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Bodies trapped in rubble in Gaza City amid Israeli strikes

Gaza City residents were trapped in their homes and bodies were not collected from the streets under a new and intense Israeli assault on Thursday (11), even as Washington pressed for a peace deal in talks in Egypt and Qatar.

Hamas militants say a massive Israeli assault on Gaza City this week could destroy efforts to finally end the war as negotiations enter the final stretch.

Home to more than a quarter of Gaza’s pre-war residents, Gaza City was destroyed during the first weeks of fighting last year, but hundreds of thousands of Palestinians have since returned to their ruined homes. They have since been expelled again by the Israeli military.

Gaza’s Health Ministry said it had reports of people trapped and others dead inside their homes in the Tel Al Hawa and Sabra districts of Gaza City, and that rescue teams had been unable to reach them.

The Civil Emergency Service said it estimated at least 30 people were killed in the Tel Al-Hawa and Rimal areas and that it was unable to recover bodies from the streets there.

Despite the army’s instructions on Wednesday (10) to Gaza City residents that they could use two “safe routes” to head south, many residents refused to heed the order. Some posted a hashtag on social media: “We are not leaving.”

“We will die, but we will not leave for the south. We have endured hunger and bombs for nine months and are ready to die as martyrs here,” said Mohammad Ali, 30, reached by text message.

Ali, whose family has moved to the city several times, said he was short of food, water and medicine.

“The occupation is bombing Gaza City as if the war is starting again. We hope there will be a ceasefire soon, but if not, then it is God’s will.”

Fight in Rafah

Israel launched its assault on the Gaza Strip last year after Hamas-led militants breached the border fence into southern Israel, killing 1,200 people and capturing more than 250 hostages, according to Israeli records.

Since then, Israel’s assault has killed more than 38,000 people, according to medical authorities in Gaza.

The Hamas-run Gaza government media office said Israeli forces had withdrawn from the eastern Gaza suburb of Shejaia after more than two weeks of a new military invasion in which dozens of people were killed and residential neighborhoods were destroyed.

In the southern end of the Rafah enclave near the Egyptian border, where tanks have been operating in most of the city since May, residents said the army continued to blow up houses in the western and central areas amid fighting with Hamas and Islamic Jihad and other smaller factions.

Palestinian health officials said four people were killed, including a child, in an Israeli airstrike on Tel Al-Sultan, west of Rafah.

The Israeli military said on Thursday that around five rockets fired from the Rafah area were successfully intercepted.

The talks in Qatar and Egypt follow major concessions by Hamas last week, which agreed that a truce could begin and some hostages would be released without Israel first agreeing to end the war.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who faces opposition within his right-wing cabinet to any deal that would halt the war until Hamas is defeated, says a deal must allow Israel to resume fighting until it achieves all its goals.

Two Hamas officials contacted by Reuters had no immediate comment on the content of the ongoing talks.

“There will be a meeting today between Hamas and the mediators to see what responses they have received from the occupation,” a Palestinian official close to the mediation said, without giving further details.

Source: CNN Brasil

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