Israel is continuing to push on with its punishing air and ground offensive in southern Gaza, where hundreds of thousands of civilians have fled in search of shelter.
Aid groups have described the situation as “apocalyptic” and warned it is on the brink of being overwhelmed by disease and starvation.
Hamas said on Sunday that Israel had launched a series of “very violent raids” targeting the southern city of Khan Younis and the road from there to Rafah, near the border with Egypt.
At least 17,700 people, mostly women and children, have died in two months of fighting in the narrow strip of territory, according to the latest figures from Gaza’s Hamas-run health ministry.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel would continue its “just war”, while army chief Herzi Halevi said his forces needed to “press harder” in Gaza.
Displaced Palestinians shelter in Rafah
Qatar says efforts to renew Israel-Hamas truce ‘continuing’
Mediation efforts are continuing to secure a new Gaza ceasefire and free more hostages held by Hamas despite ongoing Israeli bombardment that is “narrowing the window” for a successful outcome, Qatar’s prime minister said Sunday.
“Our efforts as the state of Qatar along with our partners are continuing. We are not going to give up,” Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani told the Doha Forum.
He added that “the continuation of the bombardment is just narrowing this window for us.”
Qatar was a key mediator in negotiations that resulted in a seven-day truce, which saw scores of Israeli hostages exchanged for Palestinians prisoners and humanitarian aid, until it ended at the start of the month.
“We are going to continue, we are committed to have hostages released, but we are also committed to stop the war,” Qatar’s prime minister said.
However, he said, “we are not seeing the same willingness from both parties”.
UN chief says its credibility is ‘undermined’
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres Sunday said he regrets the Security Council’s failure to demand a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip, condemning the divisions that have “paralysed” the world body.
Addressing Qatar’s Doha Forum, Guterres said the council was “paralysed by geostrategic divisions” that were undermining solutions to the Israel-Hamas war which started on October 7.
The body’s “authority and credibility were severely undermined” by its delayed response to the conflict, he said two days after a US veto prevented a resolution calling for a Gaza ceasefire.
“I reiterated my appeal for a humanitarian ceasefire to be declared,” he told the forum.
“Regrettably, the Security Council failed to do it,” he added. “I can promise, I will not give up.”
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