DEIR AL-BALAH, Gaza Strip — Israeli fighter jets hit targets in the Gaza Strip minutes after a weeklong truce expired on Friday, as the war with Hamas resumed in full force. Black smoke billowed from the besieged territory and Israel dropped leaflets over parts of southern Gaza urging people to leave their homes, suggesting it was preparing to widen its offensive.
Renewed hostilities heightened concerns for the about 140 hostages who remain in Gaza, after more than 100 were freed as part of the truce. Qatar, which has served as a mediator along with Egypt, said negotiators from both sides were still trying to reach an agreement on restarting the ceasefire.
The resumption of hostilities “complicates mediation efforts and exacerbates the humanitarian catastrophe,” Qatar's Foreign Ministry said.
The renewed fighting came a day after U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken met with Israeli officials and urged them to do more to protect Palestinian civilians as they seek to destroy Hamas. Blinken arrived Friday at the COP28 climate talks in Dubai, where he was to meet with Arab foreign ministers and other officials.
It was not clear to what extent Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will heed the appeals of the United States, Israel's most important ally. Netanyahu's office said Friday that Israel “is committed to achieving the goals of the war: Releasing the hostages, eliminating Hamas and ensuring…