The Israeli army was preparing to shift some of its forces from the Gaza Strip to the Lebanese border, as international mediators pushed for a new deal to halt its war with Hamas.
With Gazans already facing dire humanitarian conditions, the United Nations chief was set to meet on Tuesday with key donors who paused funding after members of the UN’s Palestinian refugee agency were accused of taking part in the October 7 attack that sparked the war.
Fears of a widening regional conflict were compounded after Israel’s top ally Washington vowed to respond to an attack that killed three US troops in Jordan.
Israeli ground forces backed by tanks have been focused on Khan Yunis, the hometown of Hamas’s Gaza leader Yahya Sinwar, where the Palestine Red Crescent Society reported artillery fire around the Al-Amal hospital overnight.
Sinwar’s office, military sites and “a significant rocket manufacturing facility” were raided by troops, the Israeli military claimed.
Israeli strikes across the besieged Gaza Strip killed 128 people overnight, the health ministry in the Hamas-run Palestinian territory said early on Tuesday.
Israeli Defence Minister Yoav Gallant said late Monday that some units in Gaza were “moving up to the north and preparing for what’s to come” — a reference to the Israeli-Lebanese border, where there have been almost daily exchanges of fire with Hezbollah militants aligned with Hamas.
In the latest efforts to broker a new truce, CIA chief William Burns met top Israeli, Egyptian and Qatari officials in Paris on Sunday.
Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani, who attended the talks, said Monday that “good progress” had been made, and that the parties were “hoping to relay this proposal to Hamas and to get them to a place where they engage positively and constructively in the process”.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken expressed hope for the deal.
“Very important, productive work has been done. And there is some real hope going forward,” Blinken told reporters after the Paris talks.