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Israel Hits Over 400 Targets In Gaza After Truce Ends, 240 Killed


Israel Hits Over 400 Targets In Gaza After Truce Ends, 240 Killed

Israel and Hamas have blamed each other for the breakdown of the truce

Palestinian Territories:

Israel brushed off international calls to renew an expired truce Saturday and pushed on with its devastating bombing campaign against Hamas in densely-inhabited Gaza.  

Smoke again clouded the sky over the north of the Palestinian territory, whose Hamas government said 240 people had been killed since a pause in hostilities expired early Friday and combat resumed.

According to the United Nations, an estimated 1.7 million people in Gaza — around 80 percent of the population — have been displaced by eight weeks of war.

Fadel Naim, chief doctor at the Al-Ahli Arab Hospital in Gaza City, told AFP that his morgue had received 30 bodies since the morning, including seven children. 

“The planes bombed our houses: three bombs, three houses destroyed,” Nemr al-Bel, 43, told AFP, adding that he had counted 10 dead in his family and “13 more still under the rubble”.

The population is short of food, water and other essentials, and many homes have been destroyed. UN agencies have declared a humanitarian catastrophe, although some aid trucks did arrive Saturday.

After the truce between Israel and Hamas expired on Friday, Israel had told NGOs not to bring aid convoys across the Rafah border crossing from Egypt, the Palestine Red Crescent Society had said. 

But on Saturday, in a social media post, the charity said its Egyptian colleagues had managed to send over a number of trucks.

Both sides blamed each other for the breakdown of the truce, which had enabled the release of 80 Israeli hostages in exchange for 240 Palestinian prisoners.

During an unprecedented attack on October 7, Hamas fighters broke through Gaza’s militarised border into Israel, killed about 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and took around 240 Israelis and foreigners hostage, according to Israeli authorities.

Israel vowed to eliminate Hamas in response and unleashed an air and ground campaign that has killed more than 15,000 people, also mostly civilians, the Hamas authorities who run Gaza say.

Since the end of the pause, Israel’s air, naval and ground forces have attacked more than 400 targets in Gaza, the army said on Saturday. The figure is roughly in line with the daily average number of strikes prior to the pause, according to military figures released previously.

Warplanes hit “more than 50 targets in an extensive attack in the Khan Yunis area” of Gaza’s south, the military added.

Separately, members of an Israeli armoured brigade “eliminated terrorist squads and directed fire against terrorist targets in the north of the Gaza Strip”, the military said.

Since the truce expired, Hamas has fired rockets from Gaza towards Israel.

International leaders and humanitarian groups condemned the return to fighting.

“I deeply regret that military operations have started again in Gaza,” UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said on X, formerly Twitter.

“Today, in a matter of hours, scores were reportedly killed and injured,” UN humanitarian chief Martin Griffiths said. “Families were told to evacuate, again. Hopes were dashed.”

Fighting also resumed on Israel’s northern border.

The Lebanese group Hezbollah, which like Hamas is backed by Iran, said two of its members were killed Friday in Israeli strikes on Lebanon, as its fighters resumed attacks against Israeli targets following the end of the truce.

Israel’s military said its artillery struck the sources of “launches” from Lebanon.

Syria said Israel carried out air strikes near Damascus on Saturday. A British-based war monitor said the strikes on “Hezbollah sites” killed two Syrian pro-Hezbollah fighters.

Hamas in October last year said it had restored relations with Syria’s government. Israeli attacks on targets in Syria have intensified since the Israel-Hamas war began.

Despite the resumption of deadly fighting, efforts to reach another truce went on.

“We’re going to continue to work with Israel and Egypt and Qatar on efforts to reimplement the pause,” United States Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin said on Friday.

The week of hostage-prisoner exchanges yielded tearful reunions of Israeli families with their released relatives and jubilation in the streets of the Israeli-occupied West Bank as Palestinians walked free from Israeli jails.

Twenty-five other hostages, mostly Thais, were also freed in separate arrangements.

The Israeli army said Friday that five more captives had died, bringing the total number to seven, and 136 were still being held, including 17 women and children.

The end of the pause meant bitter disappointment for the families of those still not freed.

“We saw a chance for people to come out, be reunited with their families and resume their old lives,” said Ilan Zharia, the uncle of Eden Yerushalmi, 20, one of the women still not freed.

Romania said it had been told by Israel that a Romanian-Israel hostage had died in Gaza.

In Khan Yunis on Saturday, the morgue at Nasser hospital was full again, and among the dead was Jumana Said’s son Mohammad, 19. Said grieved along with her daughter, Joan.

“Why was my brother, who had nothing to do with militant groups, killed?” Joan cried. “What did we do? They want Hamas? What does that have to do with us?”

Thousands of children had been killed in Gaza before the truce.

The Israeli military published a map of “evacuation zones” in Gaza that it said would enable residents to move “from specific places for their safety if required”.

Residents in various areas of Gaza were sent SMS messages on Friday warning that “a crushing military attack on your area” was coming, with the aim of eliminating Hamas.

But the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) questioned the usefulness of the map, which it said does not specify where people should go.

“It is unclear how those residing in Gaza would access the map without electricity and amid recurrent telecommunications cuts,” OCHA added.

Among those killed on Friday were three journalists, Gaza’s Hamas rulers said.

Turkey’s Anadolu state news agency confirmed the death of cameraman Muntassir al-Sawwaf and two others whom it did not name.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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