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Senior Hamas official says no progress made in ceasefire talks with Israel

Palestinians arrive in Khan Younis after fleeing an Israeli ground and air offensive in the nearby city of Rafah, June 28, 2024
Palestinians arrive in Khan Younis after fleeing an Israeli ground and air offensive in the nearby city of Rafah, June 28, 2024 Copyright Jehad Alshrafi/Copyright 2023, The AP. All rights reserved
Copyright Jehad Alshrafi/Copyright 2023, The AP. All rights reserved
By Euronews with AP, EBU
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The Hamas-run health ministry says almost 38,000 Palestinians have been killed since Israel launched its military operation in October, but it doesn't distinguish between civilians and combatants in its count.

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A senior Hamas official has said that no progress has been made in ceasefire talks with Israel over ending the war in Gaza. 

Speaking at a press conference in the Lebanese capital Beirut, Osama Hamdan said the group is prepared to "deal positively" with any ceasefire proposal that brings about an end to the fighting.

Efforts by Arab mediators, supported by the United States, have failed to strike a conclusive cessation of hostilities with Hamas and Israel blaming each other for the lack of progress.

Hamas says any deal must include the full withdrawal of the Israeli military from Gaza but Israel has only agreed in principle to temporary pauses in fighting until Hamas is completely eradicated.

Hamdan also laid some of the blame on Washington, accusing officials there of pressuring the group to accept Israel's conditions.

"Once again, Hamas is ready to deal positively with any proposal that secures a permanent ceasefire, a comprehensive withdrawal from Gaza Strip and a serious swap deal," he said.

Further evacuations

Meanwhile, more Palestinians in southern Gaza have been forced to relocate again to get away from an ongoing Israeli operation in the area that divides Rafah and Khan Younis.

It was the latest evacuation from a region that has weathered an Israeli incursion since early May, forcing nearly all the Palestinians sheltering in Rafah to leave.

People protest in Tel Aviv against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government and call for the release of hostages held in the Gaza Strip by Hamas, June 29, 2024
People protest in Tel Aviv against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government and call for the release of hostages held in the Gaza Strip by Hamas, June 29, 2024Ohad Zwigenberg/Copyright 2024 The AP. All rights reserved.

At the weekend, Palestinians packed their belongings into trucks pulled by donkeys and set off in the direction of central Gaza.

They said that they had evacuated their shelters under Israeli gunfire overnight and were returning to grab their belongings before fleeing the city.

"We went out under bullets and gunfire at night. Our children were dispersed. We do not know where they are. Where should we go?" asked Imad Asfour, a displaced Palestinian from east of Khan Younis.

Ghada Qudeh, another displaced Palestinian who took shelter in Rafah after fleeing the southern city of Khan Younis, said that Israeli forces had fired missiles at a house where she and her family were sheltering Thursday.

"We do not know where we can go," she said. "Since yesterday, we have not found food or drink. We only want a solution."

The Israeli military says two of its soldiers were killed in fighting in northern Gaza on Saturday, bringing the death toll to 318. 

More than eight months into the military operation, militants continue to stage attacks on Israeli forces, operating in areas that the Israeli army said it had gained control over months ago. 

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The health ministry in Gaza says 40 Palestinians were killed and 224 wounded in the latest 24-hour reporting period.

The initial Israeli operation into Rafah, which officials in Washington insisted was ‘limited’ in scope, sent around 1.3 million Palestinians fleeing, according to UN estimates.

Israel says it needs to operate there to defeat Hamas' remaining battalions.

Israel launched its military operation in Gaza in response to a Hamas incursion into Israel on October 7, which saw around 1,200 people killed and more than 250 hostages taken.

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The Hamas-run health ministry says almost 38,000 Palestinians have been killed since Israel launched its military operation in October, but it doesn’t distinguish between civilians and combatants in its count.

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