Israel under increased pressure after war cabinet minister Gantz resigns

Israeli war cabinet minister Benny Gantz on Sunday announced his resignation amid celebrations for the rescue of four hostages from war-torn Gaza in a raid that Palestinians say killed hundreds.

Gantz's resignation is the latest sign of sharpening domestic dissent over Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's handling of the eight-month war, and is the first major political blow to him during the conflict.

It came after special forces fought gun battles with Palestinian militants on Saturday in central Gaza's crowded Nuseirat refugee camp area as they swooped in to free the four captives.

The Israeli military said the extraction team and captives came under heavy gun and grenade fire, which killed one police officer, while Israel's air force launched strikes that reduced nearby buildings to rubble.

The health ministry in the Hamas-run territory said 274 people were killed and 698 wounded, in what it labelled the "Nuseirat massacre", figures that could not be independently verified.

Among those were at least 64 children, 57 women and 37 elderly people, the ministry said.

"People were screaming -- young and old, women and men," said Nuseirat resident Muhannad Thabet, 35.

"Everyone wanted to flee the place, but the bombing was intense and anyone who moved was at risk of being killed due to the heavy bombardment and gunfire."

Noa Argamani, 26, Almog Meir Jan, 22, Andrey Kozlov, 27, and Shlomi Ziv, 41, had been abducted from the Nova music festival during Hamas's October 7 attack on southern Israel that triggered the war.


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