Realistic postwar Gaza scenarios prove elusive as Israel-Hamas war intensifies

Palestinians fleeing Gaza City walk amid the ongoing battles between Israel and Hamas. (AFP)
Short Url
Updated 11 November 2023
Follow

Realistic postwar Gaza scenarios prove elusive as Israel-Hamas war intensifies

  • Anthony Blinken, the US secretary of state, has said neither Israel nor Hamas should be left to run Gaza
  • The Palestinian Authority has indicated it is willing to govern if Washington commits to the two-state solution

LONDON: Speculation about Gaza’s post-conflict future has been rife in recent weeks, ranging from suggestions of a permanent Israeli takeover and the expulsion of the Palestinian population to a possible Arab-led peacekeeping force that would hand control to the Palestinian Authority.

Israel launched its military campaign to destroy Hamas in the Gaza Strip after the Palestinian militant group mounted its cross-border attack on southern Israel on Oct. 7, killing 1,400 and taking around 240 people hostage.

Hamas has been the de facto governing body in the Gaza Strip since 2007, when it ousted the Palestinian Authority from power. Primarily in Gaza, Hamas also maintains a presence in the West Bank, Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon, and has a political office in Doha and a representation office in Tehran.




Palestinians pray near the bodies of members of the Hijazi family, killed in Israeli strikes in Rafah. (AFP)

After initial indications that Israel planned to fully occupy the Gaza Strip once Hamas had been unseated by the Israeli Defense Forces’ ongoing ground operation, the government since appears to have backtracked, likely under pressure from Washington.

Speaking to Fox News on Thursday night, Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, played down the notion of an occupation, instead stressing the aim was to “demilitarize, deradicalize, and rebuild” the Gaza Strip.

His comments were a stark departure from just three days earlier when Netanyahu indicated occupation was, indeed, the aim, telling ABC News that Israel would have “overall security responsibility … for an indefinite period” in Gaza.

The apparent U-turn followed a strong rebuke from Antony Blinken, the US secretary of state, over the prospect of an Israeli occupation, with the senior diplomat telling reporters after G7 talks in Japan on Wednesday that neither Israel nor Hamas could be left to run Gaza.

During his Fox News interview, Netanyahu said: “We don’t seek to govern Gaza, we don’t seek to occupy it.” Instead he said Israel would have to find a “civilian government” to manage the territory.




Israeli soldiers in the northern Gaza Strip. (Reuters)

Yossi Mekelberg, professor of international relations and associate fellow of the MENA (Middle East and North Africa) Program at London’s Chatham House, believes such uncertainty reflects the manner in which the conflict has been playing out more generally.

“You have to remember that this war was not planned by Israel; it started out of surprise. So, it is not surprising there is uncertainty over what comes next,” Mekelberg told Arab News.

“There are some right wingers in Israel who want to take Gaza and build settlements. In the Middle East I would never say never about anything, but I am not certain this is the intention. Settlements are very hard to remove and Blinken was clear over what would be tolerated.”

Indeed, US red lines are not limited to the question of occupation. As members of the Knesset pushed hard on the notion of allowing settlements in the West Bank to expand into Gaza, Blinken was clear there was to be “no forcible displacement of Palestinians from Gaza, not now, not after the war.”




An overview of Beit Hanoun in Gaza Strip on October 21, 2023. (AFP/MAXAR)

Such forthright opposition to the removal of Palestinians from Gaza was welcomed by Mekelberg, but he acknowledged that the impact of these words was as indeterminate as Gaza’s fate.

“Whether or not Blinken’s comments are taken seriously in Israel or not is dependent on how much the Israeli government thinks the US really believes it or not,” he said.

“The US needs to make sure that this is its policy. Not only because it serves the US but because it serves Israel.”

Pushback from the US, for the time being at least, appears to be administration-wide. Blinken’s statement followed one issued on Tuesday by John Kirby, the White House national security spokesperson, who stressed that President Joe Biden did not believe an occupation of Gaza was the “right thing to do.”

On the potential for an occupation, Dr. Ziad Asali, founder of the non-profit American Task Force on Palestine, is circumspect. While Israel has “no benefit” in occupying Gaza, Asali believes it is still “likely to gain whatever it can in the interim.”

Asali was equally less certain over the longevity of the status quo, even after Blinken stressed on Wednesday that the current Hamas-Israel binary in Gaza could not be allowed to continue.

“Israel can barely manage the Palestinians presently under its control,” he told Arab News. “It is also now likely to face new immediate challenges that cannot be solved by military force alone. Judging by past experience, I suspect that the status quo could endure longer than people think.”

As for Israel “finding” a new civilian government, Mekelberg said it was “obvious” that there would be no place for Hamas in a post-conflict Gaza. Equally, though, he stressed the need for “parties that represent the population,” if the ultimate aim was to avoid a repeat of the Oct. 7 attacks.

“Both Gaza and the West Bank need to be governed by the same body,” he said. “Being split does not help anybody, and it perpetuates the situation. Now, we know that it will not be Hamas, as, Iran and maybe Qatar aside … no one will engage with them.

“So, what you need is a party that represents the Palestinians. Who that is remains uncertain and, in part, will depend on how the fighting is brought to a close.”




Orheen Al-Dayah, who was injured in an Israeli strike, has her wound stitched without anesthetic due to a dearth of the medication, at Al Shifa hospital in Gaza City. (Reuters)

Solutions beyond an Israeli occupation have included installing the Fatah-dominated Palestinian Authority. But given that Fatah was voted out by Palestinians in favor of Hamas in the 2006 legislative elections in the occupied territories, the legitimacy of Palestinian Authority’s rule remains in question. Furthermore, as Mekelberg put it bluntly, “they are not in the state to take over.”

The Palestinian Authority appears to think differently, but with an important caveat.

In a recent interview with the New York Times, Hussein Al-Sheikh, secretary-general of the Palestine Liberation Organization, said that were Washington to commit to a “full-fledged two-state solution,” the Palestinian Authority would be willing to take on the role of governing post-war Gaza.

Al-Sheikh said this would be dependent upon the US forcing Israel to abide by such an agreement — a scenario he believes the Biden administration is “capable” of achieving.

He is not alone in sensing an opportunity to renew efforts toward the two-state solution. Ehud Barak, the former Israeli prime minister, has also thrown his support behind the need to revive this initiative.

“I think there is a need in Israel, under the heaviest, most difficult conditions, never to lose sight of the objective,” Barak told Time magazine this week.

“The right way is to look to the two-state solution, not because of justice to the Palestinians, which is not the uppermost on my priorities, but because we have a compelling imperative to disengage from the Palestinians to protect our own security, our own future, our own identity.”




Fatah's Azzam Al-Ahmad (R) and Saleh Al-Aruri (L) of Hamas signed in 2017 a reconciliation deal at the Egyptian intelligence services headquarters in Cairo. (AFP/File)

Who precisely would serve as a unifying leader capable of bridging divisions among Palestinians remains an open question, although commentators have suggested someone of the stature of Salam Fayyad, the former Palestinian Authority prime minister.

In a recent tweet, Asali suggested that Marwan Barghouti, the jailed leader of the First and Second Intifadas, would be a suitably trusted candidate for the presidency of a unified Palestinian state should Israel agree to his release as part of a hostage exchange deal.

Beyond restoring the Palestinian Authority to power in Gaza, there have also been calls for an international peacekeeping force, an idea which has received some support from the US, with Kirby telling reporters aboard Air Force One on Wednesday that the administration was discussing what post-conflict Gaza should look like.

“If that means some sort of international presence, then that’s something we’re talking about,” he said, adding that there were “no plans or intentions” for US forces to be involved.

Asali said there is little appetite in Washington for the US to find itself “in another Middle East mess” that will demand more of the US president (Joe Biden) than he can deliver in an election year, hinting that a regional force may be required.
“Gaza and its leaders will soon be facing a huge humanitarian problem that will need to be solved by outsiders. The providers of that help would have more influence on Gaza than anyone else,” he said.

Without being drawn into specifics, he did not rule out the possibility of initiatives for strategic decisions on the Palestinian issue or the Gaza governance imbroglio being taken by a Middle Eastern country.




A man rests atop a row of freshly dug graves in a cemetary in Rafah. (AFP)

Asali is not alone in this view. One touted contender has been Egypt, but Mekelberg says officials in Cairo “do not want to do it.” While he “hopes it will be a regional grouping,” he suspects it will need to be “international,” warning that there will be significant work to do.“The first thing that whoever comes in needs to do is stabilize security and get infrastructure to a level where they can make sure enough aid is entering to provide what humans need,” said Mekelberg.

“After that, they will need to look at building bodies, and reconstructing the necessary institutions to run a state.”


US military destroys 5 Houthi drones amid escalating ship attacks

Updated 3 sec ago
Follow

US military destroys 5 Houthi drones amid escalating ship attacks

  • Centcom: It was determined these UAVs presented an imminent threat to US, coalition forces and merchant vessels in the region.
  • Houthis also fired an explosive and remotely controlled boat at the MT Chios Lion, a Greek-operated, Marshall Islands-owned crude oil tanker

AL-MUKALLA: US naval forces in the Red Sea destroyed a barrage of drones launched by Yemen’s Houthis as the militia increased drone, boat and missile strikes on ships in international commercial channels.

The US military said in a statement on Tuesday that its forces intercepted three Houthi unmanned aerial vehicles over the Red Sea and two more over Houthi-held areas of war-torn Yemen during the past 24 hours, all of which were aimed against international commercial and navy ships.

“It was determined these UAVs presented an imminent threat to US, coalition forces and merchant vessels in the region. These actions were taken to protect freedom of navigation and make international waters safer and more secure,” US Central Command said on X.

During the last 24 hours, the Houthis targeted a Panama-flagged, Israel-owned, Monaco-operated tanker vessel, MT Bentley I, which was transporting vegetable oil from Russia to China. The militia deployed three surface ships, one explosive-laden drone boat and two small boats, causing no damage to the ship or casualties, according to the US military.

The Houthis subsequently launched a ballistic missile from Yemeni territory toward the same ship in the Red Sea.

The Houthis also fired an explosive and remotely controlled boat at the MT Chios Lion, a Greek-operated, Marshall Islands-owned crude oil tanker operating under the Liberian flag in the Red Sea, inflicting damage to the ship but no reported casualties.

The US statement came hours after Houthi military spokesman Yahya Sarea claimed in a televised statement that the militia’s naval, drone and missile forces launched a joint attack against MT Bentley I in the Red Sea, and struck the Chios Lion oil tanker ship with a drone boat.

The two ships were targeted because their owners defied the militia’s warnings against traveling to Israeli ports.

Sarea said that a third operation was carried out with the assistance of the Iraqi Islamic Resistance, targeting the Olvia ship in the Mediterranean.

Olvia was recognized by ship monitoring apps as a crude oil tanker flying the Cyprus flag when it left the Israeli port of Haifa on Saturday.

Since November, the Houthis have fired hundreds of ballistic missiles, drones and drone boats at more than 100 ships on international trade routes near Yemen, forcing major commercial firms to divert ships away from the Red Sea and on to longer and more costly routes via Africa.

The Houthis maintain that they solely strike Israeli-linked and Israeli-bound ships to put pressure on Israel to lift its blockade of Gaza. Critics say that the Houthis are using Yemenis’ fury over Israel’s war in Gaza to silence vocal voices calling for salary payments and public service improvements, as well as to recruit fighters.

On Tuesday, Houthi militia leader Abdul Malik Al-Houthi promised to keep striking ships until Israel stops its war in Gaza.

“Our missile and naval operations will continue and expand until the aggression ends and the Israeli embargo on Gaza is removed,” he said.

Meanwhile, Yemen’s internationally recognized government reiterated on Tuesday its request for international groups to shift their offices from Houthi-held Sanaa to the southern city of Aden, Yemen’s temporary capital.

Rashad Al-Alimi, chairman of the Presidential Leadership Council, demanded during a meeting with US Ambassador to Yemen Steven Fagin that international donors fulfill their commitments to the humanitarian response plan in Yemen and that international organizations relocate their main offices to Aden after the Houthis kidnapped dozens of aid workers in Sanaa.

Yemeni Minister of Interior Ibrahim Haidan reiterated the same request during a meeting with Mahmoud Salah, head of the Foreign Committee of the Red Cross mission in Aden on Tuesday.


US-supplied bombs used in Israeli strike of Gaza ‘safe zone’ — weapons experts

Updated 16 July 2024
Follow

US-supplied bombs used in Israeli strike of Gaza ‘safe zone’ — weapons experts

  • A sliver of munition seen in a video of the blast site circulating online was a tail fin from a US-made Joint Direct Attack Munition
  • Former US Army explosive ordnance disposal technician: ‘it’s 100 percent a JDAM kit’ made in the United States

JERUSALEM: Israel’s deadly strike on Al-Mawasi, one of the bloodiest attacks in more than nine months of war in Gaza, used massive payload bombs provided by the United States, according to weapons experts.
The bombing of the Israeli-declared “safe zone” transformed the tent city on the Mediterranean coast into a charred wasteland, with nearby hospitals overrun with casualties.
According to the health ministry in the Hamas-run territory, the barrage killed at least 92 people and wounded more than 300.
The Israeli military said it targeted two “masterminds” of the October 7 attacks by Hamas that triggered the war. It said a top commander, Rafa Salama, was killed in the strike, but uncertainty remains over Hamas military chief Mohammed Deif.
AFP videos of the attack showed a white mushroom cloud billowing over a busy street, leaving behind a huge crater strewn with the wreckage of tents and a building blown to bits.
Here is what we know about the weaponry used in the attack:
Two weapons experts said that a sliver of munition seen in a video of the blast site circulating online was a tail fin from a US-made Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM). AFP could not independently verify the video.
The GPS-aided kit converts unguided free-fall bombs — so-called “dumb bombs” — into precision-guided “smart” munitions that can be directed toward single or multiple targets.
The United States developed the kit to improve accuracy in adverse weather after Operation Desert Storm in 1991.
The first JDAMs were delivered in 1997 and, according to the US Air Force, have a 95 percent system reliability.
Trevor Ball, a former US Army explosive ordnance disposal technician, concluded from images of the Al-Mawasi strike “it’s 100 percent a JDAM kit” made in the United States.
He said that given the types of bombs compatible with the guidance system and the size of the fin fragment, the JDAM was most likely used with either a 1,000 or 2,000 pound (450 or 900 kilogram) payload.
He said the fragment could also be compatible with the BLU-109 “bunker buster” warhead, which is designed to penetrate concrete.
Ball said it was not possible to definitively determine where the payload itself was made without “very specific fragments of the bomb body.”
Repeated use of such large bombs in the densely populated Gaza Strip has sparked humanitarian outcry and heaped pressure on US President Joe Biden to reconsider the munitions supplied to Israel.
On July 12, Israel’s main military backer announced it was ending a pause on supplying 500-pound bombs, though Biden said the 2,000-pound type would be withheld.
The White House has repeatedly voiced frustration over the civilian death toll in Gaza as Israel attempts to eradicate Hamas.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken told two top Israeli officials on Monday that the civilian toll was “unacceptably high,” his spokesman said.
Israeli officials said their “precise strike” in Al-Mawasi hit an open area that housed a Hamas compound and not a civilian camp.
When contacted by AFP regarding the weapons used, the Israeli military declined to comment.
Based on Israel’s stated target, Wes Bryant, a retired US Air Force master sergeant and strike and joint targeting expert, said it would have been feasible to avoid collateral damage in the surrounding area.
“My assessment is that any civilians killed in this strike were in the compound — not in the surrounding vicinity. So the IDF either failed to assess presence of civilians, or... deemed the risk to civilians proportional to the military advantage of taking out the Hamas leaders.”
The strike left Al-Mawasi a scene of “absolute destruction” with no water, electricity or sewage treatment, the Islamic Relief charity said.
It condemned Israel for its willingness “to kill innocent men, women and children in pursuit of its end goals.”
Hamas said that by arming Israel, the Biden administration is “legally and morally responsible” for spawning a “major humanitarian catastrophe.”
It said US-supplied weapons used by Israel included GPS-guided bombs, dumb bombs, bunker busters and JDAMs.
After repeated high-casualty strikes in recent days, a Hamas official said the group was withdrawing from indirect talks for a truce and hostage release deal with Israel.
The war was sparked by Hamas’s October 7 attack on Israel, which resulted in the deaths of 1,195 people, mostly civilians, according to an AFP tally based on Israeli figures.
Israel responded with a military offensive that has killed at least 38,664 people in Gaza, also mostly civilians, according to the Hamas-ruled territory’s health ministry.


Oman says oil tanker capsized off coast, 16 crew missing

Updated 16 July 2024
Follow

Oman says oil tanker capsized off coast, 16 crew missing

  • The vessel was headed for the Yemeni port city of Aden

MUSCAT: A Comorian-flagged oil tanker capsized off Oman on Monday, the sultanate’s Maritime Security Center (MSC) said, adding that a search was under way for its missing crew of 16.
The MSC, which is run by the Omani defense ministry, did not specify the cause of the capsize.
In a post on social media platform X, it said a “Comoros-flagged oil tanker capsized” 25 nautical miles southeast of Ras Madrakah, near the port town of Duqm on Monday.
Search and rescue operations were “initiated with the relevant authorities,” it added, without providing further details.
In a statement on Tuesday, the MSC identified the vessel as Prestige Falcon, saying it had 16 crew on board — 13 Indians and three Sri Lankans.
“The crew of the ship are still missing,” it said, as the search continued.
The vessel was headed for the Yemeni port city of Aden, according to shipping website marinetraffic.com.


Israeli strikes across Gaza kill at least 17, Palestinian health officials say

Updated 16 July 2024
Follow

Israeli strikes across Gaza kill at least 17, Palestinian health officials say

  • Israeli military say troops continue ‘intelligence-based’ activities in Rafah
  • Air strikes had targeted militants, tunnels, and other Hamas military infrastructure

CAIRO/GAZA: Israeli forces battled Hamas-led fighters in several parts of the Gaza Strip on Tuesday, and Palestinian health officials said at least 17 people were killed in Israeli bombardments of southern and central areas.

The Palestinian Islamist militant group Hamas has accused Israel of stepping up attacks in Gaza to try to derail efforts by Arab mediators and the United States to reach a ceasefire deal. Israel says it is trying to root out Hamas fighters.

In Rafah, a southern border city where Israeli forces have been operating since May, five Palestinians were killed in an airstrike on a house. In nearby Khan Younis, a man, his wife and two children were killed, they said.

In the historic Nuseirat camp in central Gaza, at least four Palestinians were killed in separate shelling and aerial strikes in central Gaza, medics said. An Israeli airstrike killed four in Sheikh Zayed in northern Gaza, they said.

The Israeli military said troops continued “intelligence-based” activities in Rafah, and that airstrikes had targeted militants, tunnels, and other Hamas military infrastructure.

It said the Israeli air force had struck around 40 targets across the enclave, including sniping and observation posts, military structures, and buildings rigged with explosives.

The armed wings of Hamas and Islamic Jihad, a Hamas ally, said their fighters had attacked Israeli forces in several locations with anti-tank rockets and mortar bombs.

Islamic Jihad’s armed wing said it had fired missiles at Sderot in southern Israel. There was no word of any deaths or serious damage.

Israel vowed to eradicate Hamas after its militants killed 1,200 people and took over 250 hostages in an attack on southern Israeli communities last Oct. 7, according to Israeli tallies.

More than 38,000 Palestinians have been killed in Israel’s retaliatory offensive, according to health authorities in Gaza, much of which has been devastated. Israel also says 326 of its soldiers have been killed in Gaza.

Relatives visited Al-Aqsa Hospital in Deir Al-Balah in central Gaza to say farewell to relatives before funerals.

“This is so unfair the number of martyrs (victims), every minute there is a martyr,” elderly Palestinian Sahar Abu Emeira said. “We’re exhausted, we’re devastated, we are extremely tired, our patience is over. Whether Hamas or the others (Israel) they need to agree as soon as possible.”

TALKS PAUSED

Efforts mediated by Egypt and Qatar to end the conflict and release the hostages, as well as Palestinians in Israeli jails, had appeared to be making some progress, negotiators had said.

The talks stalled on Saturday after three days of intense negotiations failed to produce a viable outcome, Egyptian security sources said, and after an Israeli strike targeting Hamas’ top military chief, Mohammed Deif.

The attack in the Khan Younis area killed more than 90 people and wounded hundreds, Gaza health authorities said.

A Palestinian official close to the negotiations told Reuters Hamas was keen not to be seen as halting the talks despite the stepped-up Israeli attacks.

“Hamas wants the war to end, not at any price. It says it has shown the flexibility needed and is pushing the mediators to get Israel to reciprocate,” said the official.

He said Hamas believed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was trying to avoid a deal by adding more conditions that restrict the return of displaced people to northern Gaza and to maintain control over the Rafah border with Egypt,

US State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller said on Monday that two senior advisers to Netanyahu had said Israel is still committed to reaching a ceasefire.


Weapons experts: US-supplied bombs used in Israeli strike of Gaza ‘safe zone’

Updated 16 July 2024
Follow

Weapons experts: US-supplied bombs used in Israeli strike of Gaza ‘safe zone’

  • A sliver of munition seen in a video of the blast site circulating online was a tail fin from a US-made Joint Direct Attack Munition
  • Former US Army explosive ordnance disposal technician: ‘it’s 100 percent a JDAM kit’ made in the United States

JERUSALEM: Israel’s deadly strike on Al-Mawasi, one of the bloodiest attacks in more than nine months of war in Gaza, used massive payload bombs provided by the United States, according to weapons experts.
The bombing of the Israeli-declared “safe zone” transformed the tent city on the Mediterranean coast into a charred wasteland, with nearby hospitals overrun with casualties.
According to the health ministry in the Hamas-run territory, the barrage killed at least 92 people and wounded more than 300.
The Israeli military said it targeted two “masterminds” of the October 7 attacks by Hamas that triggered the war. It said a top commander, Rafa Salama, was killed in the strike, but uncertainty remains over Hamas military chief Mohammed Deif.
AFP videos of the attack showed a white mushroom cloud billowing over a busy street, leaving behind a huge crater strewn with the wreckage of tents and a building blown to bits.
Here is what we know about the weaponry used in the attack:
Two weapons experts said that a sliver of munition seen in a video of the blast site circulating online was a tail fin from a US-made Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM). AFP could not independently verify the video.
The GPS-aided kit converts unguided free-fall bombs — so-called “dumb bombs” — into precision-guided “smart” munitions that can be directed toward single or multiple targets.
The United States developed the kit to improve accuracy in adverse weather after Operation Desert Storm in 1991.
The first JDAMs were delivered in 1997 and, according to the US Air Force, have a 95 percent system reliability.
Trevor Ball, a former US Army explosive ordnance disposal technician, concluded from images of the Al-Mawasi strike “it’s 100 percent a JDAM kit” made in the United States.
He said that given the types of bombs compatible with the guidance system and the size of the fin fragment, the JDAM was most likely used with either a 1,000 or 2,000 pound (450 or 900 kilogram) payload.
He said the fragment could also be compatible with the BLU-109 “bunker buster” warhead, which is designed to penetrate concrete.
Ball said it was not possible to definitively determine where the payload itself was made without “very specific fragments of the bomb body.”
Repeated use of such large bombs in the densely populated Gaza Strip has sparked humanitarian outcry and heaped pressure on US President Joe Biden to reconsider the munitions supplied to Israel.
On July 12, Israel’s main military backer announced it was ending a pause on supplying 500-pound bombs, though Biden said the 2,000-pound type would be withheld.
The White House has repeatedly voiced frustration over the civilian death toll in Gaza as Israel attempts to eradicate Hamas.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken told two top Israeli officials on Monday that the civilian toll was “unacceptably high,” his spokesman said.
Israeli officials said their “precise strike” in Al-Mawasi hit an open area that housed a Hamas compound and not a civilian camp.
When contacted by AFP regarding the weapons used, the Israeli military declined to comment.
Based on Israel’s stated target, Wes Bryant, a retired US Air Force master sergeant and strike and joint targeting expert, said it would have been feasible to avoid collateral damage in the surrounding area.
“My assessment is that any civilians killed in this strike were in the compound — not in the surrounding vicinity. So the IDF either failed to assess presence of civilians, or... deemed the risk to civilians proportional to the military advantage of taking out the Hamas leaders.”
The strike left Al-Mawasi a scene of “absolute destruction” with no water, electricity or sewage treatment, the Islamic Relief charity said.
It condemned Israel for its willingness “to kill innocent men, women and children in pursuit of its end goals.”
Hamas said that by arming Israel, the Biden administration is “legally and morally responsible” for spawning a “major humanitarian catastrophe.”
It said US-supplied weapons used by Israel included GPS-guided bombs, dumb bombs, bunker busters and JDAMs.
After repeated high-casualty strikes in recent days, a Hamas official said the group was withdrawing from indirect talks for a truce and hostage release deal with Israel.
The war was sparked by Hamas’s October 7 attack on Israel, which resulted in the deaths of 1,195 people, mostly civilians, according to an AFP tally based on Israeli figures.
Israel responded with a military offensive that has killed at least 38,664 people in Gaza, also mostly civilians, according to the Hamas-ruled territory’s health ministry.