Displaced Palestinian children in Rafah protest in support of other children suffering from hunger

At least 71 Palestinians in southern and central Gaza have been killed by Israeli airstrikes within just 24 hours, according to health officials in the territory on Thursday.

The news comes as diplomatic efforts to secure a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas continue. A member of Israel’s War Cabinet revealed late Wednesday that new attempts are being made to negotiate a truce that could temporarily halt the conflict in Gaza.

However, tensions continue to escalate, including in the Israeli-occupied West Bank. Early on Thursday, three gunmen killed one Israeli and injured at least five others near a checkpoint, according to police reports.

Two of the attackers were killed, while a third was apprehended later.

Israeli security forces and members of Zaka rescue service carry a body from the scene of a shooting attack near the West Bank settlement of Maale Adumim, Thursday, Feb. 22,

Dire humanitarian crisis

As the humanitarian crisis in Gaza worsens, displaced Palestinian children in the southern city of Rafah demonstrated in solidarity with their peers facing hunger and Israeli attacks in the northern region of the strip, as reported by local media outlets.

A video released by the Palestinian news outlet Wafa on Wednesday, shows the young protesters chanting and holding signs reading “Our children are dying of hunger” and calling for the end of the war.

According to the latest figures provided by the Hamas-run Gaza health ministry, more than 29,300 people have died in Gaza since the Israeli military launched a campaign in response to an attack by the Palestinian militant group Hamas on October 7 last.

The majority of the casualties have been women and children. More than 69,000 individuals sustaining injuries while more than 8,000 others are still missing, many of them presumed buried under the debris of destroyed buildings.

Israeli report details sexual violence in October 7 Hamas attack

A report released by the Association of Rape Crisis Centres in Israel says it has found evidence of “systematic and intentional” rape and sexual abuse during the Hamas attack on October 7.

The report reveals that the scope of the attacks was more extensive than initially thought, with incidents occurring across various locations in southern Israel. Some assaults were deliberately carried out in front of audiences, including friends and family members.

The site of a music festival near the border with the Gaza Strip in southern Israel, on Thursday, Oct. 12, 2023.

Orit Sulitzeanu, the executive director of the association, emphasised cases of severe violence inflicted upon the bodies of male and female victims, including genital mutilation.

Despite its horrific findings, the report refrained from specifying the exact number of documented cases or identifying any victims, citing the difficulty in victim identification due to the chaotic circumstances following the assaults.

The authors relied on a combination of confidential and public interviews with officials, first responders, and media reports to compile their research.

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