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Israel says no pause in Gaza fighting, continues to pound enclave despite truce

A man looks at the rubble of a house after an Israeli strike in Khan Yunis, in the southern Gaza Strip on November 22, 2023. (Photo by AFP)

Israel says there will be no halt to the fighting in the Gaza Strip, as it continues to bombard the besieged enclave despite agreeing to a four-day truce with the Palestinian resistance movement Hamas.

An unnamed Israeli official told AFP early on Thursday that the temporary ceasefire and the planned release of prisoners have been delayed and will not come into effect until Friday at the earliest.

The official’s comments came after Tzachi Hanegbi, an adviser to Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, said none of the prisoners held by Hamas in Gaza would be freed before Friday.

“The release will begin according to the original agreement between the parties, and not before Friday,” he said in a statement on Wednesday night, adding that talks on the deal were continuing.

Hanegbi gave no reason for the delay, and it was not clear when Israel would begin a four-day pause in its attacks on Gaza, which was expected to take effect at 10 a.m. local time Thursday.

Early on Wednesday, Hamas announced a four-day truce with Israel in the Gaza Strip that will see the cessation of Israeli assaults on the Gaza Strip.

Hamas said in a statement that the deal, mediated by Qatar and Egypt, will allow the entry of hundreds of humanitarian, medical and fuel aid trucks to Gaza.

The deal will also see the release of 50 Israeli war prisoners in exchange for the release of 150 Palestinian women and children from the occupying entity’s jails.

Meanwhile, Israel has continued to attack Gaza in the hours after an agreement was reached between the two sides for a truce, striking various parts across the blockaded territory and leaving many injured.

Local sources reported that Israeli airstrikes targeted a house in Rafah in the south of the Gaza Strip, wounding a number of people, according to Palestine’s official WAFA news agency.

Israeli warplanes also bombed the town of al-Fokhari, east of the southern city of Khan Yunis.

The Israeli military also pounded Beit Lahia town in the north of the Gaza Strip, as well as Beit Hanoun and the Jabalia refugee camp, leaving dozens of citizens dead or injured.

Israel waged the war on Gaza on October 7 after Hamas carried out a surprise attack, dubbed Operation Al-Aqsa Storm, into the occupied territories in response to the occupying regime’s intensified crimes against the Palestinian people.

According to the Gaza-based health ministry, at least 14,500 Palestinians have been killed in the strikes, most of them women and children, and injured around 35,000 others.

Tel Aviv has also imposed a “complete siege” on Gaza, cutting off fuel, electricity, food and water to the more than two million Palestinians living there.

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