Israel’s military has vowed the Iran tensions will not distract it from the ongoing war in Gaza where it aims to destroy Hamas and bring home the hostages.

Truce talks involving US, Qatari and Egyptian mediators have so far failed to bring a deal, and Israel has rejected a Hamas demand that it withdraw its forces from Gaza.

The war started after Hamas launched an attack on Oct 7 that resulted in the deaths of 1,170 people in Israel, mostly civilians, according to Israeli figures.

The militants also took about 250 hostages, of whom Israel estimates 129 remain in Gaza, including 34 who are presumed dead.

Israel’s retaliatory offensive has killed at least 33,843 people in Gaza, mostly women and children, according to the health ministry in the Hamas-run territory.

Fifteen people, including children, were killed in the southern city of Khan Yunis on Tuesday morning, it said.

The war and siege have triggered a dire humanitarian crisis in Gaza, with desperate shortages of food, water, medicines and fuel, alleviated only by sporadic aid deliveries.

Israel has faced growing global opposition to the relentless war that has reduced vast areas of Gaza to a wasteland of gutted buildings, bomb craters and mountains of rubble.

Netanyahu has insisted, despite US objections, that the army will invade Gaza’s far-southern city of Rafah where some 1.5 million people live in shelters.

The army said Tuesday that in ongoing combat, its troops operated in central Gaza and tanks killed “a number of terrorists identified advancing towards them”.

Fighter jets destroyed “terror tunnels and military compounds where armed Hamas terrorists were located”, the army said.

The United Nations has warned that the Gaza war and siege have caused “the highest levels of catastrophic hunger in the world”.


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