Peace talks break down as Gaza war resumes

  • A plastic fruit tree stands in the corner of a room near broken pieces of roof tiles in a building that the owner said was hit by an overnight Israeli air strike, in Jabaliya in the northern Gaza Strip, July 24, 2014.
  • A damaged fan hangs from the ceiling of a building destroyed by what police said were Israeli air strikes and shelling in Khuzaa, east of Khan Younis, in the southern Gaza Strip, Aug. 3, 2014.
  • Office chairs sit abandoned in front of shuttered store fronts along a normally bustling commercial street in central Gaza City, July 19, 2014.
  • Mattresses used by Palestinians who fled an Israeli ground offensive are seen in the garden of the Al-Shifa hospital, where many displaced people sought shelter, in Gaza City, July 22, 2014.
  • A desk sits amid the debris of buildings destroyed by what police said were Israeli airstrikes and shelling in the town of Beit Lahiya in the northern Gaza Strip, Aug. 3, 2014.
  • The interior of a room lies exposed in a building next to the home of Hamas Gaza leader Ismail Haniyeh, which Gaza’s interior ministry said was hit by a missile fired by Israeli aircraft before dawn, causing damage but no casualties, in Gaza City, July 29, 2014.
  • Furniture sits amid the rubble of a building that the owner said was hit by an overnight Israeli air strike, in Gaza City, July 24, 2014. Israel’s month-long war against Hamas, with Israel carrying out air strikes, artillery bombardments and ground operations in response to constant militant rocket fire and attacks via tunnels, has left more than 2,000 Palestinians dead, most of them civilians, as well as 64 Israeli soldiers and three civilians.
  • A curtain hangs from a window above shattered roof tiles from a home that police said was destroyed by an Israeli air strike at the Shati (beach) refugee camp in Gaza City, Aug. 2, 2014.
  • Chairs belonging to a Palestinian family displaced by fighting during an Israeli offensive sit on a sheet of fabric draped over the opening of an abandoned building where they were seeking shelter after fleeing their home, in Gaza City, July 19, 2014.
  • Furniture and debris litter a building destroyed by what police said were Israeli airstrikes and shelling in the town of Beit Hanoun in the northern Gaza Strip, Aug. 5, 2014.



Israel retaliated with airstrikes Tuesday in Gaza after Palestinian militants fired three rockets into southern Israel, bringing a swift end to a temporary truce. 

Peace talks in Cairo to end the month-long war collapsed as Israeli officials withdrew their representatives from the Egyptian-brokered negotiations, telling the Associated Press that Hamas had broken “the premise of the talks” by renewing the cycle of violence. A member of the Palestinian delegation told NBC News they too will leave Cairo, beginning Wednesday. 

More than 2,000 Palestinians, many of them civilians, have been killed since hostilities between Israel and Hamas escalated on July 8 with the beginning of an Israeli military offensive to end rocket attacks from Gaza. More than 10,000 people have been wounded and thousands more displaced by the violence, devastating the Palestinian enclave and creating what United Nations officials have called a humanitarian crisis. On the Israeli side, 64 soldiers and three civilians have been killed.

The latest spate of Hamas rocket fire and Israeli airstrikes brought a violent end to what had been a 10-day truce, the longest cessation of hostilities since the conflict began six weeks ago. An Israeli Defense Forces spokesperson tweeted Wednesday that over 137 rockets had been fired from Gaza since Hamas broke the cease-fire. Israel responded by bombing targets in Beit Lahia, an agricultural area north of Gaza, as well as Khan Younis to the south. Another Israeli airstrike Wednesday targeted the home of Hamas military chief Mohammed Deif, killing his wife and two-year-old daughter, a senior Hamas official told the Associated Press. It was not immediately known whether the strike killed the elusive militant leader.

U.S. State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf expressed concern that the temporary truce had fallen apart, calling for an “immediate end to rocket fire and hostilities and a return to cease-fire talks.” Harf reiterated that “Israel has a right to defend itself against such attacks,” but pushed the warring parties to agree to another cease-fire to resume negotiations.