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Israel recalls negotiators from Cairo after Gaza rocket fire

The move came shortly after the Israeli army said that three rockets were fired at southern Israel from the Gaza Strip despite a temporary ceasefire with Palestinian factions. In response to the alleged rocket fire, Netanyahu and Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon ordered the Israeli army to carry out airstrikes across the blockaded Palestinian enclave. A five-day ceasefire between Palestinian factions and Israel expired on Monday. But the two sides agreed to extend the truce by 24 hours as part of Egyptian efforts to arrive at a permanent ceasefire deal. The ceasefire came following more than a month of devastating Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip that have left more than 2000 Palestinians dead – the vast majority of them civilians – and more than 10,000 injured. Palestinian casualties from the current offensive alone have surpassed the combined Palestinian death toll from two previous operations, including Israel's highly-destructive "Operation Cast Lead" in 2008/09, when some 1500 Palestinians were killed over the course of three weeks.

According to Israeli figures, at least 64 Israeli soldiers have been killed in recent ground battles with Palestinian fighters in Gaza – the highest military death toll for Israel of any of its three onslaughts on the territory.

Three Israeli civilians, meanwhile, have been killed by rocket fire from Gaza.

Since 2007, the Gaza Strip – home to some 1.8 million Palestinians – has reeled under a crippling Israeli blockade that has badly affected the local economy and played havoc with residents' livelihoods.

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