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The Latest | UN endorses US-backed cease-fire plan as Blinken holds talks on Gaza


The U.N. Security Council on Monday afternoon overwhelmingly approved a U.S. resolution that welcomes a proposal for a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas.

The U.S. says Israel has accepted the three-phase plan announced by U.S. President Joe Biden, and Hamas welcomed it in a statement shortly after the council’s vote.

The resolution urges both Israel and Hamas “to fully implement its terms without delay and without condition.”

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken also began a new visit to the region on Monday in the shadow of the dramatic rescue of four Israeli hostages held in Gaza and turmoil in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government.

Blinken met with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi in Cairo, but neither made public remarks. Blinken will also travel to Israel, Jordan and Qatar.

While Biden, Blinken and other U.S. officials have praised the hostage rescue, the operation resulted in the deaths of a large number of Palestinian civilians and may complicate the cease-fire push by emboldening Israel and hardening Hamas’ resolve to carry on fighting in the war it initiated with its Oct. 7 attack into Israel.

Israel’s war against Hamas in Gaza has killed more than 36,730 people, according to Gaza’s Health Ministry, which does not distinguish between combatants and civilians in its count. Palestinians are facing widespread hunger because the war has largely cut off the flow of food, medicine and other supplies. U.N. agencies say over 1 million in Gaza could experience the highest level of starvation by mid-July.

Israel launched the war after Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack, in which militants stormed into southern Israel, killed some 1,200 people — mostly civilians — and abducted about 250.

Currently:

Blinken returns to Mideast as Israel-Hamas cease-fire proposal hangs in balance after hostage rescue

— How an Israeli raid freed 4 hostages and killed at least 274 Palestinians in Gaza

— What does Israel’s rescue of 4 captives, and the killing of 274 Palestinians, mean for truce talks?

Centrist Benny Gantz is quitting Israel’s war Cabinet, citing frustrations with Netanyahu

Follow AP’s coverage of the war in Gaza at https://apnews.com/hub/israel-hamas-war

Here’s the latest:

UN agency says Gaza officials report nearly 1,000 dead or injured during Israel’s hostage rescue

UNITED NATIONS — Nearly 1,000 Palestinians were killed or injured during Israel’s military operation to rescue four hostages seized by Hamas during its Oct. 7 attack in southern Israel, the U.N. humanitarian office says, quoting a Gaza Health Ministry report.

The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said in a report Monday that large numbers of casualties from the Israeli operation were taken to Al Aqsa Hospital in Deir al Balah, which is operating at nearly five times its capacity on only one electricity generator.

“Tens of injured people were lying on the floor amid severe shortages of medicines, medical consumables and fuel,” the U.N. office said.

The agency said the Gaza Health Ministry says that during Saturday’s intensive Israeli ground and air strikes at the An Nuseirat Refugee Camp, 274 Palestinians — including 64 children, 57 women and 37 elderly people — were killed and 698 others were injured.

The U.N. sent a mission to Al Aqsa hospital later Saturday and reported it was hosting about 700 patients, nearly five times its pre-war capacity. The U.N. agency said Nasser hospital in southern Khan Younis and Al Awda hospital in northern Gaza were also overwhelmed with injured from the Israeli attack.

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres welcomed the release of the four hostages, but he condemned the deaths and injuries to hundreds of Palestinians during the Israeli operation, U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric said Monday.

Israeli Minister-Counsellor Reut Shapir Ben Naftaly said Hamas’ refusal to release some 120 hostages taken captive during its Oct. 7 attack in southern Israel through diplomacy means Israel’s efforts to bring them home must include military means.

Ben Naftaly told the U.N. Security Council that Saturday’s “heroic” Israeli military operation “was the perfect example of how this can be achieved.” She spoke after the council overwhelmingly approved a cease-fire resolution aimed at ending the eight-month war.

Ben Naftaly said the hostages freed Saturday were being held in residential buildings by Palestinian families with Hamas guards, saying that “so-called innocent civilians” were not only cooperating with Hamas but complicit in its “war crimes.”

“The loss of life of life in Gaza is a tragedy,” she said. “But if you don’t put the blame on Hamas, you’re advancing their strategy.”

4 men reported killed during raid by Israeli forces in West Bank village

RAMALLAH, West Bank — Palestinian officials say four men have been killed by Israeli forces in a village near Ramallah in the occupied West Bank.

According to a joint statement by the Israeli army and police, undercover police forces and soldiers late Monday tracked down a suspect wanted in an attack on a nearby settlement.

It said that the man was hiding in a compound with three other suspects and that forces opened fire when the men tried to run them over with a car and flee. It says weapons were found in the car.

The Palestinian Health Ministry confirmed the deaths in the village of Kafr Ni’ma.

Hamas welcomes UN-endorsed cease-fire plan

BEIRUT — The militant Palestinian group Hamas welcomed Monday the cease-fire resolution approved by the U.N. Security Council, saying it is ready to cooperate with mediators to implement its principles.

Hamas’ statement came shortly after the U.N. Security Council approved its first resolution endorsing a cease-fire plan aimed at ending the eight-month war between Israel and Hamas in Gaza.

The group says the resolution calls for a lasting cease-fire, withdrawal of Israeli troops from Gaza, a prisoners exchange, reconstruction and the return of people displaced by the conflict to their homes.

Hamas added that it is ready to work with mediators in indirect negotiations with Israel to implement the resolution. Qatar and Egypt have been acting as mediators between Hamas and Israel in efforts to end the conflict.

Hamas’ statement was among the strongest to date, but it stressed the group would continue “our struggle” to end the Israeli occupation and work on setting up a “fully sovereign” Palestinian state.

UN endorses US-sponsored plan for a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas

UNITED NATIONS — The U.N. Security Council on Monday approved its first resolution endorsing a cease-fire plan aimed at ending the eight-month Israel-Hamas war in Gaza.

The U.S.-sponsored resolution welcomes a cease-fire proposal announced by President Joe Biden that the United States says Israel has accepted. It calls on Hamas, which initially said it viewed the proposal “positively,” to accept the three-phase plan.

The resolution — approved overwhelmingly with 14 of the 15 Security Council members voting in favor and Russia abstaining — also calls on Israel and Hamas “to fully implement its terms without delay and without condition.”

Whether Israel and Hamas agree to the three-phase cease-fire plan remains in question, but the resolution’s strong support in the U.N.’s most powerful body puts added pressure on both parties.

Israeli police release footage they say shows the rescue of 3 hostages

JERUSALEM — Israeli police have released dramatic footage showing the moment they burst into an apartment in central Gaza and rescued three Israeli hostages.

In the footage, released on Monday evening, body camera footage shows police forces storming through the crowded streets of Nuseirat, firing their weapons and then rushing into an apartment where the three hostages were cowering behind a sofa.

The police ask for their names and then tell them, “Everything is OK, we are here to rescue you, stay calm,” as they continue shooting. The police appear to report back to their commanders that the hostages have been located. The footage could not be independently confirmed by The Associated Press.

The army said that the three captives — Almog Meir Jan, 22, Andrey Kozlov, 27, and Shlomi Ziv, 41 — were held in the home of a Hamas operative in the urban Nuseirat refugee camp.

Israel rescued a fourth hostage from a nearby apartment in the same raid on Saturday afternoon. All four of the hostages were kidnapped from the Nova music festival during the Oct. 7 attack.

At least 274 Palestinians, including dozens of women and children, were killed in the operation, according to Palestinian health officials. A police commando also was killed.

Hamas and other militants are still holding some 120 hostages, around a third of whom are believed to have died. On Monday, Meir Jan, Kozlov and Ziv were released from the hospital. Argamani is at another hospital where her mother is in hospice for terminal brain cancer.

Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad leaders meet in Qatar to weigh cease-fire options

BEIRUT — The leaders of Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad met Monday in Qatar to discuss a proposed cease-fire deal for Gaza, according to a statement released after the talks concluded.

The statement said Ismail Haniyeh of Hamas and Ziad Nakhaleh of Islamic Jihad discussed “indirect talks” to reach a cease-fire. There are no direct talks between Hamas and Israel. According to the statement released by Islamic Jihad, the leaders said any deal must lead to a permanent cease-fire, a full Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza Strip, an end to the Israeli siege of Gaza, reconstruction and “a serious exchange deal” between hostages in Gaza and Palestinians held in Israeli jails.

The U.N. Security Council scheduled a vote Monday afternoon in New York on a U.S. resolution that welcomes a cease-fire proposal announced by President Joe Biden, which it says Israel has accepted. It calls on Hamas to accept the three-phase plan. The plan aims to end an eight-month war in Gaza sparked by Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack in southern Israel that killed about 1,200 people and saw some 250 others taken hostage.

Israel’s military offensive has killed over 36,000 Palestinians, according to Gaza health officials. The toll does not differentiate between combatants and civilians.

UN Security Council will vote on a US resolution that welcomes a cease-fire

UNITED NATIONS — The U.N. Security Council scheduled a vote Monday afternoon on a U.S. resolution that welcomes a cease-fire proposal announced by President Joe Biden, which it says Israel has accepted. It calls on Hamas to accept the three-phase plan.

The draft resolution urges both Israel and Hamas “to fully implement its terms without delay and without condition.”

If adopted, it would represent the first Security Council resolution on a cease-fire plan aimed at ultimately ending the eight-month war in Gaza sparked by Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack in southern Israel that killed about 1,200 people and saw some 250 others taken hostage. Israel’s military offensive has killed over 36,000 Palestinians, according to Gaza health officials.

U.S. Deputy Ambassador Robert Wood told reporters earlier Monday that the United States hoped for a quick vote but wanted to make sure all 15 Security Council members would support the resolution.

“That’s the key here, it’s getting all council members on board with this resolution which gives us the best, most realistic opportunity to bring at least a temporary halt to this war,” he said.

The draft resolution outlines the three-phase plan starting with “an immediate, full, and complete cease-fire with the release of hostages” and remains of those who died, the exchange of Palestinian prisoners and withdrawal of Israeli forces from populated areas in Gaza and the return of Palestinian civilians to all areas in the territory. It also requires the safe distribution of humanitarian assistance “at scale throughout the Gaza Strip.”

In phase two, the draft resolution says that with the agreement of Israel and Hamas, “a permanent end to hostilities, in exchange for the release of all other hostages still in Gaza, and a full withdrawal of Israeli forces from Gaza” will take place.

Phase three would launch “a major multi-year reconstruction plan for Gaza and the return of the remains of any deceased hostages still in Gaza to their families.”

In a new provision, the final draft of the resolution would “underline” that the proposal says if negotiations take longer than six weeks for the first phase, “the cease-fire will still continue as long as negotiations continue.”

An Israeli drone is shot down over Lebanon

BEIRUT — The Israeli military says one of its drones was shot down by a surface-to-air missile while flying over Lebanon.

Monday’s announcement came after residents of the Apple Province region in south Lebanon said they saw a drone crashing in the area.

Lebanon’s militant Hezbollah group said its fighters shot down the Hermes 900 Kochav drone.

The Hermes 900 Kochav is a medium altitude and long endurance drone that can carry four anti-tank guided missiles.

Hezbollah has claimed responsibility for shooting down five drones since the exchange of fire along the Lebanon-Israel border began a day after the Oct. 7 attack on Israel by the Palestinian group Hamas, followed by eight months of Israeli assaults in Gaza.

Over the past nearly eight months, more than 400 people have been killed in Lebanon. Most of them were fighters but they also included more than 70 civilians and noncombatants. In Israel, 15 soldiers and 10 civilians have been killed since October.

Police raid offices of a close Netanyahu ally

JERUSALEM — Israeli police have raided the offices of one of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s closest allies after launching a criminal investigation of fraud.

The country’s attorney general and state prosecutor ordered an investigation into the Transportation Ministry after Channel 13 TV reported that Transportation Minister Miri Regev gave preferential treatment to Israeli cities and towns whose local officials supported her politically.

Regev is one of Netanyahu’s staunchest supporters in the governing Likud party and has been a lightning rod for controversy throughout her political career.

Officers searched the ministry’s Jerusalem offices and confiscated documents, the police said.

Israeli media reported Monday that Regev called the probe “fraudulent” but said the ministry would comply with the investigation

Netanyahu is currently on trial over a series of corruption allegations.

Palestinians say a 15-year-old was killed in a West Bank raid

JERUSALEM — Palestinian health officials say Israeli forces killed a 15-year-old Palestinian in an overnight raid on Al-Fara’a refugee camp in the occupied West Bank.

The military said Monday that its soldiers had begun a raid targeting militants, killing one and wounding two others with live fire.

The Palestinian Health Ministry identified the boy killed as 15-year-old Mahmoud Nabrisi and said five others were wounded in the built-up camp, which dates back to the 1948 Arab-Israeli war.

Also Monday, Israel’s border police said it killed a Palestinian in Tulkarem, a volatile city in the northern West Bank, during an undercover operation to arrest a suspected militant. During the operation, an undercover sniper shot and killed a Palestinian wearing a military vest in the area, the police said.

Palestinian health officials did not immediately confirm the Tulkarem killing, but a traditional funeral procession was planned for Monday afternoon.

Violence in the West Bank escalated dramatically after Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack on Israel, which triggered the war in Gaza.

Frequent Israeli operations in Palestinian cities and towns in the West Bank have driven up a Palestinian death toll that now exceeds 530.

Israel captured the West Bank, Gaza and east Jerusalem in the 1967 Mideast war. The Palestinians want all three territories for their future state.





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