Israel steps up attacks on Gaza as allies call for more Palestinian aid | ET REALITY


“Too many lives have already been lost and the humanitarian crisis is growing,” British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak told Parliament on Monday. The convoys that have reached Gaza so far are not enough, he said. “We need a constant flow of help.”

Gaza’s Hamas-run Health Ministry reported a sharp rise in the death toll following Israel’s latest bombing. The ministry said on Monday that at least 436 people were killed in Israeli airstrikes “in the last few hours,” including 182 children.

The statement raised the death toll in Gaza to more than 5,000 people, according to the ministry, since Israel began retaliating for the Hamas attacks on October 7. The figures could not be independently verified, and the Israeli military has sometimes accused Hamas of inflating the death toll in Gaza. count.

Before that attack, conditions were already dire for the more than two million Palestinians living in Gaza, which was under a crushing blockade by Egypt and Israel and had faced skyrocketing unemployment and frequent shortages of medicine and fuel.

Now, residents and aid workers say, survival in Gaza is an increasingly desperate challenge. It is difficult to find drinking water and almost impossible fuel. Medicines are dwindling and hospitals are full of the wounded, displaced and dead.

After the Hamas attack this month, Israel enacted what it called a “complete siege,” banning the entry of fuel, food and water. In recent days, Israeli authorities have agreed not to block some aid convoys from entering Gaza through the Egyptian Rafah border crossing, as long as there is supervision and the aid does not reach Hamas.

Fears for the safety of hostages held hostage in Israel have been growing, especially after Israelis learned Monday from the military that 222 people were believed to be held captive, 10 more than previously known. The captives are believed to be scattered and hidden throughout Gaza, and many are likely being held in the tunnels and bunkers that Hamas uses beneath the territory.

On Monday night, the Israeli prime minister’s office confirmed that Hamas had freed Nurit Cooper, 79, and Yocheved Lifshitz, 85. The group had also freed two American-Israeli women on Friday, citing “humanitarian reasons.” ” and Qatari mediation.

Mrs. Lifshitz and her husband, Oded, an Israeli journalist, were peace activists, their relatives said. Lifshitz had volunteered to transport sick Gazans seeking medical treatment in Israel from the Erez checkpoint to Israeli hospitals, according to her family.

Both women were taken captive by Hamas gunmen on October 7 when they invaded Nir Oz, the kibbutz where the Lifshitz lived. The small community of 400 people was particularly hard hit, with dozens dead, missing or taken captive to Gaza.

“My father spent his life fighting for peace,” said Sharone Lifshitz, the couple’s daughter. said a press conference in London this month. “We are going to spend the rest of our lives dealing with this atrocity,” she added.

As negotiations to help the hostages have borne some fruit in recent days, Israel’s allies have also urged it to allow much more aid into Gaza, fearing a humanitarian catastrophe.

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