Israel strikes southern Gaza as Blinken heads to Egypt for talks

Overnight, Israel launched bombardments on the southern Gaza Strip while US Secretary of State Antony Blinken got ready to head to Egypt on Thursday in order to continue discussions on reining in Israel’s conflict with Hamas.

A day after meeting with Mahmud Abbas, the chairman of the Palestinian Authority, the diplomat was scheduled to see Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in Cairo. Blinken stated that Abbas “committed” to modernizing the organization in order to potentially bring Gaza and the occupied West Bank back under its control following the conflict.

His fourth journey to the Middle East was intended to stop the violence from spreading, and it happened at the same time as a UN Security Council resolution on Wednesday that called for an “immediate” end to strikes in the Red Sea by Houthi rebels from Yemen who were acting in support of Hamas.

It also comes as Israel was set to face accusations brought by South Africa at the UN’s top court on Thursday that it has committed “genocidal” acts in Gaza, charges both Israel and Blinken have dismissed as baseless.

Hamas’s press office said early Thursday that 62 people had been killed in strikes overnight, including around Gaza’s main southern city of Khan Yunis.

Israeli army spokesman Daniel Hagari said in his evening briefing the night before that forces were continuing “to act decisively above and below ground” in the area.

Earlier in the day, the army said that troops east of the city had found “tunnel shafts, tunnel routes, and numerous weapons and materials”, and killed “dozens of terrorists”.

The Palestinian Red Crescent Society said an Israeli strike on an ambulance in central Gaza killed four medics and two other passengers on Wednesday.

The Israeli military did not immediately comment on the incident when contacted by AFP.

In Deir al-Balah, also in central Gaza, people wounded in a strike at a nearby school were brought to the Al-Aqsa hospital.

“There are injured people at the school since last night, no cars or ambulances are reaching it — nothing,” Ramadan Darwit told AFP at the hospital.

During a visit with troops in central Gaza, Israeli army chief Herzi Halevi called it a “complex battlefield”.

“The fighting is… below ground, it’s above ground, and (against) an enemy that prepared its defences over a very long period of time in a very organised way. There is a population here, many houses — a very, very complex battlefield,” he said.


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Sydney Okafor

I am so passionate about this my profession as a broadcast journalist and voiceover artists and presently a reporter at TV360 Nigeria

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