Thursday, February 29, 2024

Israel rejects US push for a pause in fighting

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Warplanes struck a Gaza refugee camp killing at least 40 people

Deir Al-Balah (Gaza Strip), Nov 5: Israeli warplanes struck a refugee camp in the Gaza Strip early Sunday, killing at least 40 people and wounding dozens, health officials said.
The strike came as Israel said it would press on with its offensive to crush the territory’s Hamas rulers, despite US appeals for a pause to get aid to desperate civilians.
The soaring death toll in Gaza has sparked growing international anger, with tens of thousands from Washington to Berlin taking to the streets Saturday to demand an immediate cease-fire.
Israel has rejected the idea of halting its offensive, even for brief humanitarian pauses proposed by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken during his current tour of the region. Instead, it said that Hamas was “encountering the full force” of its troops.
“Anyone in Gaza City is risking their life,” Israel’s Minister of Defence Yoav Gallant said.
Large columns of smoke rose as Israel’s military said it had encircled Gaza City, the initial target of its offensive.
Gaza’s Health Ministry has said more than 9,400 Palestinians have been killed in the territory in nearly a month of war, and that number is likely to rise as the assault continues.
Airstrikes hit the Maghazi refugee camp in central Gaza overnight, killing at least 40 people and wounding 34 others, the Health Ministry said. It said first responders and residents were still digging through the rubble, hoping to find survivors.
An Associated Press reporter at a nearby hospital saw eight dead children, including a baby, who had been brought in after the strike.
A surviving child was led down the hospital corridor by an adult holding her hand, her clothes caked in dust, an expression of shock on her face.
Arafat Abu Mashaia, who lives in the camp, said the Israeli airstrike flattened several multi-story homes where people forced out of other parts of Gaza were sheltering.
“It was a true massacre,” he said early Sunday while standing on the wreckage of destroyed homes. “All here are peaceful people. I challenge anyone who says there were resistance (fighters) here.” There was no immediate comment from the Israeli military.
The camp, a built-up residential area, is located in the evacuation zone where Israel’s military had urged Palestinian civilians in Gaza to seek refuge as it focuses its military offensive on the north.
Despite such appeals, Israel has continued its bombardment across Gaza, saying it is targeting Hamas fighters and assets everywhere and accusing it of using civilians as human shields. Critics say Israel’s strikes are often disproportionate, considering the large number of women and children killed. (AP)

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