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Hamas to Drop Truce After Deadly Israeli Strike

At least 14 Palestinians have been killed in a series of Israeli air and artillery strikes in the Gaza Strip over the last 24 hours. The Israeli military says the attacks were in response to a surge of rocket fire from Gaza into southern Israel.

The casualties included several civilians. The military wing of the militant Islamist group Hamas said it will no longer honor a de facto truce that had held for 15 months.

In one of the attacks, Israeli troops killed a top Palestinian militia commander in an overnight missile strike in the Gaza Strip. Jamal Abu Samhadana was the head of a controversial new police force in Gaza established by the Hamas-led government. Another Israeli air strike killed at least seven Palestinian civilians.

The violence followed a week in which Hamas has continued to resist pressure from President Abbas to agree to a proposal for a future Palestinian state that implicitly recognizes Israel. Abbas is scheduled to formally announce a date for a referendum on the proposal soon.

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Eric Westervelt is a San Francisco-based correspondent for NPR's National Desk. He has reported on major events for the network from wars and revolutions in the Middle East and North Africa to historic wildfires and terrorist attacks in the U.S.