Palestinians killed as Israel continues operation in central Gaza

GAZA: Gaza’s ruling Hamas movement announced on Friday that its six-month-old battle with Israel would break “the enemy soon” as Israeli forces fought Palestinian militants in the north and center of the Gaza Strip, Reuters reports.

Most Israeli troops have been pulled out of the Palestinian enclave in preparation for an assault on its southernmost city Rafah, where more than 1 million Palestinians are sheltering, but fighting has continued in various areas, the Reuters report added.

Meanwhile, Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry and U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken affirmed on Friday their rejection of any Israeli ground military operation in Rafah.

During a phone conversation, the two top diplomats discussed efforts to achieve a ceasefire and increase the flow of humanitarian aid into Gaza, the Egyptian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

Shoukry stressed the need to continue to pressure Israel to comply with its responsibilities as the occupying power, stop targeting defenseless civilians, and open the land border crossings between Israel and the strip to increase the flow of aid.

He also urged for removing obstacles to the entry of aid, in addition to allowing displaced Palestinians to return to their homes in northern Gaza.

The Egyptian minister also reaffirmed his country’s rejection of attempts to forcibly displace Palestinians outside their lands, saying these attempts, aimed at liquidating the Palestinian cause, constitute a grave violation of the provisions of international law.

During the past 24 hours, the Israeli army killed 89 Palestinians and wounded 120 others, bringing the total death toll to 33,634 and injuries to 76,214 since the outbreak of the Israel-Hamas conflict, the Ministry of Health in the Gaza Strip said in a statement.

Journalist Sami Shahadeh arrives for treatment at the al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital after he was wounded by Israeli bombardment, Deir el-Balah, April 12, 2024. /CFP

Journalist Sami Shahadeh arrives for treatment at the al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital after he was wounded by Israeli bombardment, Deir el-Balah, April 12, 2024. 

 

Health officials earlier reported that six people were killed in strikes on the cinder-block camp, which has housed Palestinian refugees since 1948, and around 70 others were injured, including three Palestinian journalists.

Reduce escalation in the region

Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi and U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken discussed on Friday efforts to reach a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip and deliver sufficient aid to the Palestinian enclave.

In a phone conversation, the two sides discussed regional developments and efforts to reduce escalation in the Middle East region, stressing the priority of removing all restrictions on the entry of sufficient and immediate aid into Gaza, according to a statement by the Jordanian Foreign Ministry.

Safadi emphasized the necessity of opening all crossings for the entry of aid, with the aim of alleviating the humanitarian catastrophe caused by the ongoing war and the obstacles hindering the delivery and distribution of aid in Gaza.

He stressed that Jordan is capable of sending plenty of aid trucks to Gaza on a daily basis, once the northern crossings are opened and the United Nations and its agencies are able to receive and distribute the aid.

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