Israel faces pressure over Gaza deaths as fighting rages near hospitals

Israel faced mounting international pressure, including from its main ally the United States, to do more to protect Palestinian civilians in Gaza as the death toll rose and fighting intensified near and around hospitals.

The number of Palestinians killed during the bombardment of the coastal enclave in the past five weeks rose above 11,000, according to Gaza health officials, as Israeli forces waged war on Hamas militants who carried out the deadly Oct. 7 rampage in southern Israel.

In his strongest comments to date on the plight of civilians caught in the cross-fire, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken told reporters on a visit to India on Friday: “Far too many Palestinians have been killed; far too many have suffered these past weeks.”

But Blinken reaffirmed U.S. support for Israel’s campaign to ensure that Gaza can no longer be used “as a platform for launching terrorism.”

French President Emmanuel Macron, in a BBC interview published late on Friday, said Israel must stop bombing Gaza and killing civilians. France, he said, “clearly condemns” the “terrorist” actions of Hamas, but that while recognising Israel’s right to protect itself, “we do urge them to stop this bombing” in Gaza.

In response, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said world leaders should be condemning Hamas, and not Israel. “These crimes that Hamas (is) committing today in Gaza will be committed tomorrow in Paris, New York and anywhere in the world,” Netanyahu said.- Source; Reuters

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