Middle East crisis live: Gaza ceasefire talks to resume in Cairo, reports say; eight killed in car bomb in northern Syria, war monitor says | Israel


Gaza ceasefire talks to resume in Cairo – reports

Talks aimed at brokering a truce between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip will resume in Cairo on Sunday, Egyptian outlet Al-Qahera reported, days after Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, gave the green light for fresh negotiations.

“An Egyptian security source confirmed to Al-Qahera news the resumption of negotiations on a truce between Israel and Hamas in the Egyptian capital Cairo tomorrow,” an anchor for the channel, which is close to country’s intelligence services, said in a broadcast on Saturday.

Egypt, Qatar and the US have mediated previous rounds of negotiations, but a workable agreement has remained elusive.

Displaced Palestinians walk next to the border fence with Egypt in Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip.
Displaced Palestinian people walk next to the border fence with Egypt, in Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip. Photograph: Haitham Imad/EPA

The mediators had hoped to secure a ceasefire before the start of Ramadan, but progress stalled and the Muslim holy month is more than half over.

On Friday, Netanyahu approved a new round of ceasefire negotiations to take place in Doha and Cairo.

Reports of the new talks in Cairo came as protesters in Israel’s biggest city blocked a major road Saturday after demonstrations calling for the release of hostages held in Gaza and criticising the government’s handling of the war.

Key events

Cuba’s president has called on the international community to take action to end Israel’s war in Gaza.

“As long as Palestinian land continues to be martyred, bled, destroyed to its foundations by the hatred of the Israeli occupier, we cannot tire of denouncing the crime and calling on the international community,” Miguel Diaz-Canel wrote on X.

Mientras la tierra #Palestina siga siendo martirizada, desangrada, destruida hasta en sus cimientos por el odio del ocupante israelí, no podemos cansarnos de denunciar el crimen y convocar a la “comunidad internacional”. #Cuba demanda que cese el genocidio ya. pic.twitter.com/0ikCqbZaSv

— Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez (@DiazCanelB) March 30, 2024

Cuba has been a strong backer of the Palestinian cause for decades and has trained hundreds of Palestinian doctors.

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Israeli police say man was killed after stabbing an Israeli soldier at bus station in Beersheva

Israeli police said a man was shot dead on Sunday after he allegedly stabbed an Israeli soldier at bus station in the southern city of Beersheva, AFP reports.

Another soldier was injured in the attack, police said, and the Israeli army said one of its troops then “neutralised the terrorist”.

The Israeli military said an “IDF officer was lightly injured as a result of a stabbing attack”.

Israeli media said the attacker was a young Israeli citizen whose Bedouin clan hails from the Negev desert region of which Beersheva is the largest city.

Police said that “we know his identity and are working to understand the motives”.

“He had a long criminal record, and he was supposed to start serving a community service sentence in about two weeks following drug and property crimes,” police said.

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At least eight people killed in car bomb at northern Syrian market – war monitor

A bomb exploded in a shopping area in a northern Syrian city held by pro-Turkish forces on Sunday morning, killing eight people and injuring more than 20 others, a war monitor said.

At least “eight people were killed and 23 others wounded” when “a car bomb exploded in the middle of a popular market” in Aleppo province’s Azaz, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

The UK-based observatory, which has a network of sources inside Syria, said the blast caused “significant damage” and sparked a fire.

Turkey has launched successive military offensives in Syria, most of them targeting Kurdish militants that Ankara links to the Kurdistan Workers’ party (PKK), which has waged a decades-long insurgency against the Turkish state.

Turkish troops and their Syrian proxies hold swathes of the border, including several major cities and towns such as Azaz.

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The Gaza health ministry said 107 patients remained inside al-Shifa hospital in Gaza City, including 30 people with disabilities, and that the Israeli army had stopped attempts to evacuate them.

The Israel Defense Forces claim to have killed about 200 gunmen in the area of al-Shifa hospital since the start of the operation there more than a week ago, “while preventing harm to civilians, patients, medical teams, and medical equipment”.

Gaza’s health ministry, however, has said wounded people and patients have been held inside an administration building in al-Shifa that was not equipped to provide them with healthcare.

Israeli military operations were also ongoing at two hospitals in the southern city of Khan Yunis – at Nasser hospital, according to the Hamas government press office, and at al-Amal hospital, according to the Red Crescent.

The UN World Health Organization warned that Gaza now has just 10 “minimally functioning” hospitals, down from 36 before the war.

Its chief, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said 9,000 patients need to leave Gaza for “lifesaving health services, including treatment for cancer, injuries from bombardments, kidney dialysis and other chronic conditions”.

Smoke rises during an Israeli strike in the vicinity of the al-Shifa hospital in Gaza City on 28 March 2024. Photograph: AFP/Getty Images

The families of Israeli hostages held in Gaza called for a mass rally in front of Jerusalem’s parliament building next week as thousands gathered to support them in Tel Aviv on Saturday, AFP reports.

Shira Elbag, whose 19-year-old daughter Liri was abducted by Hamas militants during the 7 October attack on Israel, made an emotional plea urging Israelis to pile the pressure on Benjamin Netanyahu.

“The time has come to go out and fight against indifference and for life,” she said. “I now ask you to come out with us into the streets and let us sound one united and clear voice: bring them home now!”

Family members and supporters of Israeli hostages held by Hamas in Gaza, rally outside the Kirya military headquarters, in Tel Aviv, Israel. Photograph: Abir Sultan/EPA

The weekly demonstration on the Tel Aviv plaza renamed by campaigners Hostages Square came as anti-government protesters also gathered nearby outside the Ministry of Defence.

Some held placards putting the blame for the hostages’ fate on Netanyahu, with pictures of his face next to the text: “UR the boss, UR to blame.”

Police accused the anti-government protesters of being “rioters” and said the demonstration was illegal.

According to Israel, 253 Israelis and foreigners were kidnapped by Hamas on 7 October. Of those taken, about 130 remain unaccounted for.

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Gaza ceasefire talks to resume in Cairo – reports

Talks aimed at brokering a truce between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip will resume in Cairo on Sunday, Egyptian outlet Al-Qahera reported, days after Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, gave the green light for fresh negotiations.

“An Egyptian security source confirmed to Al-Qahera news the resumption of negotiations on a truce between Israel and Hamas in the Egyptian capital Cairo tomorrow,” an anchor for the channel, which is close to country’s intelligence services, said in a broadcast on Saturday.

Egypt, Qatar and the US have mediated previous rounds of negotiations, but a workable agreement has remained elusive.

Displaced Palestinian people walk next to the border fence with Egypt, in Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip. Photograph: Haitham Imad/EPA

The mediators had hoped to secure a ceasefire before the start of Ramadan, but progress stalled and the Muslim holy month is more than half over.

On Friday, Netanyahu approved a new round of ceasefire negotiations to take place in Doha and Cairo.

Reports of the new talks in Cairo came as protesters in Israel’s biggest city blocked a major road Saturday after demonstrations calling for the release of hostages held in Gaza and criticising the government’s handling of the war.

Opening summary

Welcome to our continuing live coverage of Israel’s war in Gaza and the wider Middle East crisis.

Truce talks between Israel and Hamas will resume on Sunday in Cairo in the latest attempt to bring about a pause after nearly six months of war in the Gaza Strip, according Egypt’s Al Qahera News TV.

More details shortly, in other key developments:

  • The UN secretary general, António Guterres, has condemned an explosion that left three UN military observers and a Lebanese interpreter injured when a shell exploded near them while they were patrolling the southern Lebanese border. The blast came as clashes between the Israeli military and Hezbollah militants have escalated in recent weeks.

  • The British government has received advice from its own lawyers stating that Israel has breached international humanitarian law in Gaza but has failed to make it public, according to a leaked recording obtained by the Observer. The comments, made by the Conservative chair of the House of Commons select committee on foreign affairs, Alicia Kearns, at a Tory fundraising event on 13 March, are at odds with repeated ministerial denials and evasion on the issue.

  • More than 200,000 people took part in a demonstration in central London on Saturday to demand an immediate ceasefire in Gaza, according to estimates by organisers. The demonstration, organised by Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Stop the War and the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, heard speeches from former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and The Crown actor Khalid Abdalla, among others.

  • A three-ship convoy left a port in Cyprus on Saturday to deliver 400 tonnes of food and other supplies to Gaza. An international charity, World Central Kitchen, said the vessels and a barge are carrying enough to prepare more than 1 million meals. It also has a shipment of dates provided by the United Arab Emirates.

  • On Saturday Israel’s military said it was continuing operations around Gaza’s largest hospital al-Shifa in Gaza City for a 13th day and that troops continued to operate in the al-Amal area of Khan Younis. Hamas said that in addition to the ongoing al-Shifa operation, Israeli troops continued “aggression” against Nasser hospital and “besiege” al-Amal hospital in the same city. Most of the Palestinian territory’s hospitals are not functioning and its health system is “barely surviving,” the UN humanitarian agency (OCHA) said.

  • The US in recent days authorised the transfer of billions of dollars worth of bombs and fighter jets to Israel, two sources familiar with the effort said on Friday, even as Washington publicly expresses concerns about an anticipated Israeli military offensive in Rafah. The new arms packages include more than 1,800 MK-84 2,000lb bombs and 500 MK-82 500lb bombs, said the sources, who confirmed a report in the Washington Post.

  • The Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS) said five people were killed and dozens injured by gunfire and a stampede during an aid delivery on Saturday in Gaza. The PRCS said three of the five killed on Saturday morning had been shot. The humanitarian organisation said it happened after thousands of people gathered for the arrival of about 15 trucks of flour and other food, which was supposed to be handed out at Gaza City’s Kuwait roundabout, in the territory’s north.





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