Israel will defend itself, Netanyahu says, as West calls for restraint


”STOP THE WAR! STOP THE WAR!”

Since Hamas fighters triggered the war in Gaza by attacking southern Israel, killing 1,200 people and capturing 253 hostages according to Israeli tallies, clashes have erupted between Israel and Iran-aligned groups based in Lebanon, Syria, Yemen and Iraq.

Inside Gaza, Israel has launched a massive air and ground assault, with nearly 34,000 people confirmed killed, according to Palestinian medics, and thousands of others feared dead, still lost among the ruins.

Apart from a single week of ceasefire in November when around half of the hostages were freed, diplomats have so far failed to hammer out terms for a truce.

This month, Israel abruptly pulled most of its troops out of southern Gaza, the site of most of the heaviest fighting since the start of the year. Fighting in recent days has been focused in central Gaza, in the Nuseirat camp north of Deir al-Balah, one of the few areas that Israeli troops have yet to storm.

At a hospital morgue in Deir al-Balah, members of the al-Nouri family bellowed in sorrow and anger over bodies in body bags, several the size of small children, in a video obtained by Reuters. Authorities said 11 people had been killed in an Israeli strike on the family home on Tuesday.

“Oh people of the world, what is happening is wrong! Have mercy on us! Stop the war! Stop the war! Children are dying in the streets!” a man cried inside the crowded hospital.

Elsewhere, Hamas media reported that Israeli forces had withdrawn from Beit Hanoun in northern Gaza after a 36-hour raid there.



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