World Bulletin/News Desk
A two-year-old Gaza girl and a woman were killed in an Israeli air strike on Monday, making them the first Palestinian deaths in the conflict since the breakdown of a truce earlier in the day, Palestinian health officials said.
Egypt, which has been trying to broker a long-term ceasefire in indirect Israeli-Palestinian talks, said it would continue contacts with both sides, whose delegates left Cairo after hostilities resumed on Tuesday.
Israeli aircraft have carried out 80 strikes in the Gaza Strip since Tuesday.
Hamas and medical officials said 19 people died in the latest Israeli raids, including Deif's wife and seven-month-old son. Deif is widely believed to be masterminding the resistance fight from underground bunkers.
A Hamas official said Deif had not used the targeted house, where the bodies of three members of the family that lived there were also pulled out of the rubble.
Chanting "Qassam, bomb Tel Aviv!", thousands of Palestinians attended the funeral of Deif's wife and son in Jabalya refugee camp. The woman's mother told reporters she wished she had "another 100 daughters" to offer Deif in marriage.
There was no official confirmation from Israel that it had tried to kill Deif, who has been targeted in air strikes at least four times since the mid-1990s.
Five children were killed in separate air strikes, according to Gaza health officials.
Another air strike launched later on Wednesday morning killed seven members of a family in central Gaza, among them a woman and three children, Palestinian health officials said. There was no immediate comment from the Israeli military.
In addition to the deaths, more than 50 people were wounded in the air strikes across Gaza, ordered after rockets were fired at Israel. Hamas denied firing any rockets during the truce, but after the Israeli strikes claimed responsibility for shooting dozens as far as the Tel Aviv and Jerusalem areas.
The violence shattered a 10-day period of calm since a first truce brokered by Egypt, about a month after the conflict flared on July 8.
Accusing Hamas of breaking the truce with rocket fire eight hours before it was to have expired, Israel recalled its negotiators from truce talks in Cairo on Tuesday, leaving the fate of the Egyptian-brokered efforts to secure a lasting peace hanging in the balance.
Palestinian negotiators walked out of the talks later, blaming Israel for their failure. "Israel thwarted the contacts that could have brought peace," chief Palestinian negotiator Azzam al-Ahmed said.
The chief Palestinian delegate to truce talks with Israel warned earlier on Tuesday that Gaza violence could erupt anew unless progress is made toward a lasting deal ahead of a midnight deadline in Egyptian-brokered talks.
After a last-minute agreement was stuck to extend by 24 hours a deadline to reach a truce, Azzam al-Ahmad, senior leader of President Mahmoud Abbas's mainstream Fatah movement, said there had been "no progress on any point" in talks aimed at resolving the Gaza conflict.
"We hope that every minute of the coming 24 hours will be used to reach an agreement, and if not (successful), the circle of violence will continue," Ahmad said.
He accused Israel of "manoeuvring and stalling" as gaps on key issues continued to dog efforts to achieve a long-term deal between Israel and resistance groups in the Gaza Strip, dominated by Hamas, which would allow reconstruction aid to flow in after five weeks of fighting.
Senior Hamas official Moussa Abu Marzouk accused Israel of stalling and insisted in a post on his Twitter account that his group "will never cede any" demands for a comprehensive deal.
A senior Palestinian official in Gaza said sticking points to an agreement were Hamas's demands to build a seaport and an airport, which Israel wants to discuss only at a later stage.
Israel, which launched its offensive on July 8, has shown scant interest in making sweeping concessions, and has called for the disarming of fighters in the enclave of 1.8 million people.
Hamas has said that laying down its weapons is not an option.
Hamas also insists that Israel free Palestinian prisoners while Israel wants Hamas to hand over the remains of two soldiers killed during the fighting.
Israel has signalled agreement to open Gaza crossings, which would ease a blockade of the coastal territory and allow for a freer flow of goods, and to extend maritime limits in the Mediterranean Sea.
Israel and Hamas have not met face-to-face in Cairo, where the talks are being held in a branch of the intelligence agency, with Egyptian mediators shuttling between the parties in separate rooms.
The United Nations said 425,000 people in Gaza have been displaced by the conflict.
United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon issued a statement condemning the breach of the ceasefire, adding he was "gravely disappointed by the return to hostilities" and urging the sides not to allow matters to escalate.Güncelleme Tarihi: 23 Ağustos 2014, 23:44