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Anchored by Jake Tapper, The Lead airs at 4 p.m. ET on CNN.

Anchored by Jake Tapper, The Lead airs at 4 p.m. ET on CNN.

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August 4th, 2014
05:42 PM ET

Tensions rise after the last cease-fire

By CNN chief Washington correspondent Jake Tapper

Jerusalem (CNN) – The latest flash points in the Mideast conflict exploded not on the tense border between Israel and Gaza, but here in the streets of Jerusalem. An earth mover, driven by an Arab Israeli, picked up an empty passenger bus, overturning it into the street where it killed one man and injured several others. Israeli police immediately called it "an act of terror," and Hamas praised the attack, saying "this was a natural reaction to the Israeli crimes against our civilians"

Just moments later, another explosion of violence in the urban streets: a man on a motorcycle opened fire on an Israeli soldier near the entrance to Hebrew University's Mount Scopus campus, then took off towards a Palestinian neighborhood in east Jerusalem.

It's what looks like a new front in this current battle – and it comes after a morning that promised some measure of peace. The Israeli government had promised a 24-hour ceasefire to allow for humanitarian aid into Gaza. But within 20 minutes of the appointed hour, the quiet was gone, replaced by accusations on both sides.

The Palestinian Health ministry claims an Israeli strike shattered the ceasefire, injuring 30 and killing an 8-year-old girl at a refugee camp in Gaza City.

The Israelis flat out denied it on CNN.

"That's not true. When we give an order to our forces to hold fire, they hold fire," said Israeli government spokesman Mark Regev.

But they reversed course hours later, acknowledging the attack, although denying it was a violation of the cease-fire because they claim the operation had already been underway when the truce began.

Meanwhile all along the border with Gaza, Israeli sirens sounded Monday, signaling incoming rockets from Gaza.

And as we made our way south along the border with Gaza, we visited Israeli neighborhoods that have for years been targets for the rockets of Hamas, and other Palestinian extremist groups.

The Israeli government called a brief humanitarian cease-fire Monday to help get supplies in Gaza, but it's still fraught with tension on the border. People on the Israeli side didn't know when the next rocket or mortar is going to come over from Gaza. People in Gaza didn't know when the cease-fire will be dropped and bombing and the ground operation will resume.

Just a few kilometers from Rafah – the site of the widely condemned Israeli shelling of a United Nations school-turned-shelter, that killed more than ten of Palestinian civilians – we had coffee with Eyal Brandeis, a university professor who lives at kibbutz Sufa.

The short walk between his patio and the barbed wire fence that separates him from the Palestinians is literally a war zone.

"Two nights we didn't really sleep. Last night a mortar fell right next to my house. And today it is so quiet that we're very, very tense and waiting to see what's going to happen," Brandeis said.

"I try not to live in the fear," he said.

Brandeis says he feels bad for the innocent Palestinians being killed by his government and the military his son fights for, but he sees the security choice today as a stark one.

"At the moment, it's either them or me. And unfortunately they are being held hostage by their own regime, he said. "The Israeli people use the missiles and the (Israel Defense Forces) to protect its people. The Hamas uses the people to protect the missiles and the Hamas."

Israel's much hyped anti-missile defense system, Iron Dome, doesn't work here because they are too near the border to be detected in time to stop them.

"You have to live here to feel what we feel and be under the threat of mortars that fall or tunnels of terrorists to understand what we're going through for 14 years," said Brandeis.

Brandeis had been through too many failed cease-fires to exhale.

"Our experience this round, six cease-fires didn't hold up. We're very, very tense we don't know what to expect," he said. "Somewhere inside we hope it's the beginning of the end. But we do not allow ourselves to relax because we know that any second it could change."

On the way back to Jerusalem, it looked like he might have reason to hope that at least the IDF ground campaign in Gaza might be coming to a close – CNN saw military vehicles seeming to move away from the border.

But as we drew closer to Jerusalem, and the day wound down, the tensions sparked anew. After the two attacks in the city center, police helicopters circled overheard. And the Israelis said another two soldiers had been shot near a border crossing.

CNN's Katie Hinman, Eric Marrapodi, and Kim Berryman contributed to this report.

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