the re-opening of a seaport and airport in Gaza, and the creation of a safe passage between the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

Despite withdrawing all its troops from Gaza by the time the truce began on Tuesday, Israel has retained forces along the border, ready to respond to any resumption of fighting.

A British, French and German proposal to rebuild Gaza aims to strengthen the hand of Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas and his Palestinian Authority while clamping down on Hamas and other Gaza militants to ensure Israel's security.

Strikes continue overnight

Israel pounded the Gaza Strip again overnight, hitting a mosque as well as a number of homes a day after Israeli airstrikes killed five Gazans, including three children.

The Israeli military confirmed in a statement that the military had struck 33 targets overnight, including "terror activity sites, command and control centers, and weapon storage facilities."

The strike on the mosque brought the number of mosques destroyed in the assault to 63 completely destroyed and more than 150 damaged, in addition to two churches that have sustained damage.

The strikes have also damaged more than 32,000 homes, in addition to displacing around 485,000 people, or around one-third of Gaza's population.

Gaza medical sources said two Palestinian men were killed in on an airstrike on a motorcycle in al-Maghazi in the central Gaza Strip.

Three men were also killed and a number injured in an airstrike on al-Nuseirat Mosque, while another man seriously injured on Saturday morning by an Israeli airstrike on a field east of Khan Younis.

Another Israeli airstrike destroyed the building of al-Maghazi Sports Club in al-Maghazi refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip.

Shortly before that, Israeli warplanes fired two missiles at a house belonging to the Abu Taha family in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, destroying it completely.

In the Nuseirat refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip, Israeli airstrikes hit Izz Addin al-Qassam and Shuhadaa mosques.

Hasan al-Banna mosque in the Zaytoun neighborhood of Gaza City in the north was damaged as well as al-Alami mosque in the city. Several homes sustained damages in the attacks.

A residential house belonging to Hammasi family was destroyed Saturday morning in Sabra neighborhood in Gaza City as well as the house of the Ulayyan family in Beit Lahiya in the northern Gaza Strip.

Israeli airstrikes also hit a number of open areas in the Shujaiyya neighborhood in eastern Gaza City.

AFP contributed to this report.

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