Hamas 'open to any ideas or proposals for a complete and final cessation of aggression in Gaza' - as it happened

Ahram Online , Thursday 28 Dec 2023

As Gaza enters its 83rd day of Israel's brutal war, seven Palestinians were killed in an attack on Nuseirat camp, Israel expanded its ground operation into the center and continued artillery shelling in Khan Younis, while its forces raided the occupied West Bank cities, killing at least one Palestinian and injuring 15, while seizing $2.5 million from exchange shops.

Israeli troops
Israeli troops on the ground in the Gaza Strip amid continuing battles between Israel and the Palestinian militant group Hamas on December 28, 2023. AFP

 

22:00  A Hamas official said Thursday that the Palestinian group is “open to any ideas or proposals for a complete and final cessation of aggression against our people in the Gaza Strip.”

Osama Hamdan said the group is not interested in a “partial or temporary cessation of aggression” and reiterated the group’s official position that the remaining hostages who have been held in Gaza since the group launched its Al-Aqsa flood operation against Israel would only be released after a permanent ceasefire is implemented.

Hamdan was responding to a question at a press conference about the ongoing discussions regarding a roadmap to end the Israel-Hamas war -- including a proposal Egypt recently suggested.

As for the enclave’s post-war governance, Hamdan said it would be a “decision of the Palestinian people alone” and that Palestinians in Gaza would “not accept a leadership that comes on the back of a Zionist or American tank or under the protection of this tank.”

He reiterated the group’s denial of a claim, made by a spokesman for Iran’s Revolutionary Guard on Wednesday, that the 7 Oct. Al-Aqsa Flood operation was launched in retaliation for the 2020 killing of Gen. Qassem Soleimani, head of Iran’s elite Quds Force, in a U.S. drone strike in Iraq. 

Hamdan said the 7 Oct. operation was “a Palestinian operation in planning, preparation, decision and implementation” and was launched as the “result of international collusion that tried to dispose of the Palestinian cause” and in response to Israeli aggression.

20:15  More than 500 Israeli troops have been killed since the Israeli war on Gaza began on 7 October, Israel's military has said.

It added that more than 160 Israeli soldiers have been killed and 900 wounded since the beginning of Israel's ground offensive against Gaza in late October, as troops began engaging Hamas fighters in close combat.

17:30  The health ministry in the Gaza Strip said Thursday at least 21,320 people have been killed in the Palestinian territory since the Israeli war on Gaza erupted on 7 October.

Another 55,603 people have been wounded, Health Ministry Spokesman Ashraf al-Qudra said in a televised press conference, nearly 12 weeks into the fighting that followed Hamas's Al-Aqsa flood operation against Israel on 7 October.

Qudra said at least 210 people have been killed in Gaza over the past 24 hours, "including entire families".

The health ministry in a statement also raised the alarm over the spread of disease among children and the overall lack of water, food, and medicine in the besieged strip.

"The humanitarian and health conditions of the displaced have reached catastrophic levels," it said.

As the Israeli war raged in the southern city of Khan Yunis, health officials called for medical facilities to be protected.

"The Israeli occupation is repeatedly targeting the vicinity of Nasser Hospital and Al-Amal Hospital, affiliated with the Palestinian Red Crescent Society," the health ministry said.

Earlier Thursday, the Red Crescent said it feared that the intensification of deadly strikes near Al-Amal hospital could be "a prelude to targeting it directly".

Israel has vowed to destroy Hamas, and officials have said the war could last months more.

16:30 Israel has given preliminary approval to Cyprus for a maritime humanitarian corridor to ship aid to the besieged and war-torn Gaza Strip, the foreign ministry said on Thursday.

The proposal, in the works for more than a month, aims to deliver large quantities of badly needed aid to Palestinians in Gaza, where Israel has waged a nearly three-month war.

Gaza's 2.4 million people are suffering chronic shortages of water, food, fuel and medicine, with only limited aid entering the Palestinian coastal territory.

13:11 The UNRWA said that "Gaza is grappling with catastrophic hunger. 40 percent of the population are now at risk of famine."

"Every day is a struggle for survival, finding food and finding water," Thomas White, director of UNRWA affairs in Gaza was quoted as saying on X.

"The reality is, we need more aid. The only remaining hope is a humanitarian ceasefire."

13:00 Two more journalists have been killed in Israeli strikes in Gaza, raising the total death toll of journalists in the strip to 105, the Government Media Office said.

More than 30 people were killed in the Israeli occupation army attack on a residential square in Beit Lahiya, including photojournalist Ahmed Khair al-Din and journalist Mohammad Khair al-Din, Palestinian news agency Wafa reported.

Photojournalist Ahmad Maher Khair al-Din, killed along with journalist Mohammad Khair al-Din in the Israeli attack.

12:45 The Palestinian Monetary Authority (PMA) condemned the Israeli occupation army's raid on six exchange companies across multiple governorates in the West Bank.

The PMA asserted that Israel's objective was to undermine confidence in the Palestinian banking sector, emphasizing that these companies fell under its control and supervision, Wafa news agency reported.

The PMA said that Israel's actions violated international norms, laws, charters, and agreements noting its active engagement with relevant authorities to address this attack.

During the incursion, occupation forces targeted six exchange companies in different West Bank cities, apprehending several owners and forcibly seizing funds from their safes.

11:38 At least 50 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli strikes in Beit Lahia, Khan Younis and Maghazi camp, the health ministry said.

Meanwhile, a large fire broke out in Rafah after an Israeli strike targeted tents with displaced people in the Tal Al-Zohour neighbourhood.

Here are some of the photos coming from Gaza today.

Picture released by the Israeli army on December 28, shows troops on the ground in the Gaza Strip. AFP 


People hang their laundry on makeshift shelters at a camp for displaced Palestinians in Rafah. AFP 


People stand over the shrouded bodies of loved ones killed during Israeli bombardment at Nasser Hospital in Khan Yunis. AFP 


Relatives mourn over the body of a loved one killed during Israeli bombardment at Nasser Hospital in Khan Yunis. AFP 

11:29 The Palestinians in Gaza are forced to move again, the UNRWAs says.

"Evacuation order by Israeli authorities of middle Gaza causes ongoing forced displacement."

Over 150,000 people- young children, women carrying babies, people with disabilities and the elderly- have nowhere to go.

11:00 A UN report released today deplored "the rapidly deteriorating human rights situation in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem," since 7 October, and calls on Israel to "end unlawful killings and settler violence against the Palestinian population."

The report, released by the UN high commissioner for human rights (OHCHR) calls for "an immediate end to the use of military weapons and means during law enforcement operations, an end to arbitrary detention and ill-treatment of Palestinians, and the lifting of discriminatory movement restrictions,"

The OHCHR says it has verified the killing of 300 Palestinians, including 79 children, from 7 October to 27 December. Of these, Israeli Security Forces killed at least 291 Palestinians, terrorist settlers killed eight, and one Palestinian was killed either by Israeli Security Forces or settlers. Prior to 7 October, 200 Palestinians had already been killed in the area in 2023 - the highest number in a ten-month-period since the UN began keeping records in 2005.

“The violations documented in this report repeat the pattern and nature of violations reported in the past in the context of the long-standing Israeli occupation of the West Bank. However, the intensity of the violence and repression is something that has not been seen in years,” said UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Türk, reflecting on the findings of the report.

The report described a sharp increase in airstrikes as well as in incursions by armoured personnel carriers and bulldozers sent to refugee camps and other densely populated areas in the West Bank, resulting in deaths, injuries and extensive damage to civilian objects and infrastructure. "These incursions, which continue to take place, have resulted in the death of at least 105 Palestinians, among them 23 children, since 7 October up to today."

Read the full report here.

Mourners carry the body of Hazem Qatawi (23), who was killed during an overnight raid by Israeli occupation forces in Ramallah, AFP.

10:52 A video released by the Palestinian Red Crescent depicts the aftermath of an Israeli strike near El Amal City Hospital in Khan Younis, that killed the a dozen individuals.

Among the wounded is a child, seen being hurried into an ambulance for immediate medical attention.

10:50 "Day after day, the needs of Gaza’s war-ravaged people grow. Peril, ill-health, hunger, thirst, lack of shelter—these should not be the norm for millions of people. But sadly, they are," said Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO).

"Security Council members must urgently turn their recent resolution—to create pauses in hostilities, and humanitarian corridors—into reality in Gaza," he added in a post on X.

"Actions, not words, are what Gaza’s people need today. Above all, they need a #CeasefireNOW."

 

10:32 According to an Al Jazeera correspondent, at least one person has been killed and several others were injured in an Israeli bombing targeting the Al-Wafiya neighborhood in Khan Yunis, in the southern part of the Gaza Strip.

9:55 There is "no difference" between what Israeli Premier Benjamin Netanyahu is doing in the months-long attacks on Gaza and what Nazi leader Adolf Hitler did decades ago, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Wednesday.

At a science awards ceremony in the capital Ankara, Erdogan stated, "How do you (Netanyahu) differ from Hitler? These (actions) will make us look for Hitler as well. Is there anything Netanyahu does that is less than Hitler? No", Anadolu news agency reported.

Just like 80 years ago in Nazi Germany, Erdogan said that today, scholars worldwide who have the courage to decry the oppression and persecution in Gaza are facing pressure and threats, referring to academics in the US and elsewhere being fired or censured for standing up for Palestinians.

Germany is still paying the price for Hitler's actions, he continued, adding, "That's why Germany remains silent ... but we don't owe anyone. We have no debts, it is the West that owes. Because of its debt, it cannot speak up."

A "witch hunt" has been initiated against anyone criticizing Israel, including students, in many internationally renowned educational institutions, he added.

Emphasizing that hospitals, schools, places of worship, and universities have been bombed and scientists in Gaza with their families were killed, Erdogan said almost 100 journalists trying to expose the" barbarity" in Gaza have been killed.

"We are following with a heavy heart the massacre of 2.5 million people confined to a narrow area of ​​only 360 square kilometers," he continued, stating, "Despite the diplomatic efforts made by conscientious countries such as Turkey, unfortunately, we couldn't prevent the killing of hundreds of Gazans every day."

"Despite our aid, efforts, and contacts, as a Muslim and, most importantly, as a human being, we are experiencing the embarrassment of not being able to stop this oppression within our own conscience," Erdogan added.

9:45 Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has emphasized the necessity of ending the ongoing "injustice" against Palestinians and breaking the enduring "vicious cycle of violence" that has afflicted generations of Palestinians.

“It is necessary to cut the vicious cycle of violence, to remove the injustice that several generations of Palestinians have been suffering from,” he said in an interview for Russian state news agency TASS. 

“This is the only way to achieve stabilization in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict area and in the entire Middle Eastern region in general.”

9:40 The Palestine Red Crescent Society announced that 10 people have been killed and at least 12 injured in a Israeli bombing near its Al-Amal Hospital in Khan Younis.

9:15 French President Emmanuel Macron has demanded a “lasting ceasefire” in Gaza during a call with Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, his office said.

“France will work in the coming days in cooperation with Jordan to carry out humanitarian operations in Gaza,” the French presidency added in a statement, according to AFP.

Macron, an ally of Netanyahu, told the Israeli premier of his "deepest concern" about civilian deaths and the humanitarian emergency in Gaza.

He also insisted on the importance of measures to end violence by Israeli settlers against Palestinian civilians in the occupied West Bank and prevent new planned settlements.

9:05 Israeli occupation forces raided Ramallah and other cities across the occupied West Bank, killing at least and injuring at least 15 others. 

Israel raids targeted money exchange shops across several cities and seized about $2.5m.

In one case, Israeli forces blew up the safe of an exchange shop to confiscate the funds. So far, 10 raids have taken place in the cities of Ramallah, al-Bireh, Hebron, Halhul, Nablus, Jenin, Tulkarem and Jericho.

9:02 The Israeli army announced the deaths of three more soldiers in the Gaza Strip, bringing the total number killed to 167.

9:00 At least seven Palestinians have been killed in an Israeli attack on Nuseirat camp, as reported by the Palestinian news agency Wafa, as Israel expands ground operation into central Gaza.

Along the eastern border, the Israeli army continues its artillery shelling campaign, destroying more residential buildings in the eastern part of Khan Younis.

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