Israel bombs central Gaza as mediators discuss truce-hostage plan

Israel's military pounded central Gaza with heavy air strikes on Wednesday as international talks to secure a truce and hostage release deal resumed.

Tensions were high in annexed east Jerusalem as thousands of police guarded Israel's annual "flag march" that has sparked clashes between Jews and Arabs in previous years.

The bloodiest ever Gaza war, sparked by Hamas's October 7 attack on southern Israel, raged on with jets bombing targets overnight and Palestinian officials reporting yet more deaths.

Urban combat and shelling intensified in Gaza's southern city of Rafah, while fighting resumed in central areas. The army announced targeted operational activity in the areas of Bureij and eastern Deir al-Balah.

Bombardment of central Gaza killed 11 people near the Al-Maghazi camp and two near Deir al-Balah, said witnesses and Palestinian officials.

Families rushed the wounded, including children, to hospitals where civilians were once more packing their belongings on pickup trucks and wheelchairs to flee.

Karin Huster, an MSF medical adviser in Gaza, described the situation as "overwhelming".

Militants also took 251 hostages, 120 of whom remain in Gaza, including 41 the army says are dead.


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