- The latest developments:
- Biden and Netanyahu discuss work pauses, aid, and hostages – The White House
- The United Nations says 89 aid workers were killed, the highest toll ever
- Pictures of hostages are displayed on the wall of the Old City in Jerusalem
GAZA (Reuters) – United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said on Monday that Gaza had become a “cemetery for children,” stressing calls for a ceasefire in the Strip, where Palestinian health authorities said the death toll from Israeli raids had exceeded 10,000. .
Israel and Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, rejected increasing international pressure for a ceasefire. Israel says hostages taken by Hamas during its attack in southern Israel on October 7 must be released first; Hamas says it will not release them or stop the fighting while Gaza is under attack.
“Israeli Defense Forces ground operations and constant bombardment are hitting civilians, hospitals, refugee camps, mosques, churches and UN facilities – including shelters. No one is safe,” Guterres told reporters.
“At the same time, Hamas and other militants are using civilians as human shields and continue to fire rockets indiscriminately into Israel,” he added, calling for the immediate and unconditional release of all hostages.
Israel said 31 soldiers had been killed since it began expanded ground operations in Gaza on October 27, and reiterated that Hamas was hiding among civilians and in hospitals. Hamas said that the idea of Hamas being stationed in hospitals is “a false narrative that the United Nations must verify.”
A Reuters journalist in Gaza said that the Israeli air, ground and sea bombardment during the night was among the heaviest since the October 7 attack in which Hamas killed 1,400 people in Israel and took more than 240 hostage.
The Ministry of Health in the Hamas-controlled enclave said at least 10,022 people have been killed in Gaza since then, including 4,104 children.
“Gaza has become a cemetery for children,” Guterres said. “It is said that hundreds of girls and boys are killed or injured every day.”
International organizations said hospitals cannot deal with the wounded, food and clean water are running out, and aid deliveries are nowhere near adequate.
Guterres said that 89 people working with the United Nations Agency for Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA) were among the dead. UNRWA said that five of their colleagues were killed in the past 24 hours alone.
A previous statement issued by 18 United Nations organizations said, “We need an immediate ceasefire for humanitarian reasons. 30 days have passed. Enough is enough. This must stop now.”
The United States is pushing hard to arrange temporary pauses in the conflict to allow aid in rather than a full ceasefire, arguing, like Israel, that Hamas fighters would exploit the opportunity.
The White House said that US President Joe Biden discussed such pauses and the possible release of hostages in a phone call with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday, affirming his support for Israel while emphasizing that it must protect civilians.
The faces of the hostages were displayed on a wall in Jerusalem’s Old City on the eve of the first anniversary of the attack.
Israel says it is tightening its grip on Hamas
The Israeli army said that its forces took control of a militant compound and were preparing to attack Hamas fighters hiding in tunnels and underground bunkers in the northern Gaza Strip, after isolating the area with troops and tanks. It published a video of tanks moving in the bombed streets and groups of forces moving on foot.
“Now we will start closing in on them,” Lieutenant Colonel Richard Hecht told reporters.
The Al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of the Hamas movement, said it destroyed 27 Israeli military vehicles within 48 hours and inflicted heavy losses in direct clashes with Israeli forces.
The Gaza Ministry of Health said that dozens of people were killed in Israeli air strikes in the north and south, including on the Rantisi Cancer Hospital in Gaza City, where eight people were killed. The Israeli army said it was studying the report.
A spokesman for the Ministry of Health in Gaza said that an air strike also hit a building belonging to Al-Shifa Hospital, the largest hospital in Gaza, where 170 people are being treated and hundreds of evacuees are taking shelter. He added that one person was killed and several others were injured. Israel said it did not bomb the hospital.
The International Committee of the Red Cross said that it accompanied a convoy of four ambulances carrying patients from Gaza City to the Rafah border crossing with Egypt. Evacuations have stopped since the Israeli raid on an ambulance on Friday, but three Egyptian security sources said that dozens of foreign passport holders also left on Monday.
Blinken on a regional tour
US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken toured the region to try to prevent the conflict from escalating, plan for a safe future for Israelis and Palestinians, as well as obtain more aid.
“I think we will see in the coming days that aid can expand in important ways,” Blinken said in Turkey.
Netanyahu visited the Israeli-occupied West Bank on Sunday to show support for the Palestinians there and in Gaza and held talks in Israel and neighboring Jordan with Arab leaders.
The New York Times reported that CIA Director William Burns also visited Israel and is scheduled to go to other countries in the region. The CIA did not respond to a request for comment.
Israel said it was bombing Hezbollah targets in Lebanon in response to a barrage of rockets fired at cities in northern Israel, in an escalation of the worst clashes across the Israeli-Lebanese border since 2006.
Hamas said it fired 16 rockets towards Nahariya and south of Haifa in Israel.
Meanwhile, people searched for victims or survivors in the Maghazi refugee camp in Gaza, where the Health Ministry said Israeli forces killed at least 47 people in raids early Sunday.
Saeed Al-Najma (53 years old) said, “All night long, I and the other men were trying to extract the dead from under the rubble. We got torn children and torn flesh.” Asked for comment, the Israeli army said it was gathering details. .
The Israeli army said that a four-hour deadline for civilians to leave the north would be repeated daily. UN monitoring showed that fewer than 2,000 people used the corridor on Sunday, due to fear and damage to the roads. A US envoy said on Saturday that between 350,000 and 400,000 people remained in the north.
(This story has been reworded to show that Benjamin Netanyahu is the Prime Minister of Israel, not the President of Israel, in paragraph 13.)
(Reporting by Nidal al-Mughrabi in Gaza, Ali Sawafta and Simon Lewis in Ramallah, Dan Williams and Ari Rabinovitch in Jerusalem, Michelle Nichols at the United Nations, Trevor Hunnicutt in Washington, Gabriel Tetrault-Farber and Emma Farge in Geneva and Omar Abdel Hamid) Razek and Naira Abdullah; Writing by David Lowder, William MacLean and Philippa Fletcher; Edited by Timothy Heritage, Christina Fincher, and Allison Williams
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