Ahead of planned four-day pause in hostilities Israel says war to continue for two months after ‘brief respite’.
Hamas has said that about 30 people were killed in an Israeli attack on a United Nations-affiliated school in the Jabalia refugee camp in northern Gaza, as the clock ticks down on a planned truce between the Palestinian group and Israel.
On Thursday, the Gaza Ministry of Health reported 27 fatalities from that strike on the Abu Hussein School run by the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), which was housing displaced Palestinians fleeing violence and intense bombardment in other parts of Gaza.
Israeli forces also launched fresh attacks on the Indonesian Hospital in northern Gaza, targeting the main entrance and power generators.
Ashraf al-Qudra, the ministry’s spokesperson, said the hospital had come under “intense bombardment”, and that “large parts of the building” were being targeted.
More than 200 patients, medical staff, and internally displaced people were currently at the hospital in Beit Lahiya, which has been under siege for a week.
Meanwhile, Israeli fighter jets hit the Sheikh Nasser neighbourhood in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip, killing at least five people and wounding dozens, according to the official Palestinian news agency Wafa.
It also reported that at least 10 people were killed when Israeli forces attacked a residential home in the Sheikh Radwan neighbourhood in northern Gaza.
In the occupied West Bank, 12-year-old Mohammed Ibrahim Fuad Edely was shot and killed by Israeli forces, according to the Palestinian ministry.
The incident brought the number of Palestinians killed in the occupied West Bank since October 7 to 229, 52 of them children.
Israel’s relentless bombardments have killed more than 14,800 people in Gaza since October 7, according to Palestinian officials. In Israel, the official death toll from Hamas’s attacks stands at about 1,200.
Fighting to continue
Mediator Qatar announced that a four-day truce between Israel and Hamas is set to begin at 7am local time (05:00 GMT) on Friday.
But Israeli Defence Minister Yoav Gallant called the upcoming pause a “brief respite … at the end of which the fighting will continue intensely, and we will create pressure to bring back more hostages” during an interview with a navy special operations unit on Thursday.
“At least another two months of fighting is expected,” he said.
Israeli military spokesperson Daniel Hagari said: “The [captive release] outline is not the end of the process but the beginning.”
“In the coming days, we will focus on planning and completing the preparations for the next stages of combat.”
A spokesman for Hamas’s armed wing, Abu Obeida, said that Palestinian fighters remain ready to confront Israeli forces so long as the war continues and called for resistance to Israeli forces in the occupied West Bank.