Israeli bombing kills 140 in Gaza as war rages on: Latest updates and international efforts to secure ceasefire

Israeli bombing kills 140 in Gaza as war rages on: Latest updates and international efforts to secure ceasefire

The besieged Gaza Strip was rocked by deadly fighting and air strikes, with Israeli bombing killing 140 people overnight, including 20 members of one family, according to the health ministry in the Hamas-run Palestinian territory. The Israeli army's war sparked by Hamas's October 7 attack resulted in about 1,140 deaths, mostly civilians, in southern Israel. Ground forces backed by tanks have focused combat operations on the coastal strip's main southern city of Khan Yunis. The war has also led to the seizure of 250 hostages, of whom Israel says around 132 remain in Gaza, including the bodies of at least 28 dead captives.

In the latest efforts to broker a new ceasefire, CIA chief William Burns met top Israeli, Egyptian, and Qatari officials in Paris, but no breakthrough was reported. US President Joe Biden sent Burns to negotiate the release of remaining hostages in exchange for a ceasefire. Since the outbreak of the Gaza war, Israel and the United States have faced attacks from, and struck back at, multiple Iran-backed armed groups with violence also flaring in Lebanon, Iraq, Syria, and Yemen.

The Gaza war has forced more than one million Palestinians to flee to the far-southern Rafah area near the Egyptian border, deepening the humanitarian crisis with hunger and disease spreading in crowded tent cities. The situation has heightened amid a bitter row over the main UN aid agency for Palestinians, UNRWA, which led to major donors freezing funding for the agency.

UN chief Antonio Guterres pleaded for continued financial support, stating that the dire needs of the desperate populations must be met. Israelis, enraged by the October 7 attack, back the war effort by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government, with hundreds of protesters rallying and blocking aid trucks from entering Gaza. The rally also called for the re-establishment of Jewish settlements in the Gaza Strip, showing that the once-fringe position has gained momentum within the hard-right government.

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