Airstrikes Resume as Hamas Rockets Pummel Israel

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JERUSALEM, Israel -- Hamas rocket fire forced Israelis to take shelter in at least two major cities on Wednesday after the terrorist group broke a ceasefire, triggering more Israeli airstrikes on the Gaza Strip.

Israeli airstrikes boomed in the Gaza darkness, a response to at least 50 rockets Hamas fired into Israel, some of them directed at major population centers.

Israel struck at least 30 targets in Gaza, including the home of Hamas military leader Mohammed Deif, whose wife and child were reported killed.

Hamas quit the ceasefire talks in Egypt, and one spokesman said, "Hell will be unleashed" on Israel.

Jerusalem returned to a kind of cautionary normal after sirens sounded Tuesday here and in Tel Aviv. But polls show Israelis are in no mood for a diplomatic tap dance with Hamas.

"We don't necessarily know how it's all going to end, and it's not going to end pretty," Jerusalem resident Sruli Portnoy told CBN News.

The latest Peace Index poll, taken before Hamas broke the most recent ceasefire, shows 58 percent of Israeli Jews want to defeat Hamas through military action. A nearly unanimous 97 percent believe Israel's military is doing a "good or excellent" job.

Israelis CBN News talked with seemed resigned to the idea that the fight must continue despite the heavy stress of rocket attacks.

"I never thought in my life, at what was it -- 11:00 or 12:00 last night -- you know, just sitting on my bed, I would hear that sound and you're hearing it now and everyone is part of it," Portnoy said.

"We try to do our best to get the situation to be good and they don't want to do it," Israeli Yochi Tubi explained.

"Maybe something will change. Maybe the world's eyes will be opened and they will see it's not normal to live like that," resident Eitan Magrafta said. "The evil, it's not us."

Hamas claims Israel's airstrikes were designed to thwart the ceasefire talks in Cairo.

"We [Hamas] are warning the Israeli occupation from continuing this escalation and violating the ceasefire," Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri told reporters. "We put the responsibility on Israel for this escalation and the implications of it."

Indirect talks between Israel and Hamas failed in part because Hamas wanted Israel to restore Palestinian access to land, sea, and air without giving up its huge store of weapons.

"A seaport or airport without commitment for demilitarization is like a duty-free for rockets and missiles," Israeli Intelligence Minister Yuval Steinitz said.

As the fighting resumes, Israel is pursuing leads in its major bust of a Hamas plot in the West Bank. The security agency, Shin Bet, found a collection of terror cells headed by a ringleader in Turkey.

They were getting ready to launch a coup against the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah and hit a number of Israel targets, including the Temple Mount.

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John Waage

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John Waage has covered politics and analyzed elections for CBN News since 1980, including primaries, conventions, and general elections. 

He also analyzes the convulsive politics of the Middle East.