Blinken in Israel for talks on truce deal

‘Children scared all the time’The war started with Hamas’s unprecedented attacks on Israel on October 7, which killed about 1,160 people, mostly civilians, according to an AFP tally based on official Israeli figures.Militants also seized around 250 hostages, with Israel saying 132 remain in Gaza.Vowing to eliminate Hamas, Israel has launched air strikes and a land offensive that have killed at least 27,585 people in Gaza, mostly women and children, according to the health ministry in the Hamas-run territory.The campaign has devastated swathes of Gaza, destroyed hospitals and displaced more than half of its population of 2.4 million, while food, water, fuel and medicine are in dire shortage.”The humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip is beyond catastrophic,” said Tommaso Della Longa, spokesman for the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.Israeli troops, with air and naval support, have been engaged in heavy combat centred on Gaza’s main southern city of Khan Yunis, the hometown of Hamas’s Gaza chief, Yahya Sinwar, accused by Israel of masterminding the October 7 attack.Around 8,000 displaced people had been evacuated from the besieged Al-Amal hospital in Khan Yunis, where they had sought refuge, after weeks of heavy shelling and fighting nearby, according to the Red Cross.Gaza’s health ministry said at least 100 people were killed overnight Tuesday to Wednesday.Israel has warned it could also push on into Rafah, the last place of refuge for many Palestinians fleeing the fighting.The army “will reach places where we have not yet fought… right up to the last Hamas bastion, which is Rafah”, Israeli Defence Minister Yoav Gallant said earlier this week.Safia Marouf, sheltering in Rafah with her family after being uprooted from their home further north, said she is afraid of what is to come.”The children are scared all the time, and if we want to leave Rafah, we don’t know where to go. What will be our destiny and that of our children?”

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