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Palestinian leader Abbas presses Blinken to push for Gaza ceasefire as refugee camp struck overnight

GAZA: US top diplomat Antony Blinken made an unannounced visit to the occupied West Bank on Sunday (Nov 5), where Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas urged him to persuade Israel to agree to a ceasefire as more died in a strike on a refugee camp overnight.

A spokesman for the health ministry in the Hamas-run Gaza Strip said earlier on Sunday that Israeli military had struck the Maghazi refugee camp overnight, killing at least 47 people.

In a separate attack, 21 Palestinians from one family, including women and children, were killed in Israeli strikes targeting Gaza overnight, the health ministry said.

Reuters could not independently verify these accounts.

“We demand that you stop them from committing these crimes immediately,” Abbas told Blinken, demanding an “immediate ceasefire” from Israel.

“There are no words to describe the war of genocide and destruction to which our Palestinian people are being subjected in Gaza at the hands of the Israeli war machine, without regard to the rules of international law,” Palestinian news agency WAFA quoted Abbas as telling Blinken.

Foreign ministers from Qatar, Saudi, Egypt, Jordan and the United Arab Emirates met Blinken in Amman on Saturday and also pushed for Washington to convince Israel to agree to a ceasefire.

But Blinken has dismissed the idea, saying it would only benefit Hamas, allowing it to regroup and attack again. Instead, the United States are pushing for localised pauses in fighting to allow in humanitarian aid and for people to leave the densely populated Gaza Strip.

“The Secretary reaffirmed the United States’ commitment to the delivery of life-saving humanitarian assistance and resumption of essential services in Gaza and made clear that Palestinians must not be forcibly displaced,” spokesperson Matthew Miller said.

Abbas has had little sway in Gaza since the Hamas takeover of the enclave in 2007.

Israel says it is targeting Hamas, not civilians, and that the militant Palestinian group is using residents as human shields.

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