The Guardian

Blinken scheduled to arrive in Israel for tough negotiations in Gaza


Top US diplomat Antony Blinken was scheduled to visit Israel on Monday for difficult talks on the Gaza war, amid growing concerns that the conflict could become more widespread.

Speaking in Qatar on Sunday, Mr Blinken said Palestinians displaced by the four-month civil war should be allowed to “return”, but said violence could “easily metastasize” into regional conflicts. he warned.

Since the start of the Israeli-Hamas war, violence has escalated in the occupied West Bank and Israel's northern border with Lebanon, while Yemen's Houthi rebels have fired more than 100 rounds at Red Sea and Israeli targets. They carry out attacks using drones and missiles.

The US Secretary of State, on his fourth trip to the region since the start of the war, visited the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia on Monday before arriving in Israel where he was scheduled to meet with Israeli leaders on Tuesday.

The United States is Israel's main ally and provides billions of dollars in military aid to the country, but has become increasingly concerned about the rising number of civilian deaths from the conflict.

The US government said Mr Blinken would press Israel to comply with international humanitarian law and call for “immediate steps” to increase aid to Gaza.

The Hamas-run Health Ministry said on Monday that eight people were killed in an Israeli attack near Deir al-Balah in central Gaza.

The war in Gaza began with Hamas' unprecedented attack on Israel on October 7, which killed about 1,140 people, most of them civilians, according to an AFP tally based on official Israeli statistics.

Israel says the militants, considered a “terrorist” group by the United States and the European Union, have taken about 250 people hostage, 132 of whom remain in captivity. At least 24 of them are believed to have been killed.

Israel responded with relentless shelling and a ground invasion, killing at least 22,835 people, most of them women and children, according to the Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry.

At least 85% of Gaza's 2.4 million people have been displaced by the fighting, according to UN figures.

“When you wake up, you think this is a nightmare that will pass, but this is reality,” said Nabil Fatih, 51, a resident of Gaza.

“Our home and my son's home were destroyed and 20 people in our family were martyred. Even if we survive, we don't know where we will go.”

– Murder of a journalist –
Two journalists working for the Qatar-based Al Jazeera network were killed in a car crash in Rafah, a city in southern Gaza near the border with Egypt, on Sunday, the broadcaster said.

Their names are Mustafa Souria, a video stringer who also worked for AFP news agency and other media organizations, and Hamza, the son of Al Jazeera's Gaza bureau chief who previously lost his wife and two other children in Israeli attacks.・It was Mr. Wael Dadou.

Witnesses told AFP that two rockets were fired at the car, one hitting the front of the car and the other hitting Hamza, who was sitting next to the driver. Ta.

“We attacked a terrorist who was operating an aircraft that posed a threat to IDF forces,” the Israeli military told AFP. “During the attack, two other suspects who were also passengers in the same vehicle were killed. I am aware of the reports,” he added. Terrorists were also attacked. ”

In Qatar, Mr Blinken condemned the deaths as an “unimaginable tragedy”.

The Committee to Protect Journalists has announced that at least 79 journalists and media professionals, the majority of them Palestinians, have been killed since the start of the war.

International aid groups say an Israeli attack on one of the last functioning hospitals in the Gaza Strip has forced evacuations.

The World Health Organization said on Sunday that it had evacuated more than 600 patients from Al-Aqsa Hospital in central Gaza following “alarming reports of escalating hostilities.”

A day earlier, Doctors Without Borders said it had evacuated staff from the hospital after a bullet penetrated the wall of the intensive care unit.

– “Total victory” –
The Israeli military, which claims to have “dismantled” Hamas' military leadership in northern Gaza, has reported killing more “terrorists” in central Gaza, including in a drone attack on the Braei refugee camp.

A military statement said the military had discovered an underground “weapons manufacturing site” run by Hamas in the besieged northern Gaza Strip.

“What happened on October 7th will never happen again,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed at a Cabinet meeting on Sunday.

“This is my government's resolve and this is why our soldiers on the ground are giving their lives. We must continue until complete victory.”

―“Unnecessary war”―
In the West Bank, occupied by Israel since 1967, deadly violence has surged to levels not seen in nearly two decades.

The Ramallah-based Palestinian Health Ministry said Sunday's Israeli airstrike killed seven Palestinians in the northern city of Jenin, and also reported an eighth death from Israeli fire in a separate incident.

An Israeli border police officer was killed during the attack on Jenin when his car was hit by a roadside bomb, and an Israeli civilian was killed in a separate shooting near Ramallah, Israeli officials said.

Later, Israeli police announced that an officer responding to a car-ramming attack at a West Bank checkpoint had shot and killed a Palestinian girl, and that medical workers had confirmed the 3-year-old's death. .

Violence continues along Israel's northern border, with Hezbollah firing 62 rockets at Israeli military bases on Saturday, days after accusing Israel of an attack in Beirut that killed Hamas deputy leader Saleh al-Arli. announced.

The Israeli military announced in response that it had attacked Hezbollah's “military positions,” and military spokesman Daniel Hagari warned Hamas' allies against “drawing Lebanon into an unnecessary war.”

Source: guardian.ng

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