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🔴 Live: Israeli spy chief arrives in Paris for another bid to ‘unblock’ Gaza ceasefire talks

In MIDDLE EAST, World
February 23, 2024

Israel-Hamas war

An Israeli delegation led by Mossad director David Barnea arrived in Paris Friday for talks with the US, Qatar and Egypt in a bid to “unblock” talks for a ceasefire in Gaza, said an Israeli official. Negotiations have ramped up amid international pressure to head off an Israeli assault on Rafah. Meanwhile Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has proposed a postwar plan granting Israel security control over Gaza indefinitely while Palestinians with no links to Hamas and other militant groups run the enclave. Read our liveblog for all the latest updates on the Israel-Hamas war. 

This picture taken from Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip shows smoke billowing during Israeli bombardment of Khan Yunis on February 22, 2024.
This picture taken from Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip shows smoke billowing during an Israeli bombardment of Khan Younis on February 22, 2024. © Said Khatib, AFP

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Summary:

  • Former French foreign minister Catherine Colonna said Thursday that an independent group she leads tasked with assessing the “neutrality” of the UN agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA) aims to produce a “rigorous, evidence-based report” that will help the agency fulfill its mandate.

  • G20 nations broadly back a two-state solution to the conflict in the Middle East, host Brazil said Thursday after a meeting of top diplomats, adding to pressure on Israel to accept an independent Palestinian state.

  • Leaders of major UN and humanitarian organisations are calling on Israel to provide food and medicine and facilitate aid deliveries to the 2.3 million Palestinians in conflict-wracked Gaza – and on world leaders “to prevent an even worse catastrophe from happening”.

  • At least 29,514 people have been killed and 69,616 wounded in Israeli strikes in Gaza, according to health authorities in the Hamas-run enclave. Around 1,140 people were killed in the Hamas-led October 7 attacks, according to Israeli officials. Around 250 people were taken hostage during the attack and 132 are still in Gaza, according to Israeli figures.

  • Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan called on the international community to take a more active role towards an urgent ceasefire in Gaza and a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict during talks at the G20 meeting in Brazil, a Turkish diplomatic source said.
  • A shooting attack near a Jewish settlement in the Israeli-occupied West Bank killed one person and wounded eight, Israeli police said. Violence in the West Bank has escalated since the start of the Gaza war to levels unseen in nearly two decades, with hundreds killed in recent months.
  • Yemen’s Houthis have introduced “submarine weapons” in their attacks on seagoing vessels, which they say they are carrying out in solidarity with Palestinians in Gaza, according to their leader.

  • The head of the UN agency for Palestinian refugees warned it has reached a “breaking point” as it struggles to cope with the war in Gaza.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP, AP, Reuters)

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