All the latest developments on the Israel-Hamas war.
Palestinian death toll soars past 25,000 in Gaza
The Palestinian death toll in Gaza from over three months of war between Israel and the territory’s Hamas rulers has soared past 25,000, the Gaza Health Ministry said on Sunday.
At least 178 bodies were brought to Gaza’s hospitals in 24 hours along with nearly 300 wounded people, according to Health Ministry spokesperson Ashraf al-Qidra.
Women and children are the main victims in the Israel-Hamas war, according to the United Nations.
Since 7 October, some 85% of Gaza’s population have fled their homes, with hundreds of thousands packing into UN-run shelters and tent camps in the southern part of the tiny coastal enclave. UN officials say a quarter of the population of 2.3 million is starving as only a trickle of humanitarian aid enters because of the fighting and Israeli restrictions.
Gaza’s Health Ministry says a total of 25,105 Palestinians have been killed in the territory since 7 October and another 62,681 have been wounded. Al-Qidra said many casualties remain buried under the rubble from Israeli strikes or in areas where medics cannot reach them.
The ministry does not differentiate between civilians and combatants in its death toll but says around two-thirds of those killed were women and minors.
The Israeli military says it has killed around 9,000 militants, without providing evidence, and blames the high civilian death toll on Hamas because it fights in dense, residential neighbourhoods.
The military says 195 of its soldiers have been killed since the start of the Gaza offensive.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has vowed to keep up the offensive until Hamas is dismantled and all the hostages are returned.
Nearly half of the captives were released during a weeklong cease-fire in November in exchange for the release of scores of Palestinians imprisoned by Israel. Israel says some 130 remain in captivity, but only around 100 are believed to still be alive.
Biden and Netanyahu speak – despite differences
President Joe Biden and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu finally spoke on Friday after a glaring, nearly four-week gap in direct communication during which fundamental differences have come into focus over a possible pathway to Palestinian statehood once the fighting in Gaza ends.
Biden and his top aides have all but smothered Netanyahu with robust support, even in the face of global condemnation over the mounting civilian death toll and humanitarian suffering in Gaza.