Conflicts & War

Renewed Israeli offensive kills dozens of Palestinians but Qatar holds hope for ceasefire

Rafah/Jerusalem/Cairo, Dec 1 (EFE).- Dozens of Palestinians were killed on Friday in a renewed Israeli military campaign in Gaza, even as Qatari diplomats affirmed that talks were ongoing for a new ceasefire agreement between Hamas and Israel.

As the fighting in the besieged strip resumed, the Palestinian Islamist group and Israel blamed each other for not taking adequate measures to renew the Nov. 24 truce that had been extended twice in the past week.

The Gaza health ministry, controlled by Hamas, accused the Israeli military of committing new massacres in the strip after the humanitarian truce ended, resulting in 32 deaths within hours of the fresh assault.

The Israeli military campaign in Gaza has killed over 15,000 people, mostly women and children, since the war began on Oct. 7, when thousands of Hamas fighters stormed into Israeli territory and massacred more than 1,200 and kidnapped 240.

The health ministry said the hospitals have not been able to recover from the devastation they suffered in the first phase of the war, during which the fighting lasted for seven weeks in a row.

The ministry said the seven-day truce “did not help the health system” to recuperate. “We need to guarantee the flow of medical supplies and fuel to all hospitals in the Gaza Strip.”

The Israeli Army targeted areas across the strip, from Gaza City and Jabalia in the north to Khan Yunis and Rafah in the south.

The Israeli military dropped leaflets in Khan Younis, ordering residents to “evacuate immediately” from the “fighting zone.”

“You have to evacuate immediately and head to the shelter in Rafah. Khan Younis city is a fighting zone,” the leaflet said in Arabic.

Live images of mushrooms of smoke and clouds of blinding dust returned to haunt the strip as hundreds of Palestinians desperately searched for their relatives under the rubble of destroyed residential structures. Many carried the wounded in their arms, seeking medical assistance.

Among those killed on Friday were two girls, the official Palestinian press agency, Wafa, reported.

Dozens were injured and taken to Al Ahli Baptist Hospital.

The United States, Israel’s main ally, had warned the Jewish state against resuming fighting unless it had a concrete plan to avoid civilian deaths and the mass displacement of Gazans.

Qatar, one of the key mediators between Israel and Hamas, deeply regretted the new attacks on Gaza but affirmed that negotiations continued on a fresh ceasefire agreement.

A foreign ministry press statement said that Doha and its negotiating partners, the US and Egypt, were “committed to continue with the efforts that led to the humanitarian truce.”

“Qatar expresses its deep regret at the resumption of the Israeli aggression against the Gaza Strip following the end of the humanitarian pause,” said the foreign ministry statement, affirming that they “will not hesitate to do everything necessary to return to calm.”

The earlier truce paved the way for the release of hostages in Hamas captivity in exchange for the freedom of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails.

In the seven days of the ceasefire, Hamas freed 105 captives, including 81 Israelis and 24 foreigners, while Israel released 240 Palestinian prisoners, all women and minors.

The Qatari foreign ministry called on the international community to “move quickly to stop the violence,” admitting that the “continued bombing of the Gaza Strip…complicates mediation efforts and exacerbates the humanitarian catastrophe in the strip.”

“Qatar reiterates its condemnation of all forms of targeting civilians, the practice of collective punishment, and attempts to forcibly displace citizens of the besieged Gaza Strip.”

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