Middle East Turmoil

Four Palestinians killed by Israel tank as cease-fire unravels

A mosque is destroyed in Gaza city during the attack of Israel's warcraft on 23 July, 2014
Mustafa Hassona | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

A three-day Gaza cease-fire that began Friday quickly unraveled, with Israel and Hamas accusing each other of violating the truce as four Palestinians were killed in a heavy exchange of fire. Earlier, Israel and Hamas had agreed to halt all aggressive operations and conduct only defensive missions.

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But nearly two hours after the cease-fire went into effect, Israeli tanks shelled the eastern part of Rafah, killing at least four people and wounding 15, according to Health Ministry official Ashraf al-Kidra and Gaza police spokesman Ayman Batniji.

Soon after the cease-fire went into force, Gaza's residents took advantage of the truce to return to their homes, many of which had been destroyed in the fighting. Israel's military said five of its soldiers were killed along the Gaza border Thursday night by a mortar round. Israeli police also warned residents to stay away from Israeli communities near the Gaza border during the cease-fire, saying the area remains "a war zone."

By The Associated Press