But international pressure is mounting for a new ceasefire and Israel is facing pressure, including from its staunch ally the United States, to reduce civilian casualties in Gaza. US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said on Wednesday that Washington expects Israel to scale back its military operations amid more targeted operations against Hamas’ leadership and its infrastructure. “When that happens, I think we’ll see a significant reduction in harm to the public,” Blinken said.
The Israeli military is trying to gain control of as much ground as possible in Gaza before political pressure mounts and halts operations. Israeli television Channel 13 said the army had twice in recent days found a new hideout in a Hamas tunnel system used by the militant group’s leader in Gaza, Yahya Shinwar, but on both occasions he fled in time.
Since the collapse of a recent ceasefire earlier this month, the war has entered a more intense phase, with ground fighting once confined to the northern part of the Gaza Strip now spreading across the territory. International aid groups say 85 percent of Gaza’s 2.3 million people have been forced to flee their homes and face dire conditions. Israel has asked residents to move south, putting additional pressure on towns like Khan Younis and Rafah. Heavy fighting continues around the center of Khan Yunis, which Israeli forces have partially captured.
In New York, the UN has until Thursday to vote on a new UN resolution on much-needed aid to Gaza. The Security Council again delayed. The U.S. is trying to change the text of the cease-fire text in the war between Israel and Hamas, and put the United Nations in charge of inspecting them to make sure they are actually carrying humanitarian supplies. .
Blinken said the U.S. was heavily involved and “in very good faith” in the negotiations on the resolution, “so I believe we can move to a new place.”
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