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Israel intensifies Gaza offensive while ceasefire negotiations proceed

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In recent news, heavy Israeli air raids have killed dozens in central Gaza as US, Qatari, and Egyptian mediators plan to resume talks on a proposed ceasefire and captive release deal. The Israeli army has engaged in urban combat and shelling in Gaza’s southern city of Rafah and other central areas, leading to a high death toll of at least 75 people in the past day. The morgues in Deir el-Balah are full, and hospitals are overwhelmed with a three-fold increase in capacity due to the ongoing attacks.

Global outrage has escalated over the soaring death toll and destruction in Gaza, with more than half of all buildings reported to be destroyed or damaged. President Joe Biden outlined a three-phase plan to halt the fighting, exchange Israeli captives held in Gaza for Palestinian prisoners, and increase humanitarian aid in the region. Despite international backing, key issues remain unresolved as Hamas demands a permanent ceasefire and full Israeli withdrawal, which Israel rejects.

Biden has called on Hamas to accept the proposed deal and sent CIA chief Bill Burns to Qatar for mediation efforts. The hope is to reach an agreement on a ceasefire in Gaza and the release of hostages. Brett McGurk, Biden’s top Middle East adviser, is also heading to Qatar to assist in the negotiations. Egypt is also involved in discussions, hosting meetings with Qatar and the US to restore truce talks.

Qatar has expressed cautious optimism about the ongoing negotiations, stating that they are working with both sides on the proposals on the table. Meanwhile, a senior Hamas official in Beirut has accused Israel of prolonging ceasefire negotiations and reiterated the group’s stance on rejecting any deal that does not include a permanent ceasefire agreement. The situation remains complex, with divisions within Israel’s leadership evident regarding the direction to take.

The ongoing attacks on Gaza have resulted in a high number of casualties and significant damage to buildings in the region. Israel’s assault on Gaza began after a Hamas-led attack in southern Israel that claimed numerous lives. The international community continues to push for a ceasefire and resolution to the conflict, with mediators working towards finding a sustainable solution that addresses the needs and demands of both parties involved. The situation remains tense, with efforts ongoing to bring about an end to the violence and suffering in Gaza.

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