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Broken Peace: Gaza Fighting Grinds Life to a Halt, Again

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It didn't take long.

Less than a minute after the ceasefire expired, sirens blared in the Southern Israeli town of Ashkelon and in Gaza I heard a loud explosion, as militants fired the first of dozens of rockets across the border.

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One of the leaders of the militant group Hamas had told me the evening before that they would not wait a minute after eight before doing this and it happened just as he had warned.

Over the course of Friday I've heard many explosions, one just after an Israeli F16 warplane flew overhead, firing off chaff to deter incoming missiles. Drones have circled overhead all day and Palestinians have strained to gaze into the skies for clues to their targets.

I visited one site two hours after a strike. Locals told me an Israeli aircraft had first dropped a warning device before following it a few minutes later with a missile that obliterated a house and blew a twenty foot crater in the yard outside. No-one was killed or injured.

In another incident a ten year old boy was killed, but it's not clear whether he was a victim of Israeli fire or of a misfired rocket, of which there were several.

We were filming in a children's ward at Gaza's biggest hospital when another blast hit the area just after 11 a.m. local time.

Palestinians say one member of the Islamic Jihad organization was killed.

The Israeli military had responded to the initial rocket salvo within an hour. Some of the rockets were intercepted by the Iron Dome defense system, others fell harmlessly. But an Israeli soldier and two other people were injured and one house near the border took a direct hit.

Even before the ceasefire was broken, people in Gaza had rushed back to UN shelters. At one UN run school, they had only 600 people left on Thursday, many returning to their neighborhoods in the hope that the fighting was over. By 8 a.m. Friday, the school was crammed with 2,860 people. A UN supply of milk for children on Friday afternoon proved hopelessly inadequate for the new intake.

People told me they had such high hopes that the war was over, but hope is a fragile thing in Gaza today.