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Live updates | Israel’s military calls for more evacuations in southern Gaza as it widens offensive

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Israel‘s military called for more evacuations in southern Gaza as it widened its offensive aimed at eliminating the territory’s Hamas rulers. The war has already killed thousands of Palestinians and displaced over three-fourths of Gaza‘s 2.3 million residents, who are running out of safe places to go.

The Health Ministry in Hamas-run Gaza said the death toll in the territory since Oct. 7 has surpassed 15,500, with more than 41,000 wounded. The ministry does not differentiate between civilian and combatant deaths, but said 70% of the dead were women and children.

Israel says it targets Hamas operatives and blames civilian casualties on the militants, accusing them of operating in residential neighborhoods. It claims to have killed thousands of militants, without providing evidence. Israel says at least 81 of its soldiers have died.



Hopes for another temporary truce faded after Israel called its negotiators home over the weekend. Hamas said talks on releasing more of the scores of hostages seized by Palestinian militants on Oct. 7 must be tied to a permanent cease-fire.

The United States, along with Qatar and Egypt, which mediated the earlier cease-fire, say they are working on a longer truce.

Currently:

– 3 commercial ships hit by missiles in Houthi attack in Red Sea, US warship downs 3 drones

– Biden’s allies in Senate demand that Israel limit civilian deaths in Gaza as Congress debates U.S. aid

– Find more of AP’s coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/israel-hamas-war

Here’s what’s happening in the war:

JERUSALEM – The Israeli military says it has expanded its ground operation against the Hamas militant group to “every part” of the Gaza Strip.

The army resumed its offensive on Friday after a weeklong cease-fire expired. After focusing its ground operation on the northern part of Gaza in recent weeks, it began carrying out airstrikes in southern Gaza as well. The vast majority of Gaza’s population has fled to the south in search of safety.

Israeli military spokesperson Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari said late Sunday that ground troops were also pushing into the south.

“The Israeli army is continuing and expanding the ground operation against the Hamas presence in every part of the Gaza Strip,” he said.

LONDON – The British government said its military plans to fly unarmed surveillance drones over the Gaza Strip in search of hostages taken by Hamas.

The Ministry of Defense said the flights will not have a combat role and the only information passed on will be for the purpose of rescuing hostages still held since Hamas attacked Israel on Oct. 7.

The fate of the hostages, including British nationals, has been a key concern as a weeklong cease-fire ended Friday and Israel began a new round of bombardments. During the break in fighting, Hamas released 110 hostages but another 137 remain captive, Israel said.

“Having had around 100 hostages released, there are still many more who are being held captive by Hamas,” Health Secretary Victoria Atkins told Sky News on Sunday. “We want to do everything we can to help find those hostages and to secure their release.”

Atkins said unmanned drones will be used to conduct the surveillance.

ROME – An Italian naval ship, anchored off Egypt on Sunday, has received its first patient as part of the Italian government’s commitment to care for civilians needing medical assistance in the war between Israel and Hamas in Gaza.

The Italian defense ministry, in a post on social medium platform X, quoted Defense Minister Guido Crosetto as saying that a girl was the first person to receive treatment aboard the ship, Vulcano. No details were given about her medical condition.

The ship’s facilities include operating rooms.

VATICAN CITY – Pope Francis has called the end of the truce in the Israel-Hamas “painful.”

“That means death, destruction and misery,” the pontiff said on Sunday in remarks read for him by an aide because he has bronchitis.

The pope, noting that many hostages are still held in Gaza, said “Let’s think of them, of their families, who had seen a light, a hope of embracing again their loved ones.”

He also lamented the lack of basic necessities of life in Gaza. “I hope that all who are involved can reach as soon as possible a new accord for a cease-fire and find solutions that are different than weapons, trying to follow courageous paths of peace.”

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris said Israel in its war with Hamas “must do more to protect innocent civilians.”

The vice president noted in remarks to reporters at the United Nations climate conference that Israel is within its rights to defend itself after the brutal Oct. 7 attack by Hamas, yet the U.S. ally must do so in accordance with international law.

“As Israel defends itself, it matters how,” Harris said. “The United States is unequivocal: International humanitarian law must be respected. Too many innocent Palestinians have been killed. Frankly, the scale of civilian suffering and the images and videos coming from Gaza are devastating.”

Copyright © 2023 The Washington Times, LLC.

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