February 26, 2024


A participant chants slogans for the liberty of Gaza throughout an indication underneath the slogan “Germany-wide solidarity with Palestine” in Berlin, Germany, Saturday Dec. 23, 2023. (Christoph Soeder/dpa through AP) AP Picture/Ariel Schalit

DEIR AL-BALAH, Gaza (AP) — No less than 68 individuals had been killed by an Israeli strike in central Gaza, well being officers mentioned Sunday, whereas the variety of Israeli troopers killed in fight over the weekend rose to fifteen.

Related Press journalists at a close-by hospital watched frantic Palestinians carry the lifeless, together with a child, and wounded following the strike on the Maghazi refugee camp east of Deir al-Balah. One bloodied younger woman seemed shocked whereas her physique was checked for damaged bones.

The 68 fatalities embody no less than 12 ladies and 7 kids, based on early hospital figures.

“We had been all focused,” mentioned Ahmad Turokmani, who misplaced a number of relations together with his daughter and grandson. “There isn’t a protected place in Gaza anyway.”

Earlier, the Well being Ministry in Gaza gave the loss of life toll as 70. The Israeli army had no quick remark.

As Christmas Eve fell, smoke rose over the besieged territory, whereas within the West Financial institution Bethlehem was hushed, its vacation celebrations known as off. In neighboring Egypt, tentative efforts continued on a deal for an additional trade of hostages for Palestinians held by Israel.

The struggle has devastated components of Gaza, killed roughly 20,400 Palestinians and displaced virtually all the territory’s 2.3 million individuals.

The mounting loss of life toll amongst Israeli troops — 154 for the reason that floor offensive started — may erode public assist for the struggle, which was sparked when Hamas-led militants stormed communities in southern Israel on Oct. 7, killing 1,200 and taking 240 hostage.

Israelis nonetheless largely stand behind the nation’s acknowledged targets of crushing Hamas’ governing and army capabilities and releasing the remaining 129 captives. That’s regardless of rising worldwide strain in opposition to Israel’s offensive, and the hovering loss of life toll and unprecedented struggling amongst Palestinians.

“The struggle exacts a really heavy worth from us, however now we have no selection however to proceed combating,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu mentioned.

In a nationally televised speech, Israeli President Isaac Herzog appealed for the nation to stay united. “This second is a take a look at. We won’t break nor blink,” he mentioned.

There was widespread anger in opposition to his authorities, which many criticize for failing to guard civilians on Oct. 7 and selling insurance policies that allowed Hamas to realize power through the years. Netanyahu has averted accepting accountability for the army and coverage failures.

“Over time, the general public will discover it exhausting to disregard the heavy worth paid, in addition to the suspicion that the goals that had been loudly heralded are nonetheless removed from being attained, and that Hamas is displaying no indicators of capitulating within the close to future,” wrote Amos Harel, army affairs commentator for the Haaretz newspaper.

The Israeli army mentioned it had accomplished the dismantling of Hamas’ underground headquarters in northern Gaza, a part of an operation to take down the huge tunnel community and kill off prime commanders that Israeli leaders have mentioned may take months.

Efforts towards negotiations continued. The top of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, Ziyad al-Nakhalah, arrived in Egypt for talks. The militant group, which additionally took half within the Oct. 7 assault, mentioned it was ready to think about releasing hostages solely after combating ends. Hamas’ prime chief Ismail Haniyeh traveled to Cairo for talks days earlier.

Israel’s offensive has been one of the devastating army campaigns in latest historical past. Greater than two-thirds of the 20,000 Palestinians killed have been ladies and youngsters, based on the Well being Ministry in Gaza, which doesn’t differentiate between civilians and combatants.

On Friday, Israeli airstrikes on two properties in Gaza killed 90 Palestinians, together with dozens from an prolonged household, based on rescuers and hospital officers. One of many properties, positioned in Gaza Metropolis, grew to become one of many deadliest airstrikes within the struggle after 76 individuals from the al-Mughrabi household had been killed, mentioned Mahmoud Bassal, a spokesman for Gaza’s Civil Protection division.

The Palestinian Purple Crescent mentioned a 13-year-old boy was shot and killed in an Israeli drone assault whereas inside al-Amal Hospital in Khan Younis, part of Gaza the place Israel’s army believes Hamas leaders are hiding.

An Israeli strike in a single day hit a home in a refugee camp west of town of Rafah, on Gaza’s border with Egypt. No less than two males had been killed, based on Related Press journalists within the hospital the place the our bodies had been taken.

No less than two individuals had been killed and 6 others wounded when a missile caught a constructing within the Bureij refugee camp in central Gaza.

And Palestinians reported heavy Israeli bombardment and gunfire in Jabaliya, an space north of Gaza Metropolis that Israel had claimed to regulate. Hamas’ army arm mentioned its fighters shelled Israeli troops in Jabaliya and Jabaliya refugee camp.

Israel faces worldwide criticism for the civilian loss of life toll but it surely blames Hamas, citing the militants’ use of crowded residential areas and tunnels. Israel has launched 1000’s of airstrikes since Oct. 7. It says it has killed 1000’s of Hamas militants, with out presenting proof.

Israel additionally faces allegations of mistreating Palestinian males and teenage boys detained in properties, shelters, hospitals and elsewhere in the course of the offensive. It has denied abuse allegations and mentioned these with out hyperlinks to militants are shortly launched.

Talking to the AP from a hospital mattress in Rafah after his launch, Khamis al-Burdainy of Gaza Metropolis mentioned Israeli forces detained him after tanks and bulldozers partly destroyed his residence. He mentioned males had been handcuffed and blindfolded.

“We didn’t sleep. We didn’t get meals and water,” he mentioned, crying and protecting his face.

One other launched detainee, Mohammed Salem, from the Gaza Metropolis neighborhood of Shijaiyah, mentioned Israeli troops beat them. “We had been humiliated,” he mentioned. “A feminine soldier would come and beat an previous man, aged 72 years previous.”

The United Nations Safety Council has handed a watered-down decision calling for the speedy supply of humanitarian help for hungry and determined Palestinians and the discharge of all of the hostages, however not for a cease-fire.

Nevertheless it was not instantly clear how and when deliveries of meals, medical provides and different help, far beneath the every day common of 500 earlier than the struggle, would speed up. Vehicles enter by means of two crossings: Rafah, and Kerem Shalom on the border with Israel. Wael Abu Omar, a spokesman for the Palestinian Crossings Authority, mentioned 123 help vehicles entered Gaza on Sunday,

The top of the World Well being Group, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, reiterated U.N. requires a humanitarian cease-fire, including on social media that “the decimation of the Gaza well being system is a tragedy.”

Amid considerations a couple of wider regional battle, the U.S. Central Command mentioned a patrol ship within the Purple Sea on Saturday shot down 4 drones launched from Houthi-controlled areas in Yemen, some time two Houthi anti-ship ballistic missiles had been fired into worldwide delivery lanes.

The Iran-backed Houthis say their assaults are aimed toward Israel-linked ships in an effort to cease the Israeli offensive in Gaza.


Magdy reported from Cairo. Related Press author Jack Jeffery in London contributed to this report.


Discover extra of AP’s protection at https://apnews.com/hub/israel-hamas-war