Blinken says “more needs to be done” to protect Palestinians, after Israel agrees to end daily fighting

US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said on Friday that he welcomed Israel’s agreement to daily humanitarian pauses in its offensive in northern Gaza, but said more needed to be done. “Too many Palestinians have been killed. Many have suffered in the past weeks, and we want to do everything possible to prevent harm to them and to increase the aid available to them,” said Blinken, speaking in New Delhi.

US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken speaks to reporters in New Delhi on November 10, 2023.

Jonathan Ernst/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

Since then fighting has raged in northern Gaza Gunmen from the Islamist group Hamas entered Israel at the border And, according to Israeli officials, the attack was the deadliest in the country’s history, killing at least 1,200 people and taking about 240 hostages.

Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Lior Hayat told CBS News Friday that the death toll from the Oct. 7 attack by Hamas militants has been revised to 1,200, down from a previously reported estimate of at least 1,400. The other 200 killed were “probably terrorists,” Haidt said.

Israel retaliated with aerial bombardments and ground attacks, which the Health Ministry in the Hamas-run Gaza Strip says have killed more than 10,800 people, many of them children.

The Hamas government said Friday that 13 people were killed in an Israeli attack on the territory’s largest hospital. A WHO spokesman said the hospital was “coming under bombardment” and that 20 hospitals in Gaza were unable to treat patients, Reuters reported.

“Thirteen martyrs and dozens were injured in an Israeli attack on al-Shifa compound today” in central Gaza City, a government statement said, which AFP could not immediately verify.

The director of Al-Shifa Hospital, Mohammed Abu Salmiya, said “Israeli tanks opened fire on Al-Shifa Hospital,” while the Israeli military had no immediate comment.

Israel reported heavy fighting near the hospital on Thursday, which it said killed dozens of fighters and destroyed mines critical to Hamas’ ability to fight.

Smoke rises following an Israeli airstrike in the Gaza Strip, as seen from southern Israel on November 10, 2023.

Leo Correa / AB

The Israeli military has repeatedly accused Hamas of using hospitals, particularly al-Shifa, to coordinate attacks against the army and hide out for its commanders. Hamas officials and doctors deny the allegations.

The Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry said on Friday that Israeli tanks had surrounded two children’s hospitals in northern Gaza. A spokesman for Israel’s military said it “cannot discuss possible locations related to our operations. It could compromise troops.”

Separately, the UN human rights chief on Friday called for an investigation into Israel’s indiscriminate bombing and shelling of populated areas of the Gaza Strip. of international humanitarian law,” the Associated Press reported.

On Friday, Lebanon’s Iran-backed Hezbollah said Israeli fire had killed seven of its fighters, without specifying where or when they died as border tensions flared during the Israel-Hamas war.

President Biden on Thursday welcomed the truce Israel signed, formalizing an arrangement that has already seen tens of thousands of Palestinians flee the disaster in northern Gaza.

Blinken said, “I think there’s been some progress. But … there’s a lot more to do in terms of protecting civilians and getting them humanitarian aid.”

Blinken said Israel’s agreement to a daily four-hour pause and two humanitarian corridors would help people move away from the fighting. “These measures will save lives and provide additional aid to Palestinians in need,” he added.

Blinken’s visit to India is the last stop on a marathon trip that includes the G7 foreign ministers’ meeting in South Korea, Japan — which sought to find common ground on the Israel-Hamas conflict — and a tour of the Middle East.

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