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Medicine for hostages is en route to Gaza after Qatar and France mediated a deal between Israel and Hamas

The Associated Press
Wednesday 17 January 2024 09:23 GMT

Medicine for hostages was en route to Gaza on Wednesday after Qatar and France mediated a deal between Israel and Hamas — the first agreement between the two since a weeklong cease-fire broke down in November.

The deal came more than 100 days into a conflict that shows no sign of ending and has sparked tensions across the Middle East, with a dizzying array of strikes and counterstrikes in recent days from northern Iraq to the Red Sea and from southern Lebanon to Pakistan.

The United States launched the third strike in recent days against the Houthi rebel group in Yemen, according to a U.S. official. The Houthis have attacked shipping in the crucial Red Sea corridor, saying they seek to halt Israel’s war in Gaza against Hamas.

In northern Gaza, Palestinian militants battled Israeli forces and launched a barrage of rockets from farther south. The Palestinian death toll rose to 24,285 people, Gaza's Health Ministry said Tuesday. In Israel, around 1,200 people were killed during Hamas' Oct. 7 attack that sparked the war and saw some 250 people taken hostage by the militants.

Currently:

— A freed Israeli hostage relives the horrors of captivity. She fears for her husband, still held in Gaza.

— U.S. Senators reject Bernie Sanders’ effort to curb Israel-Hamas war. The vote signals rising unease.

— Iran attacks alleged militant bases in Pakistan. Islamabad says unprovoked strikes kill 2 children.

— A chaotic wave of attacks and reprisals in the Middle East fuel worries of a broader regional war.

— Find more of AP's coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/israel-hamas-war.

Here's the latest:

JERUSALEM — The Israeli army says it killed a senior Palestinian militant in an airstrike in the West Bank.

Ahmed Abdullah Abu Shalal, whom the Israeli military said was responsible for infrastructure and had planned multiple attacks against Israelis in Jerusalem, was killed along with four others early Wednesday in the built-up Balata refugee camp in the city of Nablus.

The Palestinian Red Crescent says Israeli forces prevented medics from reaching the site of the strike, saying in a social media post that “gunfire was directed at our teams.”

The military alleged that Abu Shalal and his cell planned to carry out an imminent attack and had received funding and guidance from “Iranian sources.” It did not provide evidence for the allegation.

Violence has surged in the Israeli-occupied West Bank since the start of the war in Gaza. Over 350 Palestinians have been killed in the last three months, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry, mainly during Israeli arrest raids and violent protests.

Israel has increasingly used airstrikes in the West Bank as the fighting has grown more intense, but targeted killings are still relatively rare in the territory.

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