Deadly hospital attack in Gaza as diplomatic efforts continue

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Paramedics brought the dead and injured to a central Gaza hospital on Sunday after the latest in a day of deadly Israeli strikes on the town of Deir al-Balah.

At least seven people were killed and 15 others injured when a strike hit a house in the town, according to reporters in the area.

They were among 15 dead and at least 45 wounded in Sunday’s attacks.

Israel has kept up its aerial bombardment of Gaza while resisting international calls for a cease-fire.

The Health Ministry in Gaza said 127 bodies had been brought to hospitals in the last 24 hours, bringing the overall death toll to 27,365.

The ministry does not distinguish between civilians and combatants but says most of those killed were women and children.

Palestinians wounded in the Israeli bombardment of the Gaza Strip are treated in a hospital in Deir al Balah on Sunday, Feb. 4, 2024.

US continues diplomatic efforts

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has made his fifth urgent trip to the Middle East since the war between Israel and Hamas in Gaza erupted in October.

The State Department says Blinken will travel to Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Qatar, Israel and the West Bank for talks with regional leaders that will last for most of the week.

Blinken’s latest trip comes amid a flurry of diplomatic activity and discussions over a new possible deal for a pause in Israeli military operations in exchange for the release of hostages held by Hamas.

But the trip also comes as fears have grown in recent days for the possible escalation of the conflict with continued attacks on US personnel and bases in Iraq, Syria and Jordan as well as stepped up military strikes against commercial shipping in the Red Sea by Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthi rebels.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken is making his fifth urgent trip to the Middle East since the war between Israel and Hamas in Gaza erupted in October.

Stéphane Séjourné travels to Egypt

Egypt’s top diplomat received his French counterpart Stéphane Séjourné on Sunday in the New Administrative Capital.

In a news conference after the meeting, Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry warned of a wider conflict in the region if a ceasefire was not reached in Gaza.

“The war in Gaza, the threats we are seeing towards the navigation in the Red Sea, the military operations that took place in Syria and Iraq as well as the military situation on the Israeli-Lebanese borders, all warns from the escalation of the situation and slipping towards a wider conflict,” Shoukry said.

The European Union on Saturday expressed deep concern over reports that the Israeli military intends to take its battle against Hamas to the town of Rafah at Gaza’s border with Egypt where more than a million people have escaped the fighting.

Such an offensive could push the refugees into Egypt, undermining Israel’s peace agreement with the country and angering the United States.

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