At least 13 Palestinians killed in Israeli strikes on Rafah, medical officials say

At least 13 Palestinians killed in Israeli strikes on Rafah, medical officials say
At least 13 Palestinians killed in Israeli strikes on Rafah, medical officials say

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Nevin Al Sukari - Sana'a - A Palestinian kid inspects the site of an Israeli strike on a house, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, in Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip, April 25, 2024. — Reuters pic

CAIRO, April 29 — Israeli air strikes on three houses in the southern Gaza city of Rafah killed 13 people and wounded many others, medics said today.

Hamas media outlets put the death toll at 15.

In Gaza City, in the north of the strip, Israeli planes struck two houses, killing and wounding several people, health officials said.

The strikes on Rafah, where over a million people are sheltering from months of Israeli bombardment, came hours before Egypt was expected to host leaders of the Islamist group Hamas to discuss prospects for a ceasefire agreement with Israel.

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The war was triggered by an attack by Hamas militants on Israel on Oct. 7, killing 1,200 and taking 253 hostages, according to Israeli tallies.

Israel has vowed to eradicate Hamas, which controls Gaza, in a military operation that has killed more than 34,000 Palestinians, 66 of them in the past 24 hours, according to Gaza’s health authorities. The war has displaced most of the 2.3 million population and laid much of the enclave to waste.

Yesterday, Hamas officials said a delegation, led by Khalil Al-Hayya, the group’s deputy Gaza chief, would discuss a ceasefire proposal handed by Hamas to mediators from Qatar and Egypt, as well as Israel’s response. Mediators, backed by the United States, have stepped up their efforts to conclude a deal as Israel threatened to invade Rafah.

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Two Hamas officials who spoke to Reuters did not disclose details of the latest proposals, but a source briefed on the talks told Reuters Hamas is expected to respond to Israel’s latest truce proposal delivered on Saturday.

The source said this included an agreement to accept the release of fewer than 40 hostages in exchange for releasing Palestinians held in Israeli jails and to a second phase of a truce that includes a “period of sustained calm” — Israel’s compromise response to a Hamas demand for a permanent ceasefire.

After the first phase, Israel would allow free movement between south and north Gaza and a partial withdrawal of Israeli troops from Gaza, the source said.

A senior Hamas official told Reuters the Monday talks in Cairo will take place between the Hamas delegation and the Qatari and the Egyptian mediators to discuss remarks the group has made over the Israeli response to its recent proposal.

“Hamas has some questions and inquires over the Israeli response to its proposal, which the movement received from mediators on Friday,” the official told Reuters.

Those comments suggested Hamas may not hand an instant response to mediators over Israel’s latest proposal. — Reuters

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