Tuesday, October 24, 2023

Hamas releases 2 more hostages; Gaza health ministry says death toll tops 5,000. China urges Gaza ceasefire, willing to do whatever needed to end violence. #Israel #Palestine #Gaza

The latest news is that Hamas released two elderly hostages on Monday, bringing the total to four. The Palestinian militant organization announced the release of Nurit Cooper and Yochved Lifshitz, and the International Committee of the Red Cross confirmed the news.

Their transfer follows the Friday release of two American hostages. It’s been more than two weeks since Hamas launched its attack on Israel, killing at least 1,400 people and taking captive more than 200 people. 

Israel continued its bombardment in the last 24 hours and as per Gaza Ministery of Health, 400 people were killed.

China's special envoy on the Middle East is willing to do “whatever is conducive” to promote dialogue, secure a ceasefire, and restore peace amid the deepening conflict in Gaza, China’s state media has reported.

Zhai Jun a veteran diplomat is currently on a tour of the region and described the situation in Gaza as “very serious”, state-run China Central Television said on Monday. He further added that a potential large-scale ground conflict and armed conflicts spreading to neighboring countries were “worrisome”.

He said China will continue close communication with all parties and the international community,  who took part in Sunday’s Cairo peace summit, where United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called for swift “action to end this godawful nightmare” after two weeks of war.

The present conflict erupted on October 7 after Hamas launched a surprise attack on southern Israel killing at least 1,400 people and taking more than 200 captive. Israel responded with force, declaring war on the besieged Gaza Strip and subjecting the territory to relentless bombardment. At least 5087 Palestinians have been killed so far and 40% are children as per the Gaza Ministry of Health.

At the Cairo meeting, Zhai called for an “immediate ceasefire and an end to the fighting as quickly as possible”, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement.

“China believes that force is not a way to resolve the problem and that responding to violence with violence will only lead to a vicious circle of revenge,” Zhai said.

Beijing has maintained good relations with Israel but has also supported the Palestinian cause for decades.

The Chinese envoy is on a diplomatic tour of the region, aimed at trying to secure an avenue for humanitarian supplies into the territory and work towards a ceasefire. He has already held phone calls with foreign ministers from countries including Palestine and Israel as well as with representatives from the UN and European Union.

China has provided and will continue to provide emergency assistance to Palestinians through the UN and via bilateral channels to help alleviate the humanitarian crisis, state media quoted Zhai.

The Rafah crossing between Gaza and Egypt was opened at the weekend to allow some aid trucks into Gaza, with a convoy of 17 trucks carrying food, water, and medical aid, entering the territory on Sunday. Gaza is home to some 2.3 million people.

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