Explosions and gunfire shattered the relative calm in Gaza as Israel launched military operations against Hamas, citing the group’s alleged violation of the terms of a recently concluded seven-day truce.
In the early hours of Friday morning, an Israeli air raid in Rafah City, southern Gaza, claimed the lives of at least six Palestinians, according to a spokesperson from the Hamas-run health ministry. Additionally, two children lost their lives in separate air raids on Gaza City in the north, as reported by Fadel Naim, a doctor with Al-Ahli Hospital.
The seven-day truce had seen some positive developments, including the release of 110 hostages held by Hamas and 240 Palestinian prisoners held by Israel. Despite these efforts, the fragile peace was shattered, leading to renewed hostilities and prompting ongoing mediation efforts to establish a new agreement between the conflicting parties.
Hamas had previously launched an attack on Israel on October 7, resulting in the loss of 1,200 lives and the capture of approximately 240 individuals. Since then, Israel’s retaliatory campaign, according to Gaza’s Hamas-run health ministry, has resulted in over 14,800 casualties, including about 6,000 children.
Amidst the unfolding situation, top U.S. diplomat Antony Blinken, currently in the Middle East, has conveyed to Israel the urgency of taking “more effective steps” to safeguard civilian lives. The region remains tense, with diplomatic efforts ongoing to address the escalating conflict and bring about a sustainable resolution.