Mustafa Hassona / Anadolu Agency / Getty Images

Israel and Hamas fight on as efforts to extend cease-fire flounder

Israeli military says it attacked more than 30 sites in Gaza; Hamas spokesman says 'we are going to continue the war'

Five Palestinians were killed in two Israeli airstrikes on Gaza on Saturday, emergency services spokesman Ashraf al-Qudra said, and Hamas vowed there would be no concessions to Israel as international mediators struggled to broker a new cease-fire.

“We are not going to agree to a cease-fire without having all of our demands met … we will not go back. We are going to continue the war until we achieve our goal. This is what our people want,” Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said. 

Medical officials in Gaza said two Palestinians were killed when their motorcycle was bombed, and the bodies of three others were found beneath the rubble of one of three bombed mosques. The airstrikes lasted through the night and hit three houses, and fighter planes struck open areas, the officials said.

The Israeli military said that since midnight it had attacked more than 30 sites in the coastal enclave where Hamas is dominant. It did not specify the targets. Fighters in Gaza fired six rockets at towns in southern Israel Saturday, setting off alarm sirens but causing no damage or injuries, a military spokeswoman said.

The month-long conflict flared again after mediators tried but failed to extend a three-day cease-fire that expired on Friday morning, and that Israel accused Hamas of breaching with pre-dawn rocket attacks.

Fighting between Israel and Hamas has now killed more than 1,900 Palestinians and 67 on the Israeli side, almost all soldiers, since July 8. The United Nations has estimated that three-quarters of the casualties in Gaza are civilian.

Egyptian mediators met a Palestinian delegation again Friday evening and were waiting to hear back from the Israelis after Shabbat, the Jewish sabbath, ends at sundown Saturday.

Acting U.S. Middle East peace envoy Frank Lowenstein, who has been in Cairo for several days, "is still trying to help the parties get a permanent cease-fire," a U.S. embassy official said.

Violence also picked up in the occupied West Bank, where a 43-year-old Palestinian man died of a gunshot wound to the chest in a confrontation with Israeli soldiers in the city of Hebron, medical officials said.

Israeli troops shot and killed another 20-year-old Palestinian man on Friday at a protest near a Jewish settlement outside the West Bank city of Ramallah, Israeli military officials said.

The White House urged Israel and the Palestinians to do what they could to preserve civilian lives after having failed to extend their cease-fire. Spokesman John Earnest said Friday “the United States is very concerned” about the renewed violence.

“We condemn the renewed rocket fire and we are concerned about the safety and security of civilians on both sides of the conflict,” Earnest said.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon issued a similar statement urging the parties "not to resort to further military action that can only exacerbate the already appalling humanitarian situation in Gaza."

Al Jazeera and wire services

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