Israel expands Gaza offensive as mediators’ ceasefire bid continues


By Aljazera

US, Qatari, and Egyptian mediators plan to resume talks on a proposed ceasefire and captive release deal.

Urban combat and shelling rocked Gaza’s southern city of Rafah near the Egyptian border, as fighting also flared again in central areas, where the Israeli army said “troops have started targeted operational activity in the areas of Bureij and eastern Deir el-Balah, both above and below ground”.

medical source told on Wednesday that at least 75 people were killed by Israeli attacks on central Gaza over the past day. Sources also told Al Jazeera that the morgues in the central city of Deir el-Balah were full while the local Al-Aqsa Hospital was working at three times its capacity.

In a statement, the Israeli army said it struck “terror targets” in the area, killing “several” members of the Palestinian group Hamas.

Almost eight months into Israel’s war on Gaza, global outrage has spiralled over the soaring death toll – exceeding 36,500 – and the destruction in the besieged and bombarded territory, where United Nations data suggests more than half of all buildings are destroyed or damaged.

Three-phase plan
On May 31, US President Joe Biden outlined what he called a three-phase Israeli plan, proposing to halt the fighting for six weeks while Israeli captives held in Gaza are exchanged for Palestinian prisoners and aid is stepped up in the first phase.

Regional and international powers have backed the proposal, although sticking points remain – Hamas insists on a permanent ceasefire and full Israeli withdrawal, demands Israel has rejected.

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