A senior Hamas official said Friday the group will respond “very soon” to a proposal that includes extended pauses in Gaza fighting and phased exchanges of Hamas-held hostages for Palestinians imprisoned in Israel.
Hamas and other militants in Gaza are holding dozens of hostages, after having abducted about 250 during their deadly Oct. 7 attack on southern Israel that killed 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and sparked Israel’s blistering offensive on the enclave. More than 100 hostages were released during a one-week truce in November, in exchange for 240 Palestinian prisoners.
Over 27,000 people have been killed and 66,000 wounded by Israel’s offensive against Hamas in Gaza, the territory’s Health Ministry said Thursday. The Health Ministry does not distinguish between civilian and combatant deaths, but says most of those killed were women and children.
Israel’s war in Gaza threatens to spill over into neighboring countries, despite persistent efforts by top officials around the globe to tamp down regional tensions.
On Friday, the U.S. military began an air assault on sites in Iraq and Syria that are used by Iranian-back militias in retaliation to the drone strike that killed three U.S. troops in Jordan last weekend, officials told media. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss military operations not yet made public. The strikes come after President Joe Biden and other U.S. leaders warned the U.S. would strike back at the militias in what would be a “tiered response” over time.
— U.S. begins airstrikes on militias in Iraq and Syria in retaliation to the fatal drone strike in Jordan, officials say.
— Analysis shows destruction and a possible buffer zone along the Gaza Strip’s border with Israel.
— Half of U.S. adults say Israel has gone too far in its war in Gaza, news agencies-NORC poll shows.
— A U.S. company says hostage-taking by gunmen at its factory in Turkey in Gaza protest has been resolved.
— Biden sanctions Israeli settlers accused of attacking Palestinians and peace activists in West Bank.
— Find more of news agencies’s coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/israel-hamas-war.
Here’s the latest:
The U.S. military launched an air assault on dozens of sites in Iraq and Syria used by Iranian-backed militias Friday, in the opening salvo of retaliation for the drone strike that killed three U.S. troops in Jordan last weekend, officials told media.
President Joe Biden and other top U.S. leaders have been warning for days that the U.S. would strike back at the militias, and they made it clear that it wouldn’t be just one hit, but would be a “tiered response” over time. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss military operations not yet made public.
The initial strikes by manned and unmanned aircraft were hitting command and control headquarters, ammunition storage and other facilities. They came hours after Biden and top defense leaders joined grieving families to watch as the remains of the three Army Reserve soldiers were returned to the U.S. during a somber ceremony at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware.
UNITED NATIONS — The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations is warning that a proposed U.N. Security Council resolution demanding an immediate humanitarian cease-fire between Israel and Hamas is putting “sensitive negotiations” for a prolonged humanitarian pause and release of all Israeli hostages “in jeopardy.”
Linda Thomas-Greenfield told U.N. reporters on Friday that the U.S. is working “on a strong, compelling proposal” to release the Israeli hostages and get desperately needed humanitarian aid to Palestinians in Gaza. She said the U.S., which is Israel’s closest ally, has been working with Qatar, the go-to mediator in the Mideast war, as well as Egypt and regional partners.
“If accepted and implemented, this proposal would move all parties one step closer to creating the conditions for sustainable cessation of hostilities,” she said.
Algeria, the Arab representative on the council, circulated the draft resolution to the Security Council’s 15 members on Wednesday. It does not mention the hostages. Instead, it demands that all parties comply with international law, calls for unhindered access for humanitarian aid, and “rejects the forced displacement of the Palestinian civilian population.”