Israel continues Gaza attacks, says resumed ceasefire talks leave ‘gaps’ | Gaza News

The Israeli delegation’s visit to Qatar comes after a new proposal by Hamas earlier this week raised fresh hopes of a ceasefire agreement amid ongoing fierce fighting across the Gaza Strip.

An Israeli team of negotiators led by intelligence chief David Barnea met with mediators in Doha on Friday, according to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office. Talks are due to resume next week, the office said, with a new team of negotiators due to be sent to Qatar.

The office added that there remains a “gap” between the two parties’ positions.

The latest development comes after Hamas announced on Wednesday that it had presented new “ideas” to mediators from Qatar, Egypt and Turkey on how to reach a ceasefire and prisoner exchange agreement to end the nine-month conflict.

At least 38,011 Palestinians have been killed in Israel’s Gaza war, which began after a Hamas-led attack in southern Israel on October 7 left at least 1,139 people dead, according to an NDMT tally based on Israeli statistics.

Details of Hamas’ latest proposal were not immediately available, but a U.S. official said Thursday that it included a major shift from the group’s previous positions. In a call with reporters, the official described the update as “breakthrough progress” but warned that obstacles remained.

Hamas spokesman Jihad Taha said Friday that the group’s latest proposal “received a positive response from the intermediaries,” but added that “Israel’s official position has not yet been made clear,” according to the Associated Press.

Both Israel and Hamas have stepped up pressure to reach an agreement, but talks over a UN-backed plan outlined by U.S. President Joe Biden in May have stalled in recent weeks.

A major issue for Hamas is whether Israel will resume fighting after releasing the dozens of Israeli prisoners still being held by the group, while Netanyahu has repeatedly said the war will not end until Hamas is “eradicated”, despite repeated US assertions that Israel supports the plan.

In a phone call with Biden on Thursday, Netanyahu reiterated that the war would only end if Israel “achieve all its objectives.”

Fighting continues in Gaza

Despite recent diplomatic maneuvers, fighting in the Gaza Strip continued to escalate on Friday, with Israeli forces focusing attacks on the southern cities of Khan Yunis and Rafah, as well as the northern Gaza Strip.

At least 10 bodies were taken to Nasser Hospital following the attacks on the two southern cities, a hospital source told NDMT correspondent Tarek Abu Azoum.

He also said “relentless” attacks were continuing in the Shujaiya neighborhood of Gaza City, with Israeli forces “destroying entire blocks.”

Meanwhile, Hamas’s militant wing, the Qassam Brigades, claimed responsibility for killing 10 Israeli soldiers in an ambush in Shujaya. The Israeli army did not immediately comment on the claim.

Tensions are rising along the Lebanon-Israel border as fighting between Hezbollah and Israeli forces intensifies, raising concerns about a wider escalation of tensions. Lebanese militant groups said they targeted several Israeli military positions near the border on Friday.

Hezbollah later issued a statement saying its leader Hassan Nasrallah met with a Hamas delegation and discussed “the latest developments in the negotiations” as well as the “security and political situation” in the Gaza Strip and the region.

The fighting in Gaza has forced about 90 percent of the Gaza population to flee their homes, forcing many to live in squalid conditions with little access to health care or other assistance, and about half a million people in the Gaza Strip face “catastrophic” hunger, according to the United Nations.

On Friday, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell and European Commissioner for Crisis Management Janez Lenarcic warned that Israel’s order this week to evacuate more than 250,000 Palestinians from eastern Khan Yunis would only worsen the humanitarian disaster.

“The decision to evacuate is sure to exacerbate overcrowding and create severe staffing shortages in the remaining hospitals, which are already overwhelmed, at a time when access to emergency medical care is crucial,” they said in a joint statement, adding that the forced evacuations were creating a “humanitarian crisis within a crisis.”

“A ceasefire is even more important now as it will allow for a surge of humanitarian aid to Gaza and the release of all hostages,” they said.

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