A Gaza cease-fire quickly unraveled Friday as violence erupted in and around the southern town of Rafah, with 35 Palestinians killed by Israeli shelling and the military saying one of its soldiers may have been abducted.
Israel and Hamas accused each other of breaking the cease-fire, which had been announced by the U.S. and the U.N. and took effect at 8:00 a.m. (0500 GMT) Friday. The fighting broke out less than two hours later.
Gaza health official Ashraf al-Kidra told The Associated Press that in addition to the dead some 200 Palestinians were wounded in the “random” Israeli shelling of the Rafah area in southern Gaza.
He said the death toll could rise as rescue workers continue to search for people buried under the rubble of several apartment blocks hit by shells. He did not say whether the victims were civilians or militants.
The Israeli military meanwhile said one of its soldiers was “feared” abducted, without providing further details, and that Gaza militants had fired eight rockets and mortars at Israel since the cease-fire began, one of which was intercepted.
“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,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said in a statement shortly after the fighting broke out.
Report compiled with information from The Associated Press.