February 21, 2024

By NAJIB JOBAIN and SAMY MAGDY (Related Press)

RAFAH, Gaza Strip (AP) — The Palestinian dying toll from the struggle between Israel and Hamas has soared previous 25,000, the Well being Ministry within the Gaza Strip mentioned Sunday, whereas Israel introduced the dying of one other hostage and appeared removed from reaching its targets of releasing greater than 100 others and crushing the militant group.

The deaths, destruction and displacement from the struggle are with out precedent within the decades-old Israeli-Palestinian battle. The struggle has divided Israelis whereas the offensive threatens to ignite a wider battle involving Iran-backed teams in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Yemen that help the Palestinians.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu mentioned he burdened in his dialog with U.S. President Joe Biden on Friday that he rejects Hamas calls for for a cease-fire, Israeli forces’ withdrawal and the discharge of Palestinians held by Israel in alternate for the remaining hostages. He mentioned that agreeing means one other devastating Hamas assault “would solely be a matter of time.”

Netanyahu additionally has rejected calls from U.S, its closest ally, for postwar plans that would come with a path to Palestinian statehood. U.N. Secretary-Common Antonio Guterres referred to as the refusal to just accept a two-state answer unacceptable.

“The Center East is a tinderbox. We should do all we will to forestall battle igniting throughout the area,” Guterres added. “And that begins with an instantaneous humanitarian cease-fire to alleviate the struggling in Gaza.”

Within the newest of near-daily clashes between Hezbollah forces and Israeli troops alongside the Lebanese border, an Israeli airstrike Sunday hit a automotive close to a Lebanese military checkpoint within the southern city of Kafra, killing at the very least one particular person and injuring a number of others, Lebanese state media reported. Israel’s army mentioned its plane and tanks struck a variety of Hezbollah targets, and that an anti-tank missile launched from Lebanon hit a home in Avivim in northern Israel. No accidents had been reported.

The struggle started with Hamas’ assault in southern Israel on Oct. 7. Palestinian militants killed some 1,200 folks, principally civilians, and took about 250 hostages again to Gaza.

Israel’s army introduced the dying of Sgt. Shay Levinson, who was among the many hostages. His date of dying was given as Oct. 7, however there have been no additional particulars. In response to Israeli media, his physique continues to be in Gaza.

Israel has responded to the Oct. 7 assault with a bombing marketing campaign and floor invasion that laid waste to complete neighborhoods in northern Gaza and unfold south. Floor operations at the moment are targeted on the southern metropolis of Khan Younis and built-up refugee camps in central Gaza courting to the 1948 struggle surrounding Israel’s creation.

Israel continues to hold out airstrikes all through the besieged territory, together with areas the place it instructed civilians to hunt refuge.

On Sunday, Israel’s army mentioned the demolition final week of a key constructing at Israa College in Gaza was beneath overview, and asserted that preliminary findings indicated Hamas had used the compound for army functions. The college has mentioned the “assault” got here weeks after Israeli forces occupied the constructing.

Because the struggle began, 25,105 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza, whereas one other 62,681 have been wounded, the Well being Ministry mentioned. The toll included the 178 our bodies dropped at Gaza’s hospitals since Saturday, Well being Ministry spokesperson Ashraf al-Qidra mentioned.

The general toll is considered increased as a result of many casualties stay buried beneath rubble or in areas that medics can not attain, Al-Qidra mentioned.

The Well being Ministry doesn’t differentiate between civilians and combatants in its figures however says about two-thirds of the folks killed in Gaza had been ladies and minors. The ministry is a part of the Hamas-run authorities, however its casualty figures from earlier wars had been largely per these of U.N. companies and even the Israeli army.

The Israeli army says it has killed round 9,000 militants, with out offering proof, and blames the excessive civilian dying toll on Hamas as a result of it positions fighters, tunnels and different militant infrastructure in dense neighborhoods, usually close to properties, colleges or mosques.

The struggle has displaced some 85% of Gaza’s residents, with a whole lot of 1000’s packing U.N.-run shelters and camps within the south. U.N. officers say 1 / 4 of the inhabitants of two.3 million is ravenous as a trickle of humanitarian assist reaches them due to the preventing and Israeli restrictions.

“Bread doesn’t suffice for one hour,” mentioned Ahmad Al-Nashawi, who accepted donated meals at a tent camp within the southern metropolis of Rafah. “You’ll be able to see what number of kids we’ve aside from men and women. What issues most for a kid is to eat.”

Some prime Israeli officers have begun to acknowledge that Netanyahu’s targets of “full victory” over Hamas and returning the remaining hostages may be mutually unique.

A member of Israel’s Struggle Cupboard, former military chief Gadi Eisenkot, mentioned final week that the one approach to free the hostages was by a cease-fire. In an implicit criticism of Netanyahu, he mentioned claims on the contrary amounted to “illusions.”

Hamas is believed to be holding the captives in tunnels and utilizing them as shields for its prime leaders. Israel has rescued one hostage, and Hamas says a number of have been killed in Israeli airstrikes or throughout failed rescue operations.

Israel’s authorities faces rising stress from hostages’ households, who need an alternate just like the one which came about throughout a weeklong November cease-fire. Different Israelis are annoyed by the safety failures that preceded the Oct. 7 assault and by Netanyahu’s dealing with of the struggle.

However Netanyahu’s far-right coalition companions push him to step up the offensive, with some calling for the “voluntary” emigration of a whole lot of 1000’s of Palestinians from Gaza and the re-establishment of Jewish settlements there.

Close to the positioning of an Oct. 7 bloodbath throughout a music competition, households of Israeli victims planted bushes.

“What occurred after 109 days? Nothing. We’re simply nonetheless ready,” mentioned one father, Idan Bahat.

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Magdy reported from Cairo.

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Comply with AP’s protection of the Israel-Hamas struggle: https://apnews.com/hub/israel-hamas-war