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Gaza: Cease-fire quickly unraveled as fighting resumes

A cease-fire between Israel and Hamas lasted less than two hours.

A cease-fire between Israel and Hamas lasted less than two hours.

They say that peace does not last long in the Middle East and once again what looked like a cease-fire is over almost before it began at 8 am this morning.  So, about two hours into what was supposed to be a 72 hour cease-fire fighting broke out.

Israel and Hamas accused each other of breaking the cease-fire, which had been announced by both the U.S. and the U.N. The cease-fire took effect at 8:00 a.m. (0500 GMT) Friday but the peace lasted less than two hours as the fighting broke out less than two hours later.

This morning violence erupted in and around the southern town of Rafah, with at least 35 Palestinians killed by Israeli shelling and the military saying an infantry officer may have been captured.

The breakdown of the cease-fire and the apparent capture of the Israeli soldier set the stage for a major escalation of the 25-day-old conflict, which has already devastated large swaths of the impoverished coastal strip.

According to a report from Associated Press, Israel had said it would continue demolishing cross-border tunnels behind its own defensive lines during the cease-fire, and the military said its troops were attacked during one such operation.

Gunmen emerged from one or more tunnel openings and opened fire, with at least one of the fighters detonating an explosives vest, Israeli army spokesman Lt. Col. Peter Lerner said.

He said 2nd Lt. Hadar Goldin, a 23-year-old from the town of Kfar Saba, was apparently captured during the ensuing mayhem and taken back into Gaza through a tunnel, while another two soldiers were killed by Hamas fighters.

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