Talks being held in Cairo for a long-term Gaza cease-fire broke down Tuesday as Israel recalled its delegation hours after Palestinian militants broke an earlier truce by launching volleys of rockets at a southern city.
An Israeli official told The Associated Press that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered negotiators at cease-fire talks to return home. Israel’s military said militants fired two more rockets into southern Israel, which were intercepted.
The Israeli move, coupled with the outbreak of violence, threw Egyptian efforts to arrange a long-term cease-fire into jeopardy.
The official, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to journalists, said the Egyptian-hosted talks with Hamas militants are based on the "premise" that there will be no violence. The talks face a midnight deadline.
Earlier Tuesday, Israel’s military said three rockets launched from Gaza City landed in open fields near the southern city of Beersheba.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility. But shortly before the launch, Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum hinted of more rocket fire, saying: "If Netanyahu doesn't understand ... the language of politics in Cairo, we know how to make him understand."
Israel responded to the first volley of rockets by launching their own airstrikes in the Gaza Strip.
In a statement Tuesday, Israel’s military accused Palestinian militants of violating a cease-fire and said it maintains "both defense and striking capabilities in order to address the renewed aggression."