Israeli strike kills Hamas official in Gaza

Published July 8, 2024
A Palestinian boy checks the damage in a house hit by Israeli bombardment in Zawayda in the central Gaza Strip, on Sunday.—AFP
A Palestinian boy checks the damage in a house hit by Israeli bombardment in Zawayda in the central Gaza Strip, on Sunday.—AFP

• Cairo to host negotiators from US, Tel Aviv
• Hamas says its latest proposals ‘welcomed’ by Washington
• 500,000 Gazans enduring ‘catastrophic’ hunger, UN agencies say

GAZA STRIP: A Hamas-appointed deputy minister of labour was among several people, including children, killed as deadly Israeli strikes continued unabated in the Palestinian enclave with diplomatic efforts underway to secure a ceasefire and prisoner release deal.

Ehab al-Ghussein was killed along with three other people in the attack, according to the Civil Emergency Service on Sunday.

Lebanon’s Hezbollah movement, an ally of Hamas, fired rocket salvoes at northern Israel, in the latest cross-border clashes that have sparked fears of a full-scale war.

In Israel, anti-government protesters demanding a prisoner release deal blocked roads in the commercial hub of Tel Aviv as they marked a nationwide “disruption day” from 6:29am, the time Hamas launched their attack on Oct 7, 2023.

Efforts towards a truce continued with US, Qatari and Egyptian mediators hoping to halt the Gaza conflict, which has caused mass civilian casualties and devastated swathes of the coastal territory.

Egypt’s state-linked Al-Qahera News said Cairo was “hosting Israeli and American delegations to discuss the outstanding points”, citing an unnamed high-level official source.

Mediators were in contact with Hamas amid “intensive Egyptian meetings this week with all parties”, said the news report late on Saturday, without elaborating.

Israel has said it would send a delegation to continue talks with Qatari mediators, though a government spokesman said on Friday there were still “gaps” with Hamas.

Senior Hamas official Osama Hamdan told AFP that US mediators “welcomed” the group’s latest proposals “and passed them on to the Israeli side”.

“Now the ball is in the Israeli court,” said Hamdan.

Hunger and ‘no fuel’

The fighting and bombardment in besieged Gaza raged on unabated, with medics and emergency services in the territory reporting yet more deaths in several strikes on Sunday.

The Palestinian Red Crescent said two children were among six dead when a central Gaza house was hit, and paramedics reported nine fatalities in two strikes on Gaza City.

An AFP correspondent said Israeli drones were firing in Gaza City’s Shujaiya district, which has been largely evacuated and rocked by intense battles for nearly two weeks.

The Israeli military

claimed that in Shujaiya, its troops killed several Palestinians. Israeli forces killed 30 Palestinian fighters in far-southern Rafah over the past day, the military added, also reporting clashes in nearby Khan Yunis.

The war has uprooted nearly all Gazans, left almost 500,000 people enduring “catastrophic” hunger and shuttered most hospitals, UN agencies say.

Dr Muhammad Salha, acting director of Al-Awda Hospital in Jabalia, said severe shortages amid Israel’s siege of Gaza left the facility with “no fuel”.

Israel and Hezbollah have exchanged almost daily cross-border fire since the Gaza war began.

Early on Sunday, air raid sirens sounded across northern Israel and the military reported that 20 rockets were fired, with some intercepted.

Published in Dawn, July 8th, 2024

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