JERUSALEM — Israel and Hamas exchanged fire today, throwing into disarray an Egyptian-brokered cease-fire meant to end eight days of fighting. Israel initially accepted the proposal while Hamas rejected it. Under the Egyptian plan, proposed late Monday, a 12-hour period of de-escalation was to begin at midmorning today. Hamas lobbed more than 50 rockets at Israel in the six hours after the suggested period began today, before Israel resumed its offensive. The offer, though, is still on the table and Israel says it will halt its fire if Hamas accepts it.
The Egyptian proposal calls for an end to hostilities on both sides, saying Israel will halt its attacks and not conduct a ground offensive, and Palestinian militants will stop firing rockets. In the eight-day conflict, Israel has struck more than 1,600 targets in Gaza, killing nearly 200 people, many of them civilians. Hamas and other Palestinian militants have fired more than 1,100 rockets at Israeli towns and cities, causing damage and some injuries but no deaths. Once both sides agree to halt hostilities, they would negotiate the terms of a longer-term truce.