Update as of 6:45 a.m. EDT: The collapse of the three-day cease-fire agreement between Israel and Hamas has also imperiled the upcoming peace talks in Egypt, according to media reports. BBC reported, citing Agence France-Presse, that Egypt told Palestinian officials it would postpone the Cairo talks.

According to Reuters, the Israeli military confirmed that the cease-fire had ended, however, a BBC report from earlier said the Israeli Prime Minister’s office had stated that the truce was not officially over.

Reports are also coming in of an Israeli soldier being abducted by Hamas in the southern Gaza Strip.

Meanwhile, the European Union reportedly urged Israel and Hamas to work toward restoring a cease-fire in Gaza.

"We believe it is absolutely necessary for a ceasefire to be put in place, to be respected and to put an end to the loss of civilian lives," Maja Kocijancic, a spokesperson for EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, told Agence France-Presse.


A 72-hour ceasefire deal announced jointly by the U.S. and the U.N., and agreed upon by Hamas and Israel on Thursday, has reportedly come to a premature end.

The failure of the fragile truce resulted in the deaths of at least 40 people while dozens more were injured in Israeli tank shelling in the southern part of the Gaza Strip on Friday, according to media reports.

An Al Jazeera report added that fighting had intensified in the Khan Younis region and rocket alarms had been sounded in Israel’s Eshkol region near the Gaza border.

While an Israeli government official reportedly said that Hamas had “flagrantly violated the ceasefire,” Hamas leader Osama Hamdan told Al Jazeera that Israel was the one that had broken the truce.

“If Israel continues to violate the ceasefire I don’t think anyone can control the Palestinian organisations," Hamdan said.

BBC reported that the Israeli army had issued warnings to Palestinians living in Gaza and asked them to stay indoors.

The short lived cease-fire took effect at 8:00 a.m. local time Friday. Even before the beginning of the truce, the region had witnessed heavy fighting, which killed 17 Palestinians and five Israeli soldiers, according to an Associated Press report.

There have been no official statements so far from either Hamas or Israel regarding the ceasefire.