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'Humanitarian pause' in Hamas-Israel war is urged to aid Gaza civilians

GAZA: The United Nations, United States and Canada appealed on Tuesday (Oct 24) for a humanitarian pause in the Israel-Hamas war to allow safe deliveries of aid to civilians short of food, water, medicine and electricity in the Israeli-besieged Gaza Strip.

International pressure for unimpeded aid to Gaza rose as the health ministry in the Hamas-ruled coastal territory said Israeli air strikes had killed more than 700 Palestinians overnight. Ministry spokesman Ashraf Al-Qidra said this was the highest 24-hour death toll in Israel’s two-week-old siege.

UN agencies were pleading “on our knees” for emergency aid to be let into Gaza unimpeded, saying more than 20 times current deliveries were needed to support the narrow strip’s 2.3 million people amid widespread devastation from Israel’s aerial blitz.

Eight trucks containing water, food and medicine entered the Gaza Strip from Egypt late on Tuesday, the Palestinian Red Crescent said.

The United States is negotiating with Israel, neighbouring Egypt and the UN to smooth emergency deliveries into Gaza, but have wrangled over procedures for inspecting the aid and over bombardments on the Gaza side of the border.

“While we remain opposed to a ceasefire, we think humanitarian pauses linked to the delivery of aid that still allow Israel to conduct military operations to defend itself are worth consideration,” a senior US official said.

Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi said after a United Nations Security Council meeting that Israel appeared to be above international law and urged an end to what he termed “double standards” in dealing with the Gaza conflict.

In a statement released on social media, the Palestinian health ministry said at least 5,791 Palestinians had been killed by Israeli bombardments since Oct 7, including 2,360 children. Some 704 were killed in the previous 24 hours alone, it said.

Reuters could not independently verify the ministry figures.

ISRAEL HITS HAMAS TARGETS

The Israeli military said that it killed dozens of Hamas fighters overnight while hitting over 400 Hamas targets, but that it would take time to destroy the Islamist militant group whose deadly cross-border attack on Oct. 7 stunned Israel.

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