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Published 22 May 2015

Santos announced the offensive on the rebels, who have maintained a unilateral cease-fire since December, won't stop.

Colombian president Juan Manuel Santos confirmed Thursday’s airstrike attack in Cauca Friday morning killed 26 FARC guerrillas, not 18 as was previously reported. In response, the FARC, or Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, announced the end to its unilateral cease-fire.

“Suspending the ceasefire wasn’t something we were considering … it was proclaimed Dec. 20, 2014, as a humanitarian gesture and to deescalate the conflict, but the incoherence of the Santos government has achieved this result, after five months of land and air offensives against our structures around the country,” a FARC representative stated.

RELATED: The Colombian Peace Process Explained

The 26 FARC members were killed by an Colombian army attack on one of their bases. The raid was the deadliest confrontation since the FARC and the Colombian state began peace talks two years ago.

Peace coordinator Felix Antonio Muñoz Lascarro, alias “Pastor Alape,” condemned the attack on Twitter Thursday:

“18 killed in the deep night and in the dream, with 250-kilo bombs without opportunity to fight, it's a treacherous and degrading act.”

“Peace is the only way against barbarity. No more unjustified deaths. The intelligent way is the intelligence of peace.”

The Colombian Defense Ministry described the offensive as “the first major blow against the FARC since President Santos ordered the resumption of airstrikes against the guerrillas April 15.”

President Santos said the operation was a “forceful action against those responsible for the Gorgona attacks, drug trafficking, extortion and illegal mining.” He also appealed to the guerrilla army, which has been fighting for just governance and land reform since 1964, via Twitter:

“Gentlemen of the FARC: it is time to speed up negotiations. How many more deaths do we need to understand it’s time for peace!”

Although the FARC declared a unilateral ceasefire last year amid peace negociations with the Colombian government, Santos ordered a resumption of strikes following an alleged rebel attack in April.

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