Israeli strikes in central Gaza kill at the very least 35 as Netanyahu says conflict will proceed for months

DEIR AL-BALAH, Gaza Strip — Israeli strikes in central Gaza killed at the very least 35 folks Sunday, hospital officers mentioned, as preventing raged throughout the tiny enclave a day after Israel‘s prime minister said the war will continue for “many more months,” resisting international calls for a cease-fire.

The military said Israeli forces were operating in Gaza’s second-largest metropolis, Khan Younis, and residents reported strikes within the central area, the most recent focus of the almost three-month air and floor conflict that has now engulfed many of the territory.

The conflict has raised fears of a broader regional conflagration. The U.S. navy mentioned Sunday that its forces shot and killed a number of Iran-backed Houthi rebels after they tried to assault a cargo ship within the Red Sea, an escalation in a maritime battle linked to the conflict in Gaza.

Israel says it desires to destroy Hamas’ governing and navy capabilities in Gaza, from the place it launched its Oct. 7 assault on southern Israel. The militants killed some 1,200 folks and took 240 others hostage after breaking by means of Israel‘s extensive border defenses, shattering its sense of security.

Israel‘s unprecedented air and ground offensive has killed more than 21,800 Palestinians and wounded more than 55,000 others, according to the Health Ministry in Hamas-ruled Gaza. The war has sparked a humanitarian crisis, with a quarter of Gaza residents facing starvation, according to the United Nations. Israel’s bombardments have levelled huge swaths of the territory, making components uninhabitable and displacing some 85% of Gaza’s 2.3 million residents.

Israel expanded its offensive to central Gaza this week, focusing on a belt of dense, built-up communities that home refugees from the conflict surrounding Israel’s creation in 1948 and their descendants. The preventing has pushed a lot of the inhabitants south, the place folks have flooded shelters and tent camps close to the border with Egypt, whilst Israel has additionally struck these areas.

PHOTOS: Israeli strikes in central Gaza kill at the very least 35 as Netanyahu says conflict will proceed for months

In the world of Zweida in central Gaza, an Israeli airstrike killed at the very least 13 folks and wounded dozens of others, in keeping with witnesses. The our bodies had been draped in white plastic and specified by entrance of a hospital, the place prayers had been held earlier than burial.

“They were innocent people,” mentioned Hussein Siam, whose family members had been among the many lifeless. “Israeli warplanes bombarded the whole family.”

Officials from Al-Aqsa Hospital in central Deir al-Balah mentioned the 13 had been amongst 35 our bodies acquired on Sunday.

The Israeli navy mentioned it was battling militants in Khan Younis, the place Israel believes Hamas leaders are hiding. It additionally mentioned its forces working within the city Shati refugee camp, in northern Gaza, discovered a bomb in a kindergarten and defused it. Hamas continued to launch rockets towards southern Israel.

Israel has confronted stiff resistance from Hamas because it started its floor offensive in late October, and the navy says 172 troopers have been killed throughout that point.

The magnitude of the destruction in Gaza coupled with the conflict’s size has raised questions on whether or not Israel can achieve its purpose of dismantling Hamas and what would come after.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has mentioned Israel should preserve open-ended safety management over the Gaza Strip. At a information convention Saturday, he mentioned the conflict would proceed for “many more months” and that Israel would assume management of the Gaza facet of the border with Egypt.

“(It) must be in our hands, it must be sealed. It’s clear that any other agreement will not guarantee the demilitarization that we need and require,” Netanyahu mentioned. Israel says Hamas has smuggled weapons from Egypt, however Egypt is more likely to oppose any Israeli navy presence there.

Netanyahu has additionally mentioned he received’t permit the internationally-backed Palestinian Authority, which administers some components of the West Bank, to take part in any future rule over Gaza, placing him at odds with President Joe Biden’s administration, which has supplied essential navy assist for the offensive.

The U.S. desires a unified Palestinian authorities to run each Gaza and components of the Israeli-occupied West Bank as a precursor to eventual statehood. The final Israeli-Palestinian peace talks broke down over a decade in the past, and Israeli authorities since then have been staunchly against Palestinian statehood.

Israeli media have reported that Netanyahu has repeatedly dodged holding conferences along with his War Cabinet concerning the post-war potentialities.

Israelis, who nonetheless largely stand behind the conflict’s targets, are displaying indicators they’re shedding persistence.

On Saturday evening, 1000’s took half in one of many largest demonstrations towards Netanyahu because the conflict started. The nation, which is sharply divided over the long-serving chief and a judicial overhaul plan he set in movement earlier than the conflict, has remained largely united since Oct. 7.

“It is true that the state of Israel has many enemies and threats, but unfortunately today Prime Minister Netanyahu and his continued rule is the most significant existential threat to our country and our society,” mentioned protester Gal Tzur.

A separate protest Saturday known as for the discharge of the estimated 129 remaining hostages held by Hamas. Families of hostages and their supporters have demanded that the federal government prioritize hostage releases over different conflict targets, and have staged massive protests each weekend.

Egypt, one of many mediators between Israel and Hamas, has proposed a multistage plan that may kick off with a swap of hostages for prisoners, accompanied by a brief cease-fire. The same deal in November noticed Hamas free over 100 hostages and Israel launch 240 Palestinian prisoners.

But the perimeters nonetheless seem removed from putting a brand new deal. Both Hamas and the smaller Islamic Jihad militant group say no extra hostages can be freed till Israel ends the offensive and withdraws from Gaza.


Mroue reported from Beirut and Goldenberg from Tel Aviv, Israel. Associated Press author Melanie Lidman in Jerusalem contributed to this report.

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