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Thursday, May 23, 2024

More than 29,000 Killed in Gaza: Attacks by Houthis in Red Sea continued

Netanyahu's call for Qatar to exert pressure on Hamas, coupled with insinuations of the country's support for the militant group, has strained relations.

Israel’s military operation in Gaza has resulted in the tragic loss of over 29,000 Palestinian lives since October 7, according to the territory’s Health Ministry. This grim toll marks one of the deadliest and most devastating military campaigns in recent memory. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has pledged to pursue the offensive until achieving “total victory” over Hamas, following the militants’ attack on Israeli communities on October 7. Plans are underway for Israeli troops to advance into Rafah, situated on the Egyptian border, where more than half of Gaza’s 2.3 million residents have sought shelter from the violence elsewhere.

Efforts to broker a ceasefire and secure the release of hostages are ongoing, with the United States, Israel’s staunchest ally, collaborating with mediators from Egypt and Qatar. However, these diplomatic endeavors have hit roadblocks in recent days. Netanyahu’s call for Qatar to exert pressure on Hamas, coupled with insinuations of the country’s support for the militant group, has strained relations.

The conflict has also resulted in frequent exchanges of fire between Israel and Hezbollah, the militant group based in Lebanon, posing further risks of escalation. Israeli airstrikes near the southern Lebanese city of Sidon wounded 14 people, according to Lebanese state media. The Israeli military justified the strikes as retaliation for a drone incident near the northern Israeli city of Tiberias earlier that day.

In Gaza, the death toll has tragically climbed to 29,092, with approximately two-thirds of the casualties being women and children. Over 69,000 Palestinians have been injured, overwhelming the already strained healthcare system, with less than half of the hospitals operating at partial capacity.

Houthis attacks continued in Red Sea

The conflict erupted when Hamas-led militants launched an incursion into southern Israel from Gaza on October 7, resulting in the deaths of approximately 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and the abduction of around 250 men, women, and children. Despite some prisoner exchanges in November, around 130 hostages remain in captivity, with a quarter of them presumed dead.

In a separate incident, a missile attack by Yemen’s Houthi rebels damaged a Belize-flagged vessel traversing the Bab el-Mandeb Strait, compelling the crew to abandon ship. Another ship reportedly faced two separate attacks in the Gulf of Aden. The Iran-backed Houthis also claimed responsibility for downing an American MQ-9 Reaper drone, although this has not been confirmed by U.S. forces in the region.

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The U.S. military has responded with new airstrikes targeting the rebels, including one directed at the first Houthi underwater drone detected since their assaults on international shipping commenced in November. The vessel targeted in Sunday’s Houthi attack reported sustaining damage from an explosion near the ship, as per the United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations center.