Israeli bombardment kills at least 23 in central Gaza

At least 23 Palestinians were killed on Thursday in Israeli bombardments of houses in central Gaza, the enclave’s health ministry said in a statement.

Over 97 people were killed over the past 24 hours in Gaza, the health ministry earlier said, as a US envoy was in Israel for fresh efforts to secure a truce.

International concern has spiraled over the territory’s escalating civilian death toll and the desperate humanitarian crisis sparked by the war that followed Hamas’s October 7 attack against Israel.

Brett McGurk, White House coordinator for the Middle East and North Africa, held talks with Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant in Tel Aviv, after meeting with other mediators in Cairo.

Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh was in the Egyptian capital for truce talks earlier this week, the group said.

Mediators including the United States, Qatar and Egypt have tried and so far failed to broker a ceasefire and hostage release deal, but this week have been making a new push to break the deadlock.

The Israeli defense ministry said the discussion with McGurk covered returning hostages, “operational developments in Hamas strongholds in central and southern Gaza, and humanitarian aid efforts”, as well as “the “importance of dismantling remaining Hamas battalions.”

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