Thursday, June 13, 2024
27 C
Brunei Town

Airstrike kills 27 in central Gaza as Israel’s leaders are increasingly divided

GAZA STRIP (AP) — An Israeli airstrike killed 27 people in central Gaza, mostly women and children, and fighting with Hamas raged across the north on Sunday as Israel’s leaders aired divisions over who should govern Gaza after the war, now in its eighth month.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu faces criticism from the two other members of his War Cabinet, with his main political rival, Benny Gantz, threatening to leave the government if a plan is not created by June 8 that includes an international administration for postwar Gaza.

United States (US) national security adviser Jake Sullivan was expected to meet with Netanyahu and other Zionist leaders on Sunday to discuss an ambitious US plan for Saudi Arabia to recognise Israel and help the Palestinian Authority to govern Gaza in exchange for a path to eventual statehood.

Netanyahu opposes Palestinian statehood and has rejected those proposals, saying Israel will maintain open-ended security control over Gaza and partner with local Palestinians unaffiliated with Hamas or the Western-backed Palestinian Authority.

Gantz’s ultimatum expressed support for normalising ties with Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries, but he also said “we will not allow any outside power, friendly or hostile, to impose a Palestinian state on us”.

Gantz’s withdrawal would not bring down Netanyahu’s coalition government but would leave him more reliant on far-right allies who support the “voluntary emigration” of Palestinians from Gaza, full military occupation and the rebuilding of Jewish settlements there.

Palestinians mourn their relatives who were killed in an Israeli airstrike in Nuseirat, at the Al Aqsa hospital in Deir al Balah, Gaza Strip. PHOTO: AP

Even as discussions about the future take on new weight, the war rages. In recent weeks, Hamas militants have regrouped in parts of northern Gaza that were heavily bombed in the war’s early days and where Israeli ground troops operated.

The airstrike in Nuseirat, a built-up Palestinian refugee camp in central Gaza dating back to the 1948 Arab-Israeli war, killed 27 people, including 10 women and seven children, according to records at Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital in nearby Deir al-Balah, which received the bodies.

A separate strike on a Nuseirat street killed five people, according to the Palestinian Red Crescent emergency service. In Deir al-Balah, a strike killed Zahed al-Houli, a senior officer in the Hamas-run police, and another man, according to the hospital.

Palestinians reported more airstrikes and heavy fighting in northern Gaza, which has been largely isolated by the Zionist nation troops for months and where the World Food Programme says a famine is underway.

The Civil Defence said the strikes hit several homes near Kamal Adwan Hospital in Beit Lahiya, killing at least 10 people. Footage released by rescuers showed them trying to pull the body of a woman out of the rubble as explosions echo in the background.

In the urban Jabaliya refugee camp nearby, residents reported a heavy wave of artillery and airstrikes.

“The situation is very difficult,” said Abdel-Kareem Radwan, 48. He said the whole eastern side has become a battle zone where the Israeli fighter jets “strike anything that moves.”

Mahmoud Bassal, a spokesman for the Civil Defence, said rescuers had recovered at least 150 bodies, more than half of them women and children, since Israel launched the operation in Jabaliya last week. He said around 300 homes have been completely destroyed.

The Zionist regime launched its offensive after Hamas’ October 7 attack, in which militants stormed into southern Israel, killing around 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and abducting some 250.

The war has killed at least 35,000 Palestinians, according to Gaza’s Health Ministry, which doesn’t distinguish between combatants and civilians. Around 80 per cent of the population of 2.3 million Palestinians have been displaced within the territory, often multiple times.

“We need a decent life to live,” said Reem Al-Bayed, who left Gaza City and is sheltering with thousands in the gritty coastal Muwasi camp in the south without basic facilities like wells. “All countries live a decent life except us.”

spot_img

Latest

spot_img