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Palestinian boy the first casualty post-ceasefire

A Palestinian boy has been buried in Gaza, the first casualty of post-ceasefire fighting between Israel and Hamas militants.

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Gaza: The Israeli military has responded with air strikes across the Gaza Strip after militants launched rockets from the Palestinian enclave at the end of a 72-hour ceasefire.

‘‘The renewed rocket attacks by terrorists at Israel are unacceptable, intolerable and shortsighted. Hamas's bad decision to breach the ceasefire will be pursued by the IDF [Israel Defence Forces], we will continue to strike Hamas, its infrastructure, its operatives and restore security for the State of Israel,’’ Lieutenant-Colonel Peter Lerner, an Israeli military spokesman said.

Israeli troops prepare outside the Gaza Strip before the ceasefire broke down.

Israeli troops prepare outside the Gaza Strip before the ceasefire broke down. Photo: Reuters

Eyewitnesses reported huge explosions in Gaza City, apparently from an Israeli airstrike.

Earlier, Palestinian militants resumed sporadic rocket fire into Israel after Egyptian-mediated talks in Cairo failed to extend a 72-hour truce in the nearly month-long war.

A military spokesman said on Twitter: ‘‘After the 72-hour ceasefire, Hamas resumes indiscriminate rocket fire at Israel. At least 5 rockets launched – one intercepted over Ashkelon.’’

Palestinian families walk as they leave their homes in Gaza City's Shejaiya neighbourhood in fear of Israeli attacks, after Palestinian factions in Gaza refused to extend the 72-hour ceasefire with Israel.

Palestinian families walk as they leave their homes in Gaza City's Shejaiya neighbourhood in fear of Israeli attacks, after Palestinian factions in Gaza refused to extend the 72-hour ceasefire with Israel. Photo: AFP

Israel’s Iron Dome interceptor system brought down a missile over the southern city of Ashkelon. Israeli authorities reported 10 rockets fired from Gaza after the ceasefire ended.

Israel’s military said  rockets from Gaza landed in fields without causing injuries hours before the ceasefire ended at 8am local time (3pm AEST) on Friday.

A spokesman for Hamas, Sami Abu Zuhri, said the militant group wasn't responsible for the attack. Several Islamist movements operate from Gaza. 

Israel had earlier said it was ready to agree to an extension as Egyptian diplomats pursued talks with Israeli and Palestinian delegates in Cairo on ending the war that has devastated the Hamas-controlled enclave.

A Hamas spokesman said Palestinian factions had not agreed to extend the truce, but would continue negotiations in Cairo. Al Arabiya reported that Hamas ruled out extending the truce without Israel and Egypt agreeing to lift the blockade of Gaza. 

The Palestinians had wanted Israel to agree in principle to the lifting of the blockade, the release of prisoners and the opening of a sea port.

The armed wing of Hamas released a statement late on Thursday warning Palestinian negotiators not to agree to an extension unless Israel offered concessions. There was no sign that Israel had made any such moves.

Israel also made it clear that it would respond forcefully if attacked and a minister raised the prospect of retaking control of the Gaza Strip to overthrow its Hamas rulers.

"Israel will act with force if Hamas resumes its fire and to my mind we will have, this time, to seriously consider, although not with enthusiasm, the option of taking control of the Gaza Strip in order to topple the Hamas regime," Strategic Affairs Minister Yuval Steinitz said on Army Radio.

Gaza health officials say the war has killed 1875 Palestinians, most of them civilians. Hamas said on Thursday it had executed an unspecified number of Palestinians as Israeli spies. 

"The spies were executed after they were caught red-handedly informing on the whereabouts of the resistance [or] disrupting the work of resistance men and defusing ambushes prepared against the enemy," Al-Majd, a pro-Hamas website, quoted an unnamed member of the Islamist group's security services as saying.

Israel, meanwhile, has asked the Red Cross to help recover the remains of two soldiers it says were killed in Gaza. Government officials said the request was made to Peter Maurer, president of the International Committee of the Red Cross, who met Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defence Minister Moshe Yaalon during the ceasefire.

Israel has lost 64 soldiers in the fighting, among them Shaul Oron and Hadar Goldin, who went missing on July 20 and on August 2 respectively. 

Israeli authorities later declared them dead based on forensic findings. Israel says it does not know where Oron's body is but that the army recovered Goldin's partial remains, allowing his family to hold a funeral.

Israel says three civilians have also died in the fighting that began on July 8. Israel withdrew its ground forces from Gaza on Tuesday, shortly before the truce began.

Reuters, Bloomberg