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Cease-fire ends, rockets fly in Gaza
GAZA CITY (CNN) -- Israel reported rocket fire from Gaza on Friday as the three-day Gaza cease-fire came to an end without an agreement to extend it.
More than 10 rockets were fired at Israel after the 72-hour cease-fire expired at 8 a.m. Friday (1 a.m. ET), the Israel Defense Forces said.
Hamas, the Islamic militant group that holds power in Gaza, said that Palestinian officials at talks in Cairo hadn't agreed to extend the truce but would continue negotiations.
Roughly three hours before the truce was due to end, the IDF said two rockets fired from Gaza had hit southern Israel, without causing any casualties. "Terrorists have violated the cease-fire," the IDF wrote on Twitter.
It wasn't immediately clear how Israel would respond. The IDF pulled its ground forces out of Gaza on Tuesday but said they were maintaining "defensive positions" around the territory.
The two rockets fired before the end of the truce landed near Eshkol in southern Israel but didn't cause any damage or casualties, the Israeli military said. It wasn't immediately clear who in Gaza, where multiple militant factions are active, launched them.
Hamas denies responsibility for the rockets fired before the cease-fire ended, said Sami Abu Zuhri, a spokesman for the group. The allegations "are based on Israeli reports aimed at confusing the situation," the Gaza-based spokesman said.
The report of the rocket fire came as hopes faded for an agreement to extend the Egyptian-brokered cease-fire, which began Tuesday.
Under the truce, Israeli and Palestinian delegations held indirect talks in Cairo through Egyptian go-betweens. But the two sides appeared to be too far apart in their positions.
Despite the lack of a breakthrough in the talks, Israel had said Thursday that it was willing to extend the cease-fire unconditionally. The country's military said earlier in the week that it had achieved its goal of destroying Hamas' network of tunnels that extends under the border into Israel.
But Hamas, one of several factions in the Palestinian delegation, said it wasn't content to continue to hold fire unless progress was made on its key demands.
"We are ready for the start of the battle again," the group's armed wing, the Al-Qassam Brigades, said in a statement before the report of the rocket fire from Gaza.
"We call upon the delegation of the Palestinian negotiating team that it does not extend the cease-fire without receiving an agreement in principle to the demands of our people, and especially the port," the statement said, referring to Hamas request for a seaport on the Mediterranean.
That demand raises serious security concerns for Israel, Dore Gold, a senior foreign policy adviser to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, told CNN on Thursday.
Israel says Hamas must disarm as part of any larger deal that might lead to the end of border restrictions and greater economic freedom for Gaza residents.
Hamas, meanwhile, says the longstanding Israeli blockade of Gaza must end before a lasting peace deal can be reached.
The lack of a deal risks reviving a conflict that brought death and destruction to large areas of Gaza and thousands of rockets fired at Israel.
On Thursday, the Palestinian Ministry of Health issued new casualty numbers for the conflict -- 1,888 deaths, including 446 children, and 9,804 injured.
It's unclear how many of the Palestinian dead were militants.
The United Nations has estimated that at least 70% of the dead were civilians. The Israel Defense Forces believes it killed about 900 militants -- roughly half of the dead.
Israeli officials have said 64 Israeli soldiers and three civilians in Israel died. Israel's Iron Dome missile defense system intercepted many of the rockets fired at populated areas of the country.
Additionally, about 65,000 Gaza residents lost their homes to the fighting, according to U.N. estimates.
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