Israel battles Hamas as mediators call on both to accept Gaza truce plan

Israel bombarded the Gaza Strip and battled Hamas Sunday as mediators called on both sides to agree to a truce and hostage release deal outlined by US President Joe Biden.

Since Biden spoke at the White House on Friday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has insisted Israel will pursue the war, now nearing its ninth month, until it has destroyed Hamas and freed the captives.

Palestinian militant group Hamas, meanwhile, has said it "views positively" what Biden described as an Israeli proposal.

Netanyahu, a hawkish political veteran leading a fragile right-wing coalition government, is under intense domestic pressure from two sides.

Protesters backing an immediate hostage release, who rallied again Saturday in Tel Aviv, want him to strike a truce deal, but his far-right allies are threatening to bring down the government if he does.

Opposition leader Yair Lapid has offered Netanyahu political support if the government secures a deal.

Fighting rocked Gaza Sunday, with Israel's military reporting air strikes and ground combat.

"We're waiting for an official response from Hamas," he added.

Political pressure

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