Israel continues deadly attacks on Gaza amid hopes for another truce

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A fireball erupts after Israeli strike over Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on December 20, 2023, amid ongoing battles between Israel and the Palestinian militant group Hamas.

A fireball erupts after an Israeli air strike on Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip. [Said Khatib/ AFP]

Published On 21 Dec 2023

Israel bombarded towns across Gaza with air strikes on Wednesday, killing dozens of Palestinians, as talks over securing another truce and captive-prisoner exchange with Hamas continue.

At least 46 people were killed and more than 100 wounded after Israel bombarded the urban Jabalia refugee camp near Gaza City, according to Munir al-Bursh, a senior Palestinian health ministry official.

In southern Gaza, several women and children were among those brought into Nasser hospital in the city of Khan Younis after the strikes.

Gaza’s health ministry also said at least 12 people were killed and dozens were wounded in a series of air strikes in Rafah, near the border with Egypt.

“Twelve martyrs and dozens of wounded, including women and children, were recovered from under the rubble when a house and a mosque were targeted hundreds of metres from Kuwaiti hospital,” the ministry said in a statement.

The Israeli military also ordered the immediate evacuation of an area covering some 20 percent of central and southern Khan Younis city, which before Israel’s invasion was home to more than 111,000 people and now includes 32 shelters housing more than 141,000 people displaced from northern Gaza by the war.

Israel’s notification of the forced relocation was announced online on Wednesday, according to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN OCHA), with Palestinians instructed to move to the already overcrowded neighbourhoods in Rafah, further south.

Meanwhile, Hamas’s top leader Ismail Haniyeh travelled to Cairo on Wednesday for talks on the war in Gaza, part of a flurry of diplomacy amid hopes of securing another truce and captive-swap deal with Israel.

Both sides have recently relaunched indirect talks, mediated by Egypt, Qatar and the United States.

More than 20,000 Palestinians have been killed since Israel began its war on Gaza on October 7. Thousands more lie buried under the rubble of Gaza, the UN estimates.

Palestinians who lost their lives in Israeli attacks are being buried in Deir al Balah Cemetery with prayers in Deir al Balah, Gaza.

Palestinians who lost their lives in Israeli attacks are buried in Deir el-Balah cemetery in Gaza. [Ashraf Amra/Anadolu]

People carry the shrouded body of a person killed during Israeli bombardment at the Kuwait Hospital in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip.

People carry the shrouded body of a person killed during an Israeli bombardment at the Kuwaiti hospital in Rafah in southern Gaza. [Said Khatib/AFP]

Relatives of the Palestinians died in Israeli attacks, mourn as they receive the dead bodies from the morgue of Nasser Hospital for burial in Khan Yunis, Gaza.

Relatives of Palestinians killed in Israeli attacks, mourn as they receive the dead bodies from the morgue of Nasser hospital for burial in Khan Younis, southern Gaza. [Ahmed Zaqout/Anadolu]

Palestinians evacuate a wounded woman from a site hit by an Israeli bombardment on Rafah, southern Gaza Strip.

Palestinians evacuate a wounded woman from a site hit by an Israeli bombardment on Rafah. [Fatima Shbair/AP Photo]

An injured Palestinian girl is carried to an ambulance, at the site of an Israeli strike, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip.

An injured Palestinian girl is carried to an ambulance at the site of an Israeli strike in Rafah. [Arafat Barbakh/Reuters]

A child injured during Israeli bombardment receives treatment at the Kuwait Hospital in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip.

A child injured during Israeli bombardment receives treatment at the Kuwaiti hospital in Rafah. [Said Khatib/AFP]

Palestinians look at the destruction after an Israeli strike in Rafah, Gaza Strip.

Palestinians search for bodies and survivors in the rubble of a residential building destroyed in an Israeli air strike in Rafah. [Hatem Ali/AP Photo]

Residents and civil defense teams conduct search and rescue operation around the rubble of the building following an Israeli attack on house belonging to Misri family in Deir al-Balah, Gaza.

Residents and civil defence teams conduct search and rescue operations around the rubble of the building following an Israeli attack on a house belonging to Misri family in Deir el-Balah. [Ali Jadallah/Anadolu]

Palestinians look at the destruction after an Israeli strike in Rafah, Gaza Strip.

Palestinians look at the destruction after an Israeli air strike in Rafah. [Hatem Ali/AP Photo]

Israeli soldiers fire mortars from southern Israel towards the Gaza Strip, in a position near the Israel-Gaza border.

Israeli soldiers fire mortars from southern Israel towards Gaza, in a position near the Israel-Gaza fence. [Tsafrir Abayov/AP Photo]

A picture taken on December 20, 2023, from Rafah shows smoke billowing after Israeli strikes over the Nuseirat refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip.

Smoke billows after Israeli strikes hit the Nuseirat refugee camp in central Gaza. [Mahmud Hams/AFP]

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