The Israeli delegation has left Egypt following the end of a 72-hour cease-fire brokered by Cairo and the renewal of hostilities by Hamas. The delegation arrived at Ben Gurion Airport in Israel shortly before the truce expired.A diplomatic source in Egypt said the Israeli visit had lasted nine hours, longer than the previous two visits this week.There was no immediate comment from Egypt, which has positioned itself as mediator but has struggled to clinch a deal.
Palestinian officials paced the lobby, speaking on their phones and holding meetings, trying to reach a final decision as the deadline approached.
Meanwhile in Gaza, some families who had returned to their homes in the northern town of Beit Hanoun during the ceasefire gathered up their belongings and headed back to the United Nations shelters where they had sought refuge over the past few weeks fearing Israeli airstrikes in retaliation for renewed rocket attacks on Israel by Hamas.Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon instructed the IDF Friday morning to respond forcefully against renewed Hamas rocket fire, senior diplomatic officials said. Some families in eastern Gaza, who had pitched tents near their wrecked houses, had also left the area. Gaza officials say the war has killed 1,875 Palestinians, most of them civilians. Hamas said on Thursday it had executed an unspecified number of Palestinians as Israeli spies.
It had expended its air and naval bombardment of the Gaza Strip into a ground offensive on July 17, and pulled its infantry and armor out of the enclave on Tuesday after saying it destroyed more than 30 infiltration tunnels dug by militants.Israel has stated repeatedly that it will not negotiate terms of a longer-term cease fire under rocket attack.