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Israel army says hit 51 targets in Gaza

The Israeli army said Friday that it had hit 51 targets in the Gaza Strip since the expiry of a 72-hour truce between Israel and Palestinian factions in Gaza on Friday morning. The military, in a statement, said that at least 57 rockets were fired from the Gaza Strip at Israeli territory since the truce expired at 8am local time. Violence flared again on Friday following the end of the Egyptian-brokered ceasefire between Israel and the Gaza-based factions as indirect talks mediated by Cairo are yet to yield any agreement on a long-term truce. Five Palestinians, including a child, were killed and 25 others injured in Israeli attacks on Friday, which raised the number of Palestinian deaths in the current Israeli offensive to 1898, Palestinian Health Ministry spokesman Ashraf al-Qodra told Anadolu Agency. Israel had announced that one Israeli soldier and one civilian have been injured in the southern Negev region by Palestinian rocket fire from the embattled Gaza Strip. The ceasefire was brokered following a month of incessant Israeli strikes against the Gaza Strip which turned thousands of Gaza's buildings into rubble.

Israel, for its part, confirmed that 64 soldiers have been killed in battles with Palestinian fighters in the Gaza Strip and three civilians by rocket fire during the same period.

Palestinian factions have linked the extension of the ceasefire to Israel's approval of their demands, including lifting a years-long blockade on the Gaza Strip and the creation of a seaport.

The Gaza Strip, home to 1.8 million Palestinians, has been reeling under a crippling Israeli blockade since 2006, badly affecting the livelihood in the seaside enclave.

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