HomeGlobal Defence UpdatesIsrael-Hamas war rages in Gaza as mediators push for new truce

Israel-Hamas war rages in Gaza as mediators push for new truce

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Deadly fighting and bombardment rocked Gaza on Tuesday as international mediators pushed for a new ceasefire and hostage release deal in the Israel-Hamas war.
Heavy Israeli strikes and urban combat across the besieged Gaza Strip killed 128 more people overnight, the health ministry in the Hamas-run Palestinian territory said.

The epicentre of fighting has been the southern city of Khan Yunis — the hometown of Hamas’s Gaza leader Yahya Sinwar, the alleged architect of the October 7 attack — where vast areas have been reduced to a muddy wasteland of bombed-out buildings.

Troops fighting in city blocks and tunnels have raided several military sites, Sinwar’s office and “a significant rocket manufacturing facility”, the Israeli military said.

Army spokesman Daniel Hagari claimed troops in the city had “eliminated over 2,000 terrorists above and below ground”.

Israeli undercover troops in the occupied West Bank meanwhile killed three alleged members of a Hamas “terrorist cell” in a raid on a hospital.The agents — some dressed as medical staff and carrying a wheelchair and baby carrier as props — shot dead three men at Ibn Sina Hospital in the northern city of Jenin, according to officials and hospital CCTV footage released by the ministry.The official Palestinian news agency Wafa named the three men as Muhammad Jalamnah, Muhammad Ayman Ghazawi and Basel Ayman Ghazawi.

The Israeli army charged that Jalamnah, allegedly “inspired” by the October 7 attack, had “planned to carry out a terror attack in the immediate future and used the hospital as a hiding place and therefore was neutralised”.

The Palestinian health ministry stressed that hospitals enjoy special protection under international law and urged the United Nations to help end Israel’s “daily string of crimes… against our people and health centres”.

– ‘Dire need’ –

The Gaza war, now in its fourth month, has left much of besieged Gaza in ruins and sparked a spiralling humanitarian crisis for its 2.4 million people, many of whom face the threats of hunger and disease.

Israel has charged that around a dozen staff of the main UN aid agency for Palestinians took part in the October 7 attack, leading key donor countries including the United States and Germany to suspend funding.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, who has pleaded for continued support to meet the “dire needs”, will meet donors in New York on Tuesday, his office said, as investigations into Israel’s claims continue.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken urged UNRWA to address the allegations, but also hailed its “absolutely indispensable role in trying to make sure that men, women and children who so desperately need assistance in Gaza actually get it”.

– Truce talks –

In the latest efforts to broker a new truce, CIA chief William Burns met top Israeli, Egyptian and Qatari officials in Paris on Sunday.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office called the talks “constructive” but pointed to “significant gaps which the parties will continue to discuss”.

Blinken expressed hope for a deal, telling reporters that “very important, productive work has been done. And there is some real hope going forward.”

Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani, whose government helped broker a previous truce in November and who attended the talks, said “good progress” had been made.

Sheikh Mohammed said the plan included a phased truce that would see women and children hostages released first, with aid also entering Gaza, and that an initial deal might lead to a permanent ceasefire.

Hamas confirmed on Tuesday that it had received the proposal, saying on its Telegram account that it was “in the process of examining it and delivering its response”.

A senior Hamas official, Taher al-Nunu, said the Islamist group wanted a “complete and comprehensive ceasefire, not a temporary truce”.

– Regional tensions –

The deadliest ever Gaza war was triggered by Hamas’s unprecedented October 7 attack that resulted in about 1,140 deaths in Israel, mostly civilians, according to an tally of official figures.

Militants also seized 250 hostages, of whom Israel says around 132 remain in Gaza, including the bodies of at least 28 dead captives.

Israel’s relentless military offensive has killed at least 26,637 people in Gaza, most of them women and children, according to the territory’s Hamas-run health ministry.

Fears have grown that Israel and its ally the United States could face a widening Middle East conflict after months of violence involving Iran-backed groups in Lebanon, Iraq, Syria and Yemen.

Those fears were heightened after Washington vowed to respond to a drone attack Sunday that killed three US troops in a remote outpost in Jordan near the Syrian and Iraqi borders.

Tehran has denied any involvement in the attack.

Washington said the Jordan attack “requires a response”, but White House spokesman John Kirby also underlined that “we are not looking for a war with Iran”.

The Israeli-Lebanese border has seen almost daily exchanges of fire with Iran-backed Hezbollah militants, heightening fears of a wider conflict there.

Israel has said it is ready for any attacks but does not seek a wider war in the north.

Defence Minister Yoav Gallant said late Monday that some units in Gaza were “moving up to the north and preparing for what’s to come”.

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