Deadly Israeli bombings targeted several sectors of the Gaza Strip on Wednesday, while the United States redoubled its efforts to impose a ceasefire agreement between Israel and Palestinian Hamas, after more than eight months of war.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken continues his tour of the region in Qatar as mediator countries examine Hamas' response to a plan calling for a ceasefire in the Palestinian territory, as well as the release of hostages and Palestinian prisoners.

The Palestinian movement announced Tuesday that it had given its response to mediators from Qatar and Egypt, calling for a “total stop to aggression” in Gaza.

This three-phase plan was announced on May 31 by US President Joe Biden, who then presented it as an Israeli proposal.

But Israel has not officially declared its position and is continuing its offensive, launched on October 7 on the Gaza Strip in response to the bloody attack carried out by Hamas on its soil.

– Rain of rockets –
The war in Gaza has also led to an outbreak of violence in the occupied West Bank, where six Palestinians were killed on Tuesday, and on Israel's northern border with Lebanon, where exchanges of fire are daily between the Israeli army and Hezbollah Lebanese, ally of Hamas.

The army announced that around 160 rockets were fired from Lebanon into Israel on Wednesday morning, after an Israeli strike killed a top Hezbollah commander the day before in southern Lebanon.

The Lebanese movement claimed responsibility for the firing of several “dozens of Katyusha” as well as guided missiles.

Meanwhile, bombings targeted the Gaza Strip, besieged by Israel. In the north, seven people were killed in a bombed house in eastern Gaza City, a doctor said.

Several strikes, according to an AFP correspondent, targeted the center of the territory, where the Israeli army said it had “completed an operation” in eastern Deir al-Balah and eastern al-Boureij.

In Rafah, in the south, a child was killed in the bombing of a house, said a doctor at Nasser hospital. Witnesses reported artillery fire in the eastern part of the town of Khan Yunis.

– “Crimes against humanity” –
On Wednesday, a UN commission of inquiry found that Israel was responsible for “crimes against humanity”, in particular for “extermination”, in the Gaza Strip, where the war has left tens of thousands dead .

The Israeli embassy in Geneva accused the commission of “systematic discrimination” against it.

The war was sparked on October 7 by an unprecedented Hamas attack in southern Israel, which resulted in the deaths of 1,194 people, mostly civilians, according to an AFP count based on official Israeli data. .

Of 251 people kidnapped, 116 are still held hostage in Gaza, of whom 41 are dead, according to the Israeli army.

In response, the Israeli army launched an offensive in the Gaza Strip which has so far left 37,164 dead, mostly civilians, according to data from the Health Ministry of the Hamas-led Gaza government.

Mr. Blinken, who is making his eighth tour of the Middle East since the start of the war, warned on Tuesday that if Hamas did not accept the proposal currently on the table, failure would be “clearly” its responsibility.

Indirect negotiations have so far come up against contradictory demands from both camps.

Israel refuses to end the war until Hamas, in power in Gaza since 2007 and which it considers a terrorist organization along with the United States and the European Union, is eliminated.

The Palestinian movement is calling in particular for a definitive ceasefire and a total withdrawal of Israeli soldiers from the Gaza Strip.

– “A calendar” –
Hamas' response sent to mediators contains “amendments” to the proposal announced by Joe Biden, “notably a timetable for a permanent ceasefire and the total withdrawal of Israeli troops from the Gaza Strip”, according to a close source discussions.

The United States indicated that it was “considering” this response. “I am not going to provide any context or details on the response that has just come in and which our team is currently evaluating, as are our friends in Qatar and Egypt,” a spokesperson for the White House, John Kirby.

Israeli media and the American website Axios claimed that Hamas had rejected the plan.

A Hamas leader, Izzat al-Rishq, however, declared that the response was both “responsible, serious and positive” and that it “opened the way to an agreement”.

“Israeli media allegations about Hamas' response demonstrate attempts to shield Israel from the obligations of the agreement,” he wrote, suggesting that these press indications allowed Israel to continue its strikes.

Antony Blinken also stressed that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had “reaffirmed his commitment” to a ceasefire during an interview on Monday.

The plan provides, in a first phase, a six-week ceasefire accompanied by an Israeli withdrawal from densely populated areas of Gaza, the release of certain hostages and Palestinian prisoners held by Israel.

“The horror must end,” said UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres on Tuesday, who was participating in an international conference in Jordan aimed at mobilizing funds for humanitarian aid in the Gaza Strip.

The UN is concerned about the risk of famine in the territory, where at least 1.7 million people, out of an estimated 2.4 million inhabitants, have been repeatedly displaced by war.

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