Israeli Military Says Operations Killed Dozens Of Militants In Gaza


Israel’s military reported killing dozens of militants in the Gaza Strip on Monday, as U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken returned to the region to push for a new pause in fighting. 

The Israel Defense Forces said its operations during the past day included airstrikes and ground battles in Khan Younis in southern Gaza, as well as raids in northern and central Gaza.

The Hamas-controlled Gaza Health Ministry said at least 128 people, mostly women and children, were killed in Israeli strikes overnight into Monday.

The United Nations said intense fighting in the Khan Younis area is pushing civilians farther south toward Rafah, where more than half of Gaza’s population has already taken refuge, many in makeshift shelters. 

The United Nations estimates 75% of Gaza’s people have fled their homes, and it says Palestinians are facing “acute shortages of food, water, shelter and medicine.” 

A proposed temporary cease-fire could bring an increase in humanitarian aid for Gaza, along with the release of hostages held by Hamas militants. 

Hamas leaders have been considering the proposal for a week after it emerged from talks among Egyptian, Qatari and U.S. mediators. 

Blinken arrived in Saudi Arabia on Monday. His trip also includes stops this week in Egypt, Qatar, Israel and the Israeli-occupied West Bank.

Ahead of his trip, the top U.S. diplomat stressed the need for “urgently addressing humanitarian needs in Gaza,” after aid groups have repeatedly warned of the lack of food and medical supplies reaching the territory.

The State Department said in a statement that Blinken “will continue diplomatic efforts to reach an agreement that secures the release of all remaining hostages and includes a humanitarian pause that will allow for sustained, increased delivery of humanitarian assistance to civilians in Gaza.” 

Dubbed a “pressure cooker of despair” by the United Nations, Rafah is overflowing with Palestinian refugees, displaced due to Israel’s military operation against Hamas.

The diplomatic push for reaching agreement on a new cease-fire in Gaza has become more urgent with a surge of new attacks in the Middle East. Three U.S. service members were killed at an outpost in Jordan, and the U.S. responded with dozens of strikes in Iraq and Syria targeting Iranian-backed militants. The U.S. and Britain have jointly struck Houthi missile sites in Yemen.

The proposed Gaza truce would pause fighting for an initial six weeks as Hamas frees hostages in exchange for Palestinian prisoners held by Israel. Israel says 132 hostages remain in Gaza — including at least 28 believed to have died or been killed.

Hamas has said no agreement has yet been reached, while some Israeli officials have expressed opposition to any perceived concessions.

Israel vowed to destroy Hamas, which governs Gaza, after the militant group sent fighters rampaging into Israel on October 7, killing around 1,200 people, mostly civilians, according to Israeli tallies. Hamas, which has been designated a terrorist organization by the U.S., Britain, the European Union and others, also took about 240 people hostage, about 100 of whom were released in a weeklong cease-fire in late November. 

Israel’s air and ground military operations in Gaza have killed more than 27,300 Palestinians and injured 66,000 others, according to the Health Ministry. The ministry includes both civilians and militants in its count but says 70% of those killed were women and children.


The VOA is the Voice of America

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