The Citizen (KZN)

More strikes as Israel mulls talks



At least 61 Palestinia­ns were killed in overnight Israeli bombardmen­t, the health ministry in Hamas-run Gaza said yesterday, as Israel was preparing to send negotiator­s to new truce talks in Qatar.

Israel’s security cabinet and the smaller war cabinet were to meet to “decide on the mandate of the delegation in charge of the negotiatio­ns before its departure for Doha,” the prime minister’s office said.

Its statement did not specify when the delegation would leave for the latest round of talks which comes after Hamas submitted a new proposal for a pause in fighting and hostage release.

More than five months of war and an Israeli siege have led to dire humanitari­an conditions in the Gaza Strip, where the United Nations has repeatedly warned of looming famine for the coastal territory’s 2.4 million people.

As the flow of aid trucks into Gaza has slowed, a second ship was due to depart from Cyprus along a new maritime corridor to bring food and relief goods, Cypriot officials said.

On Saturday, the US charity World Central Kitchen said its team had finished unloading supplies from a barge towed by Spanish aid vessel Open Arms which had pioneered the sea route.

The United Nations has reported particular difficulty in accessing north Gaza, where residents say they have resorted to eating animal fodder, and where some have stormed the few aid trucks that have made it through.

Shelling and clashes were reported in south Gaza’s main city of Khan Yunis and elsewhere.

The territory’s health ministry said 12 members of the same family, whose house in Deir al-Balah was hit, were among those killed overnight.

Most Gazans displaced by the fighting have sought refuge in Rafah on the Egyptian border, where Israel has threatened to launch a ground offensive, without giving a timeline.

The head of the UN’s World Health Organisati­on, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesu­s, appealed to Israel “in the name of humanity” not to launch an assault on Rafah.

An evacuation planned by the Israeli army ahead of launching its assault was not a practical solution, Tedros argued, noting that Palestinia­ns there do not “have anywhere safe to move to”.

“This humanitari­an catastroph­e must not be allowed to worsen,” he said on X.

With the situation on the ground increasing­ly dire, aid donors have turned to deliveries by air or sea. Multiple government­s have begun daily airdrops of food over Gaza, while the new maritime corridor is to be complement­ed by a temporary pier. –

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