Blinken says that “more efforts must be made” to protect the Palestinians, after Israel agreed to a daily cessation of fighting

US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said on Friday that he welcomed Israel’s agreement to a daily humanitarian truce in its attack on northern Gaza, but that more efforts were needed. Speaking in New Delhi, Blinken said: “Too many Palestinians have been killed. Too many have suffered in recent weeks, and we want to do everything possible to prevent harm and maximize the assistance that reaches them.”

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaks to the media in New Delhi on November 10, 2023.

Jonathan Ernst/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

Fighting has raged in northern Gaza since then Armed men from the Islamic Hamas movement poured across the border into Israel According to Israeli officials, 1,400 people were killed and about 240 were taken hostage in the worst attack in the country’s history.

Israel responded with air strikes and a ground attack that the Health Ministry in the Hamas-run Gaza Strip said killed more than 10,800 people, many of them children.

The Hamas government said on Friday that an Israeli raid on the largest hospital in the Strip led to the deaths of 13 people. A WHO spokesperson said the hospital was “being bombed” and that 20 hospitals in Gaza were unable to treat patients at all, according to the Reuters news agency.

A government statement said that “13 were martyred and dozens wounded in an Israeli raid on the Shifa complex today” in central Gaza City, a toll that AFP could not immediately verify.

The director of Al-Shifa Hospital, Muhammad Abu Salamiya, said, “Israeli tanks opened fire on Al-Shifa Hospital,” while the Israeli army did not provide any immediate comment.

Israel reported heavy fighting on Thursday near the hospital, saying it had killed dozens of activists and destroyed tunnels considered essential to Hamas’ ability to fight.

Smoke rising after an Israeli airstrike on the Gaza Strip, as seen from southern Israel on November 10, 2023.

Leo Correa/AFP

The Israeli army repeatedly accused Hamas of using hospitals, especially Al-Shifa Hospital, to coordinate its attacks against the army and as hideouts for its leaders. Hamas authorities and doctors deny these accusations.

The Hamas-run Health Ministry in Gaza said on Friday that Israeli tanks were also surrounding two children’s hospitals in northern Gaza. An IDF spokesman said that they “cannot discuss potential locations related to our operations. This could put the forces at risk.”

Separately, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights said on Friday that there was a need to conduct an investigation into what he described as the “indiscriminate” Israeli bombing of densely populated areas in the Gaza Strip, which he said raised “serious concerns that this could amount to disproportionate attacks.” that violate human rights.” The Associated Press reported that “international humanitarian law.”

Also on Friday, Iran-backed Lebanese Hezbollah said Israeli fire killed seven of its fighters, without specifying where or when they died as border tensions continued during the war between Israel and Hamas.

President Biden on Thursday welcomed the pauses signed by Israel, which formalize an arrangement that has already seen tens of thousands of Palestinians flee devastation in northern Gaza.

“I think some progress has been made,” Blinken said. “But… there is a lot more to be done in terms of protecting civilians and getting humanitarian aid to them.”

Blinken said Israel’s agreement to a four-hour daily ceasefire, as well as two humanitarian corridors, would enable people to move away from the fighting. He added, “These steps will save lives and enable more aid to reach Palestinians in need.”

Blinken’s visit to India is the last stop on a marathon trip that included South Korea, a G7 foreign ministers’ meeting in Japan – which sought to find common ground on the conflict between Israel and Hamas – and a tour of the Middle East.

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