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Israel expands attacks on Gaza amid deadlock in ceasefire negotiations

With no sign of progress in mediators’ efforts to broker a ceasefire in the Gaza war, Israeli tanks and warplanes attacked areas in the center and south of the enclave during the early hours of this Friday (7), killing at least 23 Palestinians, local medical authorities said.

Mediators from Qatar and Egypt, supported by the United States, are trying to reach an agreement that will stop hostilities, guarantee the release of Israeli hostages and Palestinian prisoners in Israel and also ensure that humanitarian aid arrives in Gaza, alleviating the serious crisis affecting civilians. Sources close to the negotiations, however, said there are still no signs of progress.

Residents said Israeli tanks advanced further west into the southern city of Rafah, skirting the border with Egypt amid intense gunfire between Israeli troops and Palestinian militants led by Hamas.

Palestinian health officials said two Palestinians were killed and several were injured in western Rafah due to tank shelling. In central Gaza, Palestinian doctors said at least 15 people died overnight in Israeli strikes.

Residents said armored forces that took control along the Rafah border carried out several attacks in the center and west of the city, injuring several civilians who were trapped inside their homes and taken by surprise.

Some residents said tanks recently went to Al-Izba, an area in the far southwest of Rafah, near the Mediterranean coast.

“I think the occupation forces are trying to reach the Rafah coast. The attacks and shelling overnight were tactical, they came in with heavy artillery and then retreated,” a Palestinian resident told Reuters via a chat app.

“It was one of the worst nights, some people were injured inside their homes until they were evacuated this morning.”

This Friday (7), an Israeli airstrike on a house in the city of Khan Younis, in the south of the country, north of Rafah, killed six people and injured several, including children, doctors said.

Israeli forces also operated inside the Al-Bureij camp in the center of the Gaza Strip, while subjecting al-Maghazi and al-Nuseirat and the adjacent city of Deir al-Balah to heavy aerial and tank bombardment, medics reported. Palestinians.

The armed wings of Hamas, Islamic Jihad and smaller militant groups said their fighters carried out attacks against Israeli forces in several central and southern areas.

In its latest update, the Israeli military said it had killed “dozens” of militants, located more tunnels and destroyed more militant infrastructure in ongoing operations in al-Bureij and Deir al-Balah in central Gaza.

Israel has ruled out the possibility of peace until Hamas is eradicated, and much of Gaza is in ruins, but Hamas has proven resilient, with militants returning to areas where Israeli forces had previously declared victory.

On Thursday (6), Israel hit a school in Gaza with what it said was an airstrike targeting 30 Hamas and Islamic Jihad fighters. A Hamas official said 40 people were killed, including women and children sheltering at UN facilities.

The Israeli military said it had identified nine of the 30 militants targeted in the attack. The UN Palestinian refugee agency (UNRWA) said his school was being used as a shelter for 6,000 displaced people.

“It’s just another horrible example of the price that civilians are paying, that Palestinian men, women and children who are just trying to survive, being forced to roam in a kind of circle of death around Gaza, trying to find safety, are paying,” said UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric.

The war began after Hamas invaded the border with southern Israel on October 7, killing around 1,200 people and taking more than 250 hostages, according to Israeli records. About half of the hostages were released in a truce in November.

Israel’s invasion and bombardment of Gaza has since killed more than 36,000 people, according to health officials in the coastal enclave, who say thousands of dead lie beneath the rubble. Most of the 2.3 million inhabitants were displaced.

Since a brief week-long truce in November, repeated attempts to achieve a ceasefire have failed, with Hamas insisting on its demand for a permanent end to the conflict and Israel’s full withdrawal from Gaza.

Israel says it is prepared to discuss only temporary pauses in fighting until the militant group is destroyed and Gaza no longer poses a security threat.

“We have shown all the flexibility necessary to reach an agreement, but the Israeli occupation continues to refuse any commitment to end the aggression and withdraw its forces from the Gaza Strip,” a Hamas official told Reuters.

“The occupation and the Americans are to blame for the lack of an agreement so far, because they do not want this war against our people to end,” he said.

Source: CNN Brasil

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