A cease-fire proposed by Egypt to end a week of fighting between Israel and Islamist militants in the Gaza Strip failed to take hold Tuesday after volleys of rockets were fired into Israel and Israel resumed bombardments of the coastal enclave.
Israel had accepted the Egyptian truce plan, but it was rejected by the Islamist group Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip.
The Israeli army said that more than 130 rockets and mortar rounds were fired at Israel. The attacks caused the first Israeli fatality in the conflict, when a man who had come to donate food to soldiers near the Gaza border was killed by a mortar blast.
The army said it hit 30 targets in the Gaza Strip, where the Palestinian death toll climbed beyond 190. According to the United Nations, three-quarters of those killed have been civilians, including 38 children.
Israel’s security cabinet had approved the deal Tuesday morning, and Israel stopped firing into Gaza at 9 a.m. local time. But when the rocket fire from Gaza continued unabated, Israel resumed military operations at 3 p.m.
“Hamas chose to continue this battle, and it will pay a price for this decision,” said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. “Hamas leaves us no choice but to … intensify the campaign against it.”
Hamas officials said they were not consulted before the cease-fire plan was announced and said that it failed to adequately address their demand to lift border closures imposed by Egypt and Israel.
The renewed rocket fire drew a sharp rebuke from U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, who canceled a planned trip to Cairo.
“I cannot condemn strongly enough the actions of Hamas in so brazenly firing rockets in multiple numbers in the face of a goodwill effort to offer a cease-fire in which Egypt and Israel have joined together,” he said.
The unraveling of the cease-fire plan underlined the lack of trust between Hamas and the Egyptian government under President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, who has taken a hostile stance toward the Islamist group. The previous Egyptian president, Mohammed Morsi, an Islamist who was deposed by el-Sissi, mediated a cease-fire that ended a previous round of fighting between Israel and Hamas in 2012.
The Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of Hamas, emphatically rejected the truce plan, calling it “an initiative of kneeling and submission.” It promised that its battle with Israel would “increase in ferocity and intensity.”
Netanyahu was under pressure from his right flank late Tuesday to authorize a risky ground invasion of Gaza aimed at ending Hamas’ reign as the de facto power in the coastal strip. Reflecting tensions within his government, Netanyahu fired his deputy defense minister for publicly accusing the cabinet of not moving aggressively enough against Hamas.
Late Tuesday, the Israeli military urged tens of thousands of residents of northern and eastern Gaza to leave their homes by this morning, presumably a prelude to air strikes there.
Sami Wadiya, a resident of one of the Gaza areas likely to be targeted, said he would not leave his home. “We know it’s risky, but there are no secure places to go to,” he said.
Israeli authorities believe Hamas is far weaker than it was the past two times the two combatants engaged in major combat. In both previous rounds — in the winter of 2008-2009 and in late 2012 — Hamas proclaimed victory, despite the fact that the vast majority of the deaths, damage and injuries occurred in Gaza.
That has also been true this time. An Israeli military intelligence official said Tuesday he believed that up to half of Hamas’ rocket stores had been destroyed in the past eight days. But Hamas and its allies are still believed to have thousands of rockets, some that are capable of penetrating deep into Israeli territory.
The Washington Post and The Associated Press contributed to this report.