You are here

Israeli bombing of Gaza kills 125 amid Cairo truce talks

Israeli rejection of two-state solution 'unacceptable' — UN chief

By AFP - Jan 24,2024 - Last updated at Jan 24,2024

Palestinians pray over bodies of relatives killed in Israeli bombardment in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on Wednesday, amid ongoing Israeli bombardment of the coastal enclave (AFP photo)

GAZA STRIP, Palestinian Territories — Heavy Israeli bombardment of Gaza overnight killed at least 125 people, the health ministry in the territory said Wednesday, against the backdrop of talks in Cairo aimed at reaching a truce.

As the fighting raged, the UN humanitarian agency OCHA said Israeli forces had issued fresh evacuation orders for a section of Khan Yunis housing an estimated half a million residents and displaced people.

The orders came as the World Food Programme warned Gazans were facing "catastrophic food insecurity", and as UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres took Israel to task over its rejection of a two-state solution, seen by ally the United States as the only path to a durable peace.

The heaviest fighting was taking place in Khan Yunis, the birthplace of Hamas’s Gaza chief Yahya Sinwar, accused of being the mastermind of the October 7 surprise attacks that sparked the war.

The Israeli military says it has “encircled” the southern city and that its troops were intensifying operations “in the area of the Khan Yunis [refugee] camp”.

Gaza hospitals had received the bodies of 125 people killed overnight, the health ministry said.

The Hamas government said more than 200 people were killed, without specifying a timeframe.

It accused the Israeli army of forcibly displacing “tens of thousands” of people from Khan Yunis to Rafah, the city in south Gaza that abuts the Egyptian frontier.

The Palestinian Red Crescent said three displaced people were killed and three wounded when Israeli forces targeted its headquarters in the southern city.

The World Food Programme warned conditions in the territory were worsening.

“More than half- a-million people in Gaza are facing catastrophic food insecurity levels and the risk of famine increases each day,” said the WFP’s senior Middle East spokeswoman, Abeer Etefa.

UN chief Guterres, meanwhile, decried Israeli officials’ repeated rejection of calls for the creation of a Palestinian state as “unacceptable”, saying it “would indefinitely prolong” the conflict.


‘Nothing to eat’ 


In Gaza City, people displaced by the war said they were stuck in a new conflict zone without provisions.

“They besieged us in the camp and brought us here, and even here, the shelling continued,” Umm Dahud Al Kafarna, originally from Beit Hanun, told AFPTV.

“They have besieged us for six days, leaving us with nothing to eat or drink while bombing us from the air, sea and tanks.”

US President Joe Biden’s Middle East envoy Brett McGurk is in the region for talks aimed at brokering a new deal to free the remaining captives in exchange for a pause in fighting.

“Certainly one of the things he’s in the region talking about is the potential for another hostage deal, which would require a humanitarian pause of some length,” National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said.

“The conversations are very sober and serious about trying to get another hostage deal.”

A Palestinian source familiar with the talks told AFP a Hamas delegation had arrived in Cairo on Tuesday to meet Egypt’s intelligence chief and discuss new ceasefire proposals.

A source close to Hamas told AFP that the talks in the Egyptian capital were continuing on Wednesday.

40 users have voted.


Get top stories and blog posts emailed to you each day.