“Hamas … will pay the price for that decision”

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An Israeli man delivering food to soldiers Tuesday at the border of the Gaza Strip was struck and killed by mortar fire, becoming the first Israeli death in more than a week of fighting between the country’s army and Hamas militants.

Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld told The Associated Press that the man, in his 30s, was at the Erez Crossing with the Gaza Strip.

The news of the death came around the same time Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed to exert “great force” against Gaza’s Hamas rulers after the Islamic militants rejected a truce agreement.

In a televised address, Netanyahu said “Hamas chose to continue fighting and will pay the price for that decision.”

Gaza militants fired close to 100 rockets since the morning, when the truce was to have begun, the Israeli military said. In the evening, a quick barrage of 40 rockets fell over the course of a few minutes. Palestinian health officials say 194 Palestinians were killed and more than 1,400 over the past week.

Israeli officials said that the truce proposed by Egypt’s Foreign Ministry had been accepted by the cabinet shortly after it was due to take effect Tuesday at 9 a.m. local time (2 a.m. Eastern Time). Less than half an hour later, a senior Hamas official told The Associated Press that the group had rejected the proposal, claiming that Cairo had not consulted them.

“We did not receive any official draft of this Egyptian proposal,” Sami Abu Zuhri said, adding that the plan, as is, was “not acceptable.”

Israel’s military later said it resumed airstrikes on the Gaza Strip Tuesday after Hamas continued to fire rockets throughout the country.

He said that even though Israel resumed bombing Gaza, it would stop if Hamas accepts the truce and that the coming hours are critical. If not, the military has a plan in place to significantly amp up its offensive, including a possible ground operation, said the official who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was discussing military strategy.

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