MOSCOW, August 1 (RIA Novosti) — The Russian Foreign Ministry on Friday urged Israel and Palestinian militants to 'break the vicious cycle of violence' and resume a humanitarian ceasefire in the Gaza Strip.
“Moscow calls on the warring sides to show common sense and stop armed hostilities. All efforts should be made…to break the vicious cycle of violence, which is leading to civilian deaths and the colossal destruction of civilian infrastructure," the ministry said in a statement.
Russia will continue providing assistance aimed at de-escalating the conflict in the Gaza Strip, the ministry said.
Hostilities resumed in the Gaza Strip hours after the ceasefire that was supposed to last three days was announced early on Friday, with Israel and Hamas placing the blame on each other for the disruption of the truce. At least 40 Palestinians and two Israeli soldiers were killed as fighting again broke out in the war-torn enclave.
At least five Palestinians have been killed as a result of the Israeli attacks near the cities of Rafah and Khan Yunis on Friday, according to the Safa news agency. Witnesses said the Kerem Shalom border crossing near Rafah was under mortar attack. Explosions and shooting could be heard to the east of Gaza.
Mousa Abu Marzook, one of Hamas' leaders, blamed Israel, saying they were ordered not to open fire unless the opposing side did, according to local media.
Israel launched Operation Protective Edge to put an end to rocket fire from Gaza on July 8. On July 17, the Israeli Army switched to a ground assault largely aimed at locating and destroying rocket launchers and underground tunnels. The ceasefire allowed Israel to continue the destruction of tunnels that Palestinian militants use to smuggle arms and secretly enter Israeli territory.
More than 1,400 Palestinians and nearly 60 Israelis have been killed since the offensive began.