Fighting rages across Gaza amid revival of truce talks


Israeli strikes killed 77 Palestinians in Gaza in the past 24 hours, health authorities said on Sunday, as Egypt hosted an Israeli delegation for a new round of talks in a bid to secure a truce with Gaza's Hamas rulers.

The Israeli military said it killed a senior member of Islamic Jihad in a strike on a command centre in the courtyard of the Al-Aqsa Hospital in central Gaza.

The military said the Al-Aqsa Hospital building was not damaged and its functioning was not affected.

There was no immediate comment from Islamic Jihad..

Palestinian health officials and Hamas media said the strike hit several tents inside the Al-Aqsa Hospital, killing four people and wounding several, including five journalists.

In the southern Gaza Strip city of Khan Younis, Israeli forces continued to blockade the two main hospitals, and tanks shelled areas in the middle and eastern areas of the territory.

Palestinian health officials said an Israeli air strike killed nine people in Bani Suhaila near Khan Younis, while another air strike killed four people in Al-Maghazi camp in the central Gaza Strip.

In Gaza City, Israeli forces continued to operate inside Al Shifa Hospital, the territory's biggest, the health ministry said. Residents living nearby said residential districts had been destroyed by Israeli forces near Al Shifa.

Meanwhile, An Israeli official told Reuters that Israel will send a delegation to Cairo. A Hamas official however told Reuters the group would wait to hear from Cairo mediators on the outcome of their talks with Israel first.

The warring sides have stepped up negotiations, mediated by Qatar and Egypt, on a six-week suspension of Israel's offensive in return for the proposed release of 40 of the 130 hostages still held by Hamas in Gaza.

Hamas has sought to include any deal into an end to the fighting and withdrawal of Israeli forces. Israel has ruled this out, saying it would eventually resume efforts to dismantle the governance and military capabilities of Hamas.

Hamas also wants hundreds of thousands of Palestinians who fled Gaza City and surrounding areas southward during the first stage of the war to be allowed back north. One Israeli official said his country was open to discussing allowing back only "some" of the displaced.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gave the green light on Friday to hold new talks with the aim of reaching a truce in the besieged Gaza Strip, which is under constant bombardment, while its residents face the threat of “imminent famine,” according to the United Nations.

Netanyahu's office reported after his meeting with the heads of the Israeli intelligence Mossad and Shin Bet, that he "agreed to a round of negotiations in the coming days in Doha and Cairo... to move forward."

In recent months, several negotiations were held through international mediators Egypt, Qatar, and the United States, but without result, while both parties exchanged accusations of obstructing them.

More than 32,000 Palestinians have been killed in Israel's military offensive in the Gaza Strip since October 7, according to health authorities in the territory.

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