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Start time: August 21st 01:00 GMT
End time: August 21st 04:30 GMT
UPDATE 13:15 EDT 20 Aug: Truce talks officially end.
Arutz Sheva reports: Both Israel and Hamas have pulled their delegations out of Cairo.
Hamas officially declared the talks over on Al-Aqsa TV Wednesday night, then called on remaining Palestinian Arab representatives from Islamic Jihad and Fatah (Palestinian Authority, or PA) to leave as well.
“There will be no return to talks after today and any move in this direction will never achieve any result,” he added. “The enemy lost a golden chance to reach a ceasefire with limited demands, for which it will pay after today.”
Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz (Likud) confirmed that Israel had ceased talks as well, and was in the process of pulling out its own delegation, in remarks to Channel 2.
UPDATE 11:30 EDT 20 Aug: Israel claims Mohammed Deif assassinated in airstrikes. Israeli team consulting with Egyptian military at Cairo airport
UPDATE 07:45 EDT 20 Aug: Israeli Security Cabinet meeting underway at Kirya base in Tel Aviv, at least 80 rockets launched at Israel since midnight and an equal number of Israeli airstrikes on Gaza.
Hamas confirms that Mohammed Deif is alive and well.
UPDATE 06:45 EDT 20 Aug: Israel confirms attempted assassination of Hamas military chief. Funerals of Mohammed Deif’s wife and son in northern Strip begin. If Deif is still alive he will be furious and not in the mood for any ceasefire deal.
UPDATE 19:30 EDT:
It is now confirmed that Israel broke the ceasefire in an attempt to assassinate Hamas armed wing leader Mohammed Deif in its five missile strike on the Gaza home that resulted in two deaths and 16 wounded. Israel missed Deif, but did manage to break up the ceasefire. Early this afternoon Israel claimed three rockets were fired from Gaza which was denied by Hamas. Israel used that claim as a shield for the attempted assassination of the head of the Hamas military wing. It is apparent that it was Israel that broke the ceasefire in order to end the long term truce talks and justify resuming the Gaza war.
Hamas: Israel ‘Opened the Gates of Hell’
Cairo long term truce talks stalemated this afternoon as neither side was willing to abandon their red lines, mainly involving an Israeli demand for disarming and demilitarizing the Gaza strip.
By midnight local time Israel had bombed at least 30 sites in Gaza killing at least three and wounding more than 20 people.
IDF OC Southern Command Maj. Gen. Sami Torkeman called southern Israel mayors and community leaders Tuesday night and warned them to prepare for an escalation in the conflict with Hamas. Residents were advised to stay close to bomb shelters and fortified rooms as Israel prepares to invade Gaza and finish the job.
US State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf Tuesday condemned Hamas’ breach of the ceasefire by firing rockets and blamed the Hamas for the breakdown of Cairo talks for a long-term truce. “We are very concerned about today’s development, condemn the renewed rocket fire and as we have said Israel has the right to defend itself against such attacks,” While clearly giving Israel a green light to finish the job; Harf then tried to sugar coat by telling reporters. “We call for an immediate end of rocket fire hostilities and the return to ceasefire talks,” she added. “It is our understanding that the ceasefire has broken down.
For the first time in this round of conflict, the IDF is attacking militant command and control sites across the strip. Heavy bombing is reported in the Al-Zaytun and Sheikh Radwan neighborhoods in Gaza City, as well as across the strip.
Hamas said it had fired 50 rockets at Israel between 4 and 11 PM local time. The rockets came after Israel hit a private home with five missiles; and were fired at points across Israel including Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and the massive IAF base near Netivot and Beer Sheva.
Hamas’ military wing called on Israel to “reveal the real reason behind the cowardly act they committed when they bombed the home of the Dalou family” at the Sheikh Radwan neighborhood in Gaza City on Tuesday night. The three-story home of al-Dalou family was hit by 5 missiles, Palestinian news agency Ma’an reported. A three-year-old girl and another woman were said to have died in the strike.
A member of the Palestinian delegation in Cairo said the heavy barrage of rockets fired on Israel Tuesday night was a response to the “massacre” at the al-Dalou home.
The Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades said that “Israel, in this treacherous action, opened the gates of hell upon itself and it will pay a heavy price. “Palestinian medical sources said three people were killed, including a three-year-old child, and 16 wounded, when an Israeli air strike hit a home in the Sheik Radwan neighborhood, north of Gaza City.
Both sides now say that the time for ceasefires and talks is now over, as thousands of people were fleeing Gaza City center, believed to be the object of a coming Israeli assault on a giant complex of tunnels, bunkers and militant command and control headquarters.
The Israeli cabinet is now overwhelming committed to destroying the militants, reoccupying and disarming the strip and then turning it over to an international force with teeth to guarantee regional security.
This has been the plan of Israel and its allies from the beginning. The delay was to give Iraq time to catch up with the program and launch an anti IS Caliphate offensive. For more on that please see: http://http://worldwatch.is//?p=5035