The Israeli army has been relentlessly shelling the Gaza Strip for a second day today, after a truce with the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas ended yesterday morning, which had allowed the release of hostages and the distribution of humanitarian aid.

The Hamas Health Ministry spoke of almost 200 dead – mainly civilians, among them children – from yesterday’s Israeli strikes.

The same time, 137 hostages remain captive in Gaza while Israeli forces are mainly targeting the south.

“Currently we are hitting Hamas military targets throughout the Gaza StripJonathan Conricus, spokesman for the army, said in the early hours of today.

Although talks continued in the background yesterday in the hope of extending the temporary ceasefire, hopes of a new truce are fading.

The Times of Israel reported “extensive ground fighting” in the early hours of today around Khan Younes in the southern part of the Palestinian enclave, as reported by the German news agency (dpa).

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said that some of the leading members of Hamas were in the area.

The same newspaper also reported that the Israeli army dropped leaflets in Khan Younes, calling on residents to move towards Rafa, in the south, as the area is dangerous. But the IDF also bombed Rafa.

The Israeli military also confirmed late yesterday that death of five hostages held in the Gaza Strip, releasing their names, adding that he had informed their families.

Hostilities between Israel and Hamas resumed yesterday, Friday, after a seven-day ceasefire. Israel said Hamas violated the terms of the deal by firing rockets into its territory.

According to dpa, a high-ranking official of the Islamist organization, Khalil al-Hayya, accused Israel in an interview with Al Jazeera yesterday of rejecting several “initiatives and proposals” to extend the truce.

Hostilities in Lebanon as well

On Israel’s northern border, the exchange of fire between the Israeli army and the Lebanese organization Hezbollah, an ally of Hamas, began again. Hezbollah announced the death of two of its members due to Israeli shelling in southern Lebanon, where a civilian was also killed.

Israel launched airstrikes near the Syrian capital Damascus early today, according to the Syrian Defense Ministry, with no immediate reports of casualties. When asked by AFP, the Israeli army did not comment on this information.