Gaza City- Israel has carried out fresh attacks on Gaza today and Hamas launched more rockets into Israel as a hunt continues for a missing Israeli soldier.
Palestinian officials said 47 people died overnight in Israeli strikes, most of them in Rafah, where the soldier, Hadar Goldin, went missing. A series of rocket attacks into Israel were reported today morning. At least 1,600 Palestinians, mostly civilians, and 63 Israelis, mainly soldiers, have died in the conflict. A Thai worker was also killed in Israel.
A 72-hour ceasefire had been agreed, starting from Friday morning, but collapsed hours later. Hamas accused Israel of breaking the ceasefire but the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said it had been forced to respond to militant rocket fire. US President Barack Obama on Friday described the crisis as "heartbreaking" and said he would work to secure another truce.
Palestinian officials said that there had been a series of Israeli air strikes around Rafah since midnight, killing at least 35 people. They said that across Gaza overnight, 40 homes, three mosques and a university were hit.
On the other hand, Israeli media said that after a relatively quiet night, a number of rockets had been fired today morning, including at Tel Aviv. The Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of Hamas, which controls Gaza, said it had fired three rockets at Tel Aviv. At least two were reportedly shot down by the Iron Dome missile defence system.
Egypt's state-run news agency reported today that Egypt's Rafah border crossing with Gaza had been reopened for humanitarian reasons, to help the casualties. The Qassam Brigades meanwhile said it had no information about the fate of 2nd Lt Hadar Goldin, 23. Israel said he may have been captured during an ambush in which two other soldiers were killed.
In a statement early today, the Qassam Brigades said it lost contact with a group of fighters in the area where the soldier went missing, saying "We believe they were all killed in the Israeli bombardment. Assuming that they managed to seize the soldier during combat, we assess that he was also killed in the incident."
The capture of soldiers is a particular concern for Israeli authorities. Conscript Gilad Shalit was held for five years before being exchanged for more than 1,000 Palestinian prisoners.
Mr Obama also urged the protection of civilians. He said, "We have been clear that innocent civilians in Gaza caught in the crossfire have to weigh on our conscience and we have to do more to protect them."
The US Congress on Friday passed a $225m (£134m) bill to help restock Israel's Iron Dome defence system. The bill was rushed through before Congress's five-week summer break.
There were clashes in the West Bank on Friday as thousands of Palestinians took to the streets to protest against Israel's offensive. Two Palestinian protesters were shot dead in separate incidents after violence got out of control, an Israeli military spokeswoman said.
Israel began an aerial campaign on 8 July with the intention of halting rocket attacks from Gaza, and later launched ground operations to target rocket launching sites and tunnels use by militants to infiltrate Israel.
There have been numerous attempts to hold ceasefires but none have lasted, with both sides accusing each other of breaking the truces.