Israel assassinates Gaza mayor

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Displaced Palestinians return to find their homes in Khan Younis after the retreat of the Israeli army

ISRAELI air attacks throughout Gaza caused scores of Palestinian deaths yesterday, following the targeted assassination of al-Maghazi mayor Hatem al-Ghamri on Monday evening.

The Government Media Office (GMO) in the Gaza Strip strongly denounced the Israeli action, calling it a ‘war crime aimed at increasing the humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip’.

In a statement yesterday, the GMO mourned Ghamri, describing him as a public service official who had assumed his national duties to the fullest and provided services for the citizens in al-Maghazi refugee camp in central Gaza since the first day of the genocidal war on his people.

The GMO said that the Israeli occupation army committed a cowardly act when it bombed, with no prior warning, the joint services council building, killing mayor Ghamri along with a group of civilians.

The GMO called on the world’s municipalities to condemn Israel’s crime against mayor Ghamri, and held the US administration and the international community fully responsible for his death because they have given Israel the green light for its atrocities in Gaza.

The health ministry in Gaza said yesterday that 153 dead and 60 wounded civilians were transported to hospitals in the past 24 hours, while a large number of victims are still under the rubble of bombed buildings or lying on roads.

This comes as Hamas was presented with a new proposal in ceasefire talks at the weekend, but one that does not appear to be able to secure a deal.

The Palestinian group confirmed in a statement that it is reviewing the proposal, but said Israel ‘has not responded to any of the demands of our people and our resistance’.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued a video saying that a date has been set for sending troops into Gaza’s southern Rafah city where 1.4 million displaced Palestinians are sheltering.

‘It will happen – there is a date,’ Netanyahu said, without specifying it. ‘There is no force in the world that will stop us. There are many forces that are trying to do so, but it will not help since this enemy, after what it did, will never do it again.’

Senior Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zahry said that Netanyahu’s remarks ‘raise questions about the purpose of resuming negotiations.

‘The success of any negotiations depends on ending the aggression,’ he said, adding that the group’s ‘demands are clear: an end to aggression against our people.’

• Turkey has restricted the export of 54 of its products to Israel after Israel rejected a Turkish request for its military planes to join an aid operation for Gaza.