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Live updates | Israeli strikes raise Gaza death toll as Blinken heads to Mideast

The death toll in the Gaza Strip has increased following the latest Israeli airstrikes on the Palestinian territory

The Associated Press
Monday 05 February 2024 13:02 GMT

The death toll in the Gaza Strip has increased following the latest airstrikes on the Palestinian territory, where the Israeli military is working to root out the leaders of Hamas and to destroy the militant group that attacked southern Israel almost four months ago.

Strikes hit two houses and a mosque in central Gaza on Sunday, killing 29 people and wounding at least 60 others. Separate airstrikes in Rafah, the enclave's southernmost city, killed two children, ages 12 and 2, according to the registration office at the hospital where the bodies were taken.

Israel’s military said it raided the headquarters of Hamas’ brigade in the southern city of Khan Younis and found what it called training materials for the Oct. 7 attack in southern Israel, including “models simulating entrance gates of Israeli kibbutzim, military bases and IDF armored vehicles.”

Hamas and other militants in Gaza are holding dozens of hostages, after having abducted about 250 during the attack that killed about 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and sparked Israel’s blistering offensive. More than 100 hostages were released during a one-week truce in November, in exchange for 240 Palestinian prisoners.

The Israeli offensive in Gaza had killed 27,365 people and wounded more than 66,000 in Gaza as of Sunday morning, the Hamas-ruled territory's Health Ministry reported. The Health Ministry does not distinguish between civilian and combatant deaths, but says most of those killed were women and children.

The White House has urged Israel to make a greater effort to avoid harming civilians and to allow more aid into besieged Gaza. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken is set to return to the region this week, beginning Monday in Saudi Arabia and with planned stops in Egypt, Qatar, Israel and the West Bank.

Currently:

— An argument over the Middle East conflict leaves a Jewish student hospitalized in Berlin

— What to know about the situation in the Middle East this week

— US warns of further retaliation if Iran-backed militias continue their attacks

— Far-right Israel minister suggests that Trump would give more US support to offensive in Gaza

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

Here's the latest:

ISRAELI POLICE KILL A 14-YEAR-OLD IN THE WEST BANK

TEL AVIV — Israeli police say officers shot and killed a Palestinian boy who allegedly attempted to stab them in the occupied West Bank.

Police said the paramilitary border police were carrying out a routine security check in an area east of Jerusalem when a 14-year-old allegedly pulled out a knife and attempted to stab the officers. The officers opened fire, shooting the teen, and were uninjured, police said.

In security footage of the incident released by police, a person is seen approaching the officers and begins lunging at one of them and making stabbing motions. As the individual attempts to flee, the officers are seen opening fire and the suspect falls to the ground.

Police released a photo of a kitchen knife they alleged was used in the attempted stabbing. They said the teen was from east Jerusalem, but his name was not immediately known.

Critics of Israel say its security services use excessive force against Palestinian suspects, allegations that have intensified during the country's war against Hamas in Gaza. Israel has carried out nightly raids in the West Bank to crack down on suspected militants there.

Palestinians have staged several attacks against Israeli security forces and civilians in the West Bank and Israel since the start of the Israel-Hamas war on Oct. 7. Last month, an Israeli woman was killed and 13 injured in a ramming and stabbing attack in a suburb north of Tel Aviv.

SPAIN PLEDGES $3.8 MILLION TO KEEP UN AGENCY IN GAZA GOING

MADRID — Spain’s foreign minister, José Manuel Albares, says his government will give 3.5 million euros ($3.8 million) to the United Nations agency for Palestinian refugees to help it maintain its activities in the short term.

The agency known as UNRWA has had several donor countries suspend their funding after Israel alleged that 12 of its were involved in the Oct. 7 attack that triggered the country's war against Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

UNRWA is the main humanitarian aid organization in Gaza. The Spanish government says it is closely following the investigation of Israel's allegations and has urged the European Union to keep funding the agency.

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