Monday, May 20

After Truce Expires, Strikes in Gaza and Air-Raid Sirens in Israel: Live Updates

The fragile truce between Israel and Hamas collapsed on Friday morning because the adversaries could not find common ground for further exchanges of hostages and prisoners, according to Israeli and Hamas officials.

Publicly, Israel and Hamas blamed each other for military activity that violated the weeklong cease-fire. Israel said Hamas had fired rockets from Gaza into southern Israel, while Hamas said Israeli troop operations had resumed in northern Gaza. But two Israeli officials and Taher Jabareen, a Hamas official who oversees prisoner issues, said the real reason the pause ended was a stalemate in prisoner-swap negotiations.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel had hoped for at least one more round of exchanges, said the Israeli officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the discussions.

Hamas had begun suggesting deals that would release more Palestinians from Israeli jails, including higher-profile detainees, in exchange for the remaining hostages held in Gaza, who include Israeli soldiers. But Israeli officials have made it clear that they want all women and children held in Gaza released before they will discuss exchanges of other captives.

The return to war after seven days of a temporary cease-fire left the fate of dozens of hostages in question.

Hamas and other militants were believed to have kidnapped more than 200 people on Oct. 7 in an attack that left some 1,200 people dead. In daily exchanges over the last week, Hamas freed 105 hostages, mostly women and children, in exchange for the release of 180 Palestinian prisoners, all women and minors, from Israeli jails.

The overnight negotiations, headed by Qatar, with help from Egypt and the United States, sought to find ways to sustain the pause in fighting for further exchanges.

At least one proposal sought to follow the formula used over the last week, under which Hamas released women and children held in Gaza in exchange for women and underage Palestinian prisoners from Israeli jails, in addition to an increase in aid for Gaza.

The sides gave differing accounts for why this didn’t work.

As the two sides tried to negotiate a list of hostages to be released on Friday, Hamas said it considered some of the women on Israel’s list to be soldiers, Mr. Jabareen said in a phone interview.

Mr. Jabareen said Hamas had made three other proposals, all of which involved small numbers of Israelis in exchange for dozens of Palestinian prisoners. Previous exchanges during the seven-day cease-fire generally called for the release of three Palestinian prisoners for every hostage freed.

One proposal included Hamas trading what it said were the bodies of the mother and two children from the Bibas family for a few dozen Palestinians detained by Israel since 2014, Mr. Jabareen said.

Hamas announced this week that Shiri Bibas, 32; Ariel Bibas, 4; and Kfir Bibas, 10 months old; had been killed in Israeli airstrikes in Gaza. The Israeli military has said it is seeking to verify the information.

Hamas also proposed exchanging the family’s father, Yarden Bibas, who it says is still alive, for a few dozen of the longest serving Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails, including some who had been there since the 80s, Mr. Jabareen said.

Another Hamas proposal would have required both sides to release all captives over age 60, in exchange for about 130 Palestinian prisoners, many of whom Israel had detained in the aftermath of Hamas’s surprise Oct. 7 attack on Israel.

Israel rejected all those proposals, Mr. Jabareen said.

“It is clear that we are heading toward the continuation of the aggression and that there is no horizon for continuing with cease-fires and prisoner swaps,” he said.

A person with knowledge of the negotiations said that the final offer from Hamas included the bodies of the mother and the two Bibas children, their father, who is presumed to be alive, and six other women, children and elderly people. Israel rejected that offer because it wanted to secure the release of all living women and children before negotiating for the others, the person said.

An Israeli official speaking on condition of anonymity said that disagreements over how to define civilians versus soldiers had contributed to the stalemate. Hamas considered Israeli women who are of military age or were captured near military bases to be military captives, as well as men in their late 40s or 50s, because they could serve in the reserves, the official said.

Israeli authorities said Friday night that the collapse of the cease-fire had also temporarily stopped the flow of crucial aid deliveries into Gaza, but that deliveries had resumed at the urging of the United States at a reduced level from during the temporary pause in fighting. They added that the deliveries included only food, water and medical equipment — no fuel — and that the shipments were inspected before entering Gaza.

The failure of the cease-fire talks came as competing pressures were building on Mr. Netanyahu. International calls have grown to end the war, which has displaced more than half of Gaza’s 2.2 million people and killed more than 13,000 people, according to the territory’s health authorities. Many in Israel have also called on the government to do all it can to bring the remaining captives home.

Mr. Netanyahu also faces pressure from far-right members of his own government to keep fighting Hamas, which Israel has vowed to destroy.

Aaron Boxerman contributed reporting from Jerusalem and Erica L. Green from Washington.