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escalates: Southern Gaza targeted in renewed Israeli offensive

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The resumption of fighting in the Gaza Strip has been intense, the director general of the Red Cross said on Saturday, as Israel airstrikes and artillery bombarded the enclave a day after a week-long pause in hostilities there with Hamas has collapsed. Qatar-mediated talks for another pause in fighting resume in Doha as a team from Israel’s Mossad intelligence services was in Doha on Saturday for talks with Qatari mediators for another pause in fighting in Gaza. Qatar-mediated talks focused on the potential release of new categories of Israeli hostages other than women and children and the parameters of a truce. Israel and Hamas have traded blame over the collapse of the truce, with accusations of a breakdown over the release of female Israeli soldiers and the Israelis accusing Hamas of refusing to release all the women it held.

The first aid trucks since the collapse of the Gaza truce have entered through the Egyptian side of the Rafah crossing on Saturday, on their way to Awja crossing for inspection before continuing the journey to the Gaza Strip, Egyptian security, and Red Crescent sources said. As well, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said that the chance for peace in Gaza after the humanitarian pause was lost for now due to Israel’s uncompromising approach. Erdogan said the exclusion of Hamas or destruction of Hamas is not a realistic scenario.

Elsewhere, Israeli forces and Hezbollah militants exchanged fire across the Israel-Lebanon border on Saturday, in a second day of hostilities after the collapse of a truce in Gaza between the Palestinian group Hamas and Israel. Hezbollah said that one of its fighters was killed. Three people in south Lebanon were killed by Israeli shelling on Friday, according to Lebanon’s state news agency. Hezbollah also said it fired rockets at an Israeli position.

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Photo credit www.theguardian.com

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