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Hamas violated cease-fire with incessant rocket fire: Israeli Prime Minister

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Gaza City (CNN) — As diplomats worked to forge a lasting cease-fire, Hamas and Israel began firing again at each other Sunday, renewing the recent violence that has taken more than 1,000 lives.

A temporary truce in the conflict Saturday had enabled medical supplies to be brought into Gaza, families to emerge from shelters and people to dig out the dead from piles of rubble.

But Sunday, Israel said that because of “incessant rocket fire” out of Gaza, it had restarted its Operation Protective Edge, even as Hamas said it agreed to a 24-hour U.N.-mediated cease-fire.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu dismissed the call by Hamas for a cease-fire, saying the group violated its own call for a brief stoppage in violence.

“We hope we can get a sustainable quiet as soon as possible. I think the only path to do that is by adopting the Egyptian initiative” and by addressing two underlying issues, he told CNN’s “State of the Union with Candy Crowley.” Those issues are peace for Israel through demilitarizing Gaza and social and economic relief for the residents of Gaza, he said.

Hamas, the militant group that is in control of the besieged Palestinian territory, has rejected Egyptian officials’ request to accept a cease-fire, then enter dialogue to discuss its broader concerns.

Hamas militants began firing rockets again Sunday afternoon, blaming a “lack of commitment” from Israel. The Qassam Brigades said on its websites it launched five rockets at Kiryat Gat. The announcement coincided with an Israel Defense Forces tweet that said it intercepted four rockets and one hit an open area.

Another rocket Sunday hit a house, slightly wounding an Israeli civilian.

The Israeli Security Cabinet had agreed to a U.N. request late Saturday to extend a cease-fire that started Saturday morning until midnight Sunday (5 p.m. ET Sunday), on the condition that its military could keep dismantling and destroying Hamas’ tunnels, according to senior Israeli officials.

Israel said it resumed its offensive because it was still being attacked.

“Following Hamas’ incessant rocket fire throughout the humanitarian window, which was agreed upon for the welfare of the civilian population in Gaza, the IDF will now resume its aerial, naval and ground activity in the Gaza Strip,” the IDF said.

A poll of 504 Hebrew-speaking Israelis suggests that an overwhelming majority want the offensive to continue, the Jerusalem Post reported Sunday.

It said the poll, sponsored by a political strategist who used to work with Netanyahu, indicated 86.5% responded that Israel shouldn’t accept a cease-fire.

Palestinian medics help evacuate a survivor in Gaza Cit after an Israeli airstrike on his home on July 27. 2014. (Photo: Getty Images)

Palestinian medics help evacuate a survivor in Gaza Cit after an Israeli airstrike on his home on July 27. 2014. (Photo: Getty Images)

Official: Palestinian leaders headed to talks

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is forming a delegation that would head to the Egyptian capital, Cairo, to engage in more diplomacy in the Mideast conflict, said Mohammad Shtayyeh, a senior adviser to Abbas.

Abbas is waiting for a final answer on the initiative from Hamas leaders, who were meeting in Qatar, he said.

Israel has a “hidden agenda,” Shtayyeh said.

“Israel wanted to keep Gaza separate from the rest of the Palestinian territory,” he said.

He said Israeli troops occupy 50% of Gaza and should withdraw. Not doing so endangers chances for a cease-fire, he said.

U.N.: ‘Please don’t go back on the streets’

It is now up to Israel to decide whether it wants to accept the “humanitarian pause,” U.N. envoy Robert Serry, who is working around the clock for a pause in violence, said before Netanyahu’s comments.

“I’m extremely concerned after both rocket fire and of course also Israeli operations are continuing. And I appeal on both sides to now show utmost restraint for this humanitarian pause to become effective, I hope as soon as possible,” Serry said. “This will allow civilians to resume their daily lives, both in Israel and in Gaza.”

Serry appealed to both sides “not to miss maybe this last opportunity for calm.” He urged Gazans to stay home until there’s a durable cessation in violence.

Serry, a Dutch diplomat, is the U.N. special coordinator for the Middle East peace process.

“Please don’t go back on the streets or to your houses now until there is an effective cease-fire and an announcement to that effect is made,” he said on CNN. “It is still very dangerous for people in Gaza.”

The passions of the conflict, meanwhile, echoed across the world.

About 40 protesters were arrested in Paris on Saturday when a banned pro-Palestinian demonstration turned violent, authorities said.

Police brandished shields as they faced off with protesters in a cloud of tear gas at Place de la Republique, a busy pedestrian square in central Paris. Angry protesters hurled glass shards and rocks at police, set a small fire and smashed a bus shelter.

Israel launched its ground incursion in Gaza 10 days ago with the stated aim of taking out the threat posed by tunnels, which run under the border and have been used by militants to carry out attacks on Israeli soil. An Israel military spokesman said it costs about $1 million to build each tunnel.

IDF spokesman Lt. Col Peter Lerner said the Israeli military had exposed 31 tunnels.

The IDF said Saturday that many Gaza residents were returning to previously evacuated areas despite repeated warnings, placing themselves at risk. It said operations against the tunnel threat continued and defensive positions were being maintained.

Palestinians found more than 100 bodies in areas that have been too dangerous to enter in recent days because of Israeli bombardment, Dr. Ashraf al-Qedra from the Gaza Ministry of Health told CNN.

At least 1,062 Palestinians have been killed and 6,037 wounded since the Israeli operation against Hamas in Gaza started on July 8, al-Qedra said. The U.N. says 73% of those killed were civilians and 200 were children.

The Israeli operation started with airstrikes, and a ground incursion in Gaza followed on July 17.

Israel blamed Hamas for civilian casualties resulting from Israeli strikes, saying militants have embedded themselves among the civilian population.

“The IDF targets terrorist centers, but if residents are inadvertently hit, it is Hamas which is responsible given that it has — again — violated the humanitarian truce that Israel acceded to,” Netanyahu’s media adviser said.

The IDF said Sunday that the one soldier killed overnight brought to 43 the number of Israeli troops killed in the Gaza operation. Two Israeli civilians have been killed.

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