The Israeli attacks on Thursday come despite Blinken calling on the occupation to reduce civilian casualties.
Israel bombarded the southern Gaza Strip, just as U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken ended his regional tour with Egypt on Thursday for crucial talks on containing the ever-escalating violence.
On Thursday, Israel’s occupation forces launched air and ground attacks in the central and southern Gaza Strip.
The Gaza health ministry reported that Israeli attacks overnight resulted in the deaths of dozens of individuals. Among the casualties were those killed in Israeli airstrikes on Khan Younis, the second-largest city in the Gaza Strip.
At least 23,469 Palestinians have now been killed and more than 59,604 wounded in Israeli attacks on Gaza since October 7, mostly children and women.
While in Cairo, Blinken held discussions with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, whose country has been acting as a mediator, alongside Qatar, in negotiations between Hamas and Israel.
Blinken’s meeting in Egypt came after discussions with Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas the day before, where he stated that Abbas is “committed” to reforming the authority and potentially unifying Gaza and the West Bank under its leadership post-war.
Blinken’s nine-country regional trip ended after Wednesday’s UN Security Council resolution that demanded Yemen’s Houthi rebels “immediately cease” attacks in the Red Sea in solidarity with Palestine.
“I don’t think the conflict is escalating,” and no one wants that, Blinken told reporters on the airport tarmac at the end of his trip in Cairo.
“Israel doesn’t. Lebanon doesn’t. I actually don’t think Hezbollah does,” he added.
At the same time, Blinken’s trip occurred as Israel faced accusations of committing genocide in Gaza at the UN’s top court on Thursday, brought forward by South Africa.
“No armed attack on a state territory, no matter how serious… can provide justification for or defend breaches of the convention,” said Pretoria’s Justice Minister Ronald Lamola at the court in The Hague on Thursday.
Meanwhile, an Israeli strike on an ambulance in central Gaza killed four medics and two other passengers on Wednesday, the Palestinian Red Crescent Society said.
In Deir al-Balah, also in central Gaza, victims of a school strike were rushed to the Al-Aqsa hospital. A resident, Ramadan Darwit, expressed the dire situation, telling AFP at the hospital, “There are injured people at the school since last night, no cars or ambulances are reaching it, nothing.”
The Israeli attacks continue despite Blinken calling on the occupation to reduce civilian casualties.
He made this call both in Tel Aviv in the presence of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and he further reaffirmed it on Wednesday in Ramallah, the administrative capital of the Palestinian Authority (PA), during a meeting with President Abbas.
After almost four months of continuous and relentless Israeli airstrikes, Blinken also called for an acceleration of humanitarian aid delivery to address the urgent needs of the enclave’s population.
Despite Israel’s Defence Ministry’s announcement last week about transitioning to a new phase focusing on strategic targets rather than widespread, indiscriminate attacks, Israeli occupation forces have escalated operations in the central and southern areas of the Gaza Strip.