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Fighting resumes in Gaza after truce expires

GAZA CITY (CNN) -- The depressing cycle of strikes and counter strikes between Israel and Hamas resumed as talks for a longer term truce fell apart.

Since the ceasefire crumbled Tuesday, militants in Gaza have fired about 70 rockets into Israel -- including 29 in 20 minutes, at one point, the Israeli military said.

Israel retaliated with airstrikes, attacking some 60 suspected militant sites. The attacks have killed 14 people and injured more than 120, the Gaza Health Ministry said Wednesday.

Hamas said one such strike targeted Mohammed Dief, the head of its armed wing, the Qassam Brigades. But it killed Dief's wife and 7-month-old-son instead, the Gaza Health Ministry said.

The Israeli military said it was looking into the claim.

As has been the case throughout the conflict, each side blamed the other.

Palestinian negotiators placed the blame for the lack of progress in peace talks on the Israelis. Israel blamed Gaza militants for breaking a truce.

But it was unclear exactly what happened.

In one interpretation, the Israelis left Cairo, the venue for the talks, after they gave up on negotiations.

In another interpretation, the Israelis took the newest proposal home with them to share with their government.

"The chances of an agreement are very slim, and the situation is very difficult," said a Palestinian leader, Izzat Risheq.

The talks were bound to be difficult because of what they tried to achieve.

Israel wanted Gaza to be demilitarized, demanding that Hamas, which controls the territory, and other militant groups lay down their arms.

Risheq said Monday that the group's weapons were "for self-defense" against Israel.

"But when we have our own Palestinian state with its own national army to protect its citizens, there will be no need for any party to carry any kind of weapons," he said.

Palestinians wanted Israel's blockade to end, saying it is throttling the economy of the small, impoverished strip of land and the lives of its inhabitants.

Among their demands are the rebuilding and reopening of Gaza's airport and the establishment of a seaport.

But Israeli authorities -- who retain control of Gaza's airspace, Mediterranean waters and their shared border -- say releasing their grip on what goes into and out of the territory isn't feasible while Hamas and other groups are still building up their arsenals of weapons.

The latest conflict, which began in early July, has killed more than 2,000 Palestinians, leaving entire Gaza neighborhoods in rubble.

The violence has killed 67 people on the Israeli side, with militants in Gaza firing roughly 3,500 rockets toward Israel.

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