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Israel-Hamas war updates: Airstrike kills 20 in central Gaza

DEIR AL-BALAH, Gaza Strip (AP) — An Israeli airstrike killed 27 people in central Gaza, most of them women and children, and fighting with Hamas raged in the north Sunday as Israeli leaders have expressed their divisions over who should govern Gaza. after the war, now in its eighth month.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu faces criticism from the other two members of his war cabinet, with his main political rival, Benny Gantz, threatens to leave government if a plan is not created by June 8, including an international administration for post-war Gaza.

US national security adviser Jake Sullivan was scheduled to meet with Netanyahu and other Israeli leaders on Sunday to discuss an ambitious American plan for Saudi Arabia to recognize Israel and help the Palestinian Authority govern Gaza in exchange for a path to eventual statehood.

Netanyahu opposes the creation of a Palestinian state and has rejected such proposals, saying Israel would maintain unrestricted security control over Gaza and partner with local Palestinians not affiliated with Hamas or the Palestinian Authority-backed Palestinian Authority. the West.

Gantz’s ultimatum expressed support for normalizing relations with Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries, but he also declared that “we will not allow any external power, friendly or hostile, to impose a Palestinian state on us.” “.

Gantz’s withdrawal would not bring down Netanyahu’s coalition government, but would make it more dependent on far-right allies who support “voluntary emigration” of Palestinians from Gaza, total military occupation and reconstruction of Jewish settlements .

Even as discussions about the future take on new weight, the war rages. In recent weeks, Hamas militants have regrouped in areas of northern Gaza that were heavily bombed at the start of the war and where Israeli ground troops were operating.

The airstrike on Nuseirat, a Palestinian refugee camp built in central Gaza dating from the 1948 Arab-Israeli Warkilled 27 people, including 10 women and seven children, according to records at Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital in nearby Deir al-Balah, which received the bodies.

Another strike on a street in Nuseirat killed five people, according to the Palestinian Red Crescent emergency services. In Deir al-Balah, a strike killed Zahed al-Houli, a senior Hamas-led police officer, and another man, according to the hospital.

Palestinians have reported more airstrikes and heavy fighting in northern Gaza, which has been largely isolated by Israeli troops for months and where, according to the World Food Program. a famine is underway.

Civil Defense said the strikes hit several houses near Kamal Adwan Hospital in Beit Lahiya, killing at least 10 people. Footage released by rescuers showed them trying to pull a woman’s body from the rubble as explosions echoed in the background.

In the nearby Jabaliya urban refugee camp, residents reported a heavy wave of artillery and airstrikes.

“The situation is very difficult,” said Abdel-Kareem Radwan, 48. He said the entire eastern part has become a combat zone where Israeli warplanes “hit everything that moves.”

Mahmoud Bassal, a Civil Defense spokesman, said rescuers had recovered at least 150 bodies, more than half of them women and children, since Israel launched the operation in Jabaliya last week. According to him, around 300 houses were completely destroyed.

Israel launched its offensive after the October 7 Hamas attack, in which militants swept into southern Israel, killing around 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and kidnapping some 250.

The war has killed at least 35,000 Palestinians, according to Gaza’s health ministry, which does not distinguish between combatants and civilians. Around 80% of the 2.3 million Palestinians have been internally displaced, often multiple times.

“We need a decent life to live,” said Reem Al-Bayed, who left Gaza City and took refuge with thousands in the coastal Muwasi camp in the south without facilities. basic like wells. “All countries lead a decent life except us.”

She helped herself to a quick bite of bread before tearing the rest into pieces for half a dozen children, then served them a can of beans.

Israel says it is trying to avoid harming civilians and blames the high death toll on Hamas, which it says operates in dense residential areas.

Netanyahu’s critics, including thousands of protesters who took to the streets on Saturday, accuse him of prolonging the war and rejecting a ceasefire deal that would free the hostages to avoid having to surrender account of the security failures that led to the attack.

Polls show that Gantz, a political centrist, would likely succeed Netanyahu if early elections are held. This would expose Netanyahu to prosecution over long-standing corruption allegations.

Netanyahu denies any political motivation and says the offensive must continue until Hamas is dismantled and the estimated 100 hostages are held in Gaza and the remains of more than 30 others are returned. He said there was no point in discussing post-war arrangements while Hamas continues to fight, because the militants have threatened anyone who cooperates with Israel.

Netanyahu is also facing pressure from Israel’s closest ally, the United States, which has provided crucial military aid and diplomatic cover for the offensive while expressing growing frustration with the conduct of the war by Israel and the humanitarian crisis.

President Joe Biden’s administration recently blocked a shipment of 3,500 bombs and said the United States would not provide offensive weapons for a full-scale invasion of the southern Gaza town of Rafah, citing fears of a humanitarian catastrophe.

But last week, after Israel launched what it called a limited operation in Rafah, the Biden administration told lawmakers it would proceed with the sale of 1 billion dollars worth of weaponsaccording to congressional aides.

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Magdy reported from Cairo and Krauss from Jerusalem.

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Follow AP’s coverage of the war at https://apnews.com/hub/israel-hamas-war

News Source : apnews.com
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