A surprise cease-fire brokered by the U.S. and the U.N. on Thursday seems to have fallen apart in Gaza less than two hours after it took effect.
The AP reports that violence Friday has already resulted in the deaths of 35 Palestinians from Israeli shelling. In addition, an Israeli soldier has been abducted. On its Twitter account, the Israeli Defense Forces placed the blame for the truce's failure on Hamas:
This morning, Hamas fired at our forces in S. Gaza in violation of a ceasefire. We suspect that an IDF soldier was kidnapped moments later.— IDF (@IDFSpokesperson) August 1, 2014
A political official in Hamas has told Turkish media that the abducted soldier was taken before the cease-fire began, according to The New York Times. A Gaza health official tells the AP that well over 100 Palestinians have been wounded in the Israeli shelling Friday.
In a statement, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, "Once again, Hamas and the terror organizations in Gaza have blatantly broken the cease-fire to which they committed, this time before the American secretary of State and the U.N. secretary general."
A spokesman for the Israeli military put it more bluntly to The New York Times: "The cease-fire is over."
Israeli and Palestinian negotiators were scheduled to go to Cairo this weekend for formal talks "aimed at reaching a durable cease-fire," according to a U.S.-U.N. statement announcing the cease-fire.