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HomeWorld NewsGaza fighting continues despite 'immediate ceasefire' UN resolution | News24

Gaza fighting continues despite ‘immediate ceasefire’ UN resolution | News24

UN vehicles drive amid buildings destroyed in previous Israeli strikes Gaza City, on 25 March 2024, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian Hamas movement. (AFP)

  • There was no sign that hostilities between Israel and Hamas were abating on Tuesday.
  • The UN Security Council adopted a resolution calling for a ceasefire.
  • The Palestinian death toll was set at 32 333 so far.

Israeli troops battled Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip on Tuesday, with no sign of a let-up in the war despite a UN Security Council resolution demanding an “immediate ceasefire”.

The resolution was adopted on Monday after Israel’s closest ally the United States abstained.

It demands an “immediate ceasefire” for the ongoing Muslim holy month of Ramadan, leading to a “lasting” truce.

It also demands that Hamas and other militants free hostages they took during the unprecedented 7 October attacks on Israel, though it does not directly link the release to a truce.

After the vote, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres led calls for the resolution to be implemented.

“Failure would be unforgivable,” he wrote on social media platform X.

READ | Israel defiant after UN Security Council finally calls for ceasefire, US perplexed by Netanyahu

Israel reacted furiously to the US abstention, as it allowed the resolution to go through with all the other 14 Security Council members voting yes.

The resolution is the first since the Gaza war erupted to demand an immediate halt in the fighting.

A handout picture taken and released by the Britis

A handout picture taken and released by the British Ministry of Defence (MOD) shows humanitarian aid being airdropped over Gaza from a RAF A400M aircraft. The Royal Air Force airdropped over 10 tonnes of food supplies into Gaza for the first time on 25 March, as part of international efforts to provide life-saving assistance to civilians. (Leah Jones/Crown Copyright 2024/RAF/MOD/AFP)

Washington insisted that its abstention, which followed numerous vetoes, did not mark a shift in policy, although it has taken an increasingly tougher line with Israel in recent weeks.

The war began with Hamas’ 7 October attacks, which resulted in about 1 160 deaths in Israel, mostly civilians, according to an AFP tally based on official Israeli figures.

Militants also seized about 250 hostages, of whom Israel believes around 130 are still held in Gaza, including 33 presumed dead.

Vowing to destroy Hamas and free the captives, Israel has carried out a relentless bombardment and ground invasion of the coastal territory.

The health ministry in the Hamas-run Gaza Strip on Monday put the Palestinian death toll at 32 333, most of them women and children.

Hamas welcomed the Security Council resolution and reaffirmed its readiness to negotiate the release of hostages in exchange for Palestinian prisoners held by Israel.

Palestinians walk past the rubble of buildings, de

Palestinians walk past the rubble of buildings, destroyed by Israeli bombardment, in the central Gaza Strip on 7 March 2024, amid ongoing battles between Israel and the militant group Hamas. (Mohammed Abed/AFP)

Israel has consistently defended its campaign despite mounting international criticism of its conduct.

Enraged by the US’ abstention, it cancelled the visit of a delegation to Washington.

It said that the abstention “hurts” both its war effort and attempts to release hostages, while Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office described it as “a clear retreat from the consistent position of the US”.

On the ground, the fighting raged on unabated.

In southern Gaza’s Rafah, a key flashpoint in the war, witnesses said Israeli jets pummelled the city on Tuesday.

According to the Israeli army, anti-rocket sirens sounded in Israeli areas around the Gaza Strip.

While Rafah, like other areas around the Gaza Strip, has come under frequent Israeli strikes, it is the only part of the territory where Israel has not sent in ground troops.

It borders Egypt, and 1.5 million Palestinians fleeing the rest of the devastated territory have sought refuge there.

This handout picture released by the Israeli army

This handout picture released by the Israeli army on 13 February 2024, shows troops on the ground in the Gaza Strip, amid ongoing battles between Israel and the Palestinian militant group Hamas. (Israeli Army/AFP)

Netanyahu’s determination to launch a ground operation in Rafah, the city on Gaza’s southern border where most of the territory’s population is sheltering, has become a key point of contention between Israel and the US.

In Rafah, Palestinians welcomed the UN vote and called for the US to use its influence on Israel to secure a ceasefire.

Bilal Awad, 63, said Washington must “stand against an attack on Rafah, and support the return of the displaced to their cities”.

Ihab al-Assar, 60, expressed hope that “Israel will comply” with the Security Council.

Israel has labelled its operations “precise operational activities” and said it has taken care to avoid harm to civilians, but aid agencies have voiced alarm about non-combatants caught up in the fighting.

Elsewhere in the Gaza Strip, the Israeli military said on Monday it was battling militants around two hospitals and reported killing about 20 fighters around Al-Amal over the previous day in close-quarters combat and air strikes.

Palestinians living near Al-Shifa, the territory’s main hospital, have reported corpses in the streets, constant bombardment and the rounding up of men who are stripped to their underwear and questioned.

Israel’s military said it had detained a total of about 500 militants “affiliated with” Hamas and Islamic Jihad, another militant group, during its operation at Al-Shifa.

The fighting came as an independent UN-appointed expert, Francesca Albanese, said there were “reasonable grounds to believe” Israel’s actions in Gaza had met the threshold for “acts of genocide”.

Israel rejected Albanese’s report, due to be presented to the UN’s Human Rights Council on Tuesday, as an “obscene inversion of reality”.

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