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Israeli strikes kill more than 175 people in Gaza as truce ends, health officials say

Palestinians evacuate wounded in Israeli bombardment Rafah, Gaza Strip
Palestinians evacuate wounded in Israeli bombardment Rafah, Gaza Strip Copyright AP Photo
Copyright AP Photo
By Euronews
Published on Updated
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The pause in fighting that began a week ago had allowed hostages and prisoners to be freed, plus much-needed humanitarian aid to flow into Gaza.

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Israel bombed the Gaza Strip fiercely on Friday, as the war resumed with full force after a week-long truce.

Gaza’s Hamas-run Health Ministry said 178 people were killed and dozens wounded, while the Israeli army claimed to have struck more than 200 targets in the enclave since the ceasefire expired at 05:00 GMT. 

UNICEF warned this morning that hospitals in Gaza were already overwhelmed. 

Israel hit Jababliya and Gaza City in the north, Khan Younes and Rafah in the south and al-Maghazi in central Gaza.

“We were at home and suddenly there were bombings. My house and that of my son were destroyed, as well as that of neighbours,” said Jamil Abou Dagga at the Nasser Hospital in Khan Younes, detailing that seven of his relatives had been injured. 

“I don’t even know what happened to my children,” added Amal Abou Dagga, in tears, with her beige veil covered in blood.

Earlier Friday, Israel accused Hamas of violating the ceasefire, including by firing rockets toward Israel from Gaza. The Palestinian militant group did not claim any attack. 

Minutes after the truce expired, an AFP journalist on the ground said Israeli airstrikes and artillery fire hit Gaza City. 

"This is a war against children," said UNICEF spokesperson James Elder in a video filmed at a Gazan hospital. 

He said the medical facility was already at 200% capacity. "This hospital simply cannot accept any more children injured in the war."

“For those who have influence to do nothing is to authorise the death of children,” Elder added. 

Six Israelis were released by Hamas Thursday night, following two others during the day. They were returned as part of exchanges for Palestinian prisoners held in Israel.

With the resumption of conflict, Israeli authorities have reintroduced restrictions in force before the ceasefire. In several areas of the country, schools can only open if they have a shelter that meets standards.

Reflecting the fragile situation, Hamas claimed responsibility for a deadly shooting in Jerusalem on Thursday that killed four Israelis. 

The Palestinian militant group nevertheless said it was ready to extend the truce in Gaza, after US Secretary of State Antony Blinken called for the pause to continue. 

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Mediated by the US, Qatar and Egypt, the truce between Israel and Hamas entered into force on 24 November. 

It initially was set to last four days, but then extended for several days with the help of international mediators. 

During the week-long truce, Hamas and other militants in Gaza freed around 80 hostages, most of them Israelis, in return for 240 Palestinians released from prisons in Israel. 

Virtually all of those freed by Hamas were women and children. Most of those released by the Israelis were young Palestinian boys, arrested for stone-throwing or "public disorder". 

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Reaching agreements on swaps appeared to be growing harder as most women and children held in Gaza were released.

Around 20 foreigners or dual nationals, mostly Thais working in Israel, were also released outside the agreement.

The Israeli military estimates some 240 people were taken hostage and brought to Gaza during the 7 October attack. This surprise raid left around 1,200 dead in Israel, mostly civilians, according to the authorities.

Based on internal documents, the New York Times claimed on Friday that Israeli officials had obtained Hamas' plan more than a year in advance to carry out an unprecedented attack against Israel, but judged this scenario unrealistic.

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In retaliation for the assault, Israel promised to "annihilate" Hamas, relentlessly bombing Gaza and launching a ground offensive on 27 October which lasted until the start of the November truce.

According to Palestinian officials, more than 15,000 people, including at least 6,150 children and young people under the age of 18, died in Israeli strikes.

More than half of Gaza's population is under the age of 18.

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