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    Gaza Conflict Escalates Amidst Calls for Peace

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    Israel’s military operation in Gaza continues to escalate, with gunfire and air strikes shaking the city of Khan Yunis on Friday. The Palestinian Red Crescent reported intense artillery fire near the city’s Al Amal hospital, while the Gaza Strip’s health ministry said 77 people were killed in Israeli bombardment on Thursday night and early Friday morning. The United Nations reports that roughly 85% of Gaza’s population has been displaced since the outbreak of hostilities in October 2023. Aid agencies say improved access is urgently needed as famine and disease loom, but a communications blackout, which continued on Friday for an eighth day, only adds to the challenges.

    Israel has vowed to destroy Hamas in the wake of the October 7 raids. Its relentless air and ground attacks have killed 24,762 Palestinians, around 70% of them women and children. With Israel’s military action moving farther south in the territory, which is about 40 kilometers long, some residents in northern Gaza have begun returning home to what remains of their neighborhoods.

    The United States provides Israel with billions of dollars in military aid, but the two allies disagree over Gaza’s future. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken this week used the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, to renew his call for a “pathway to a Palestinian state,” which Arab states also support.

    The situation in Gaza remains dire, with civilians caught in the crossfire of a conflict that shows no signs of abating. The international community must continue to call for an end to the violence and a peaceful resolution to the conflict. The humanitarian crisis in Gaza demands urgent attention and action, and the world must come together to provide aid and support to those affected by the conflict.

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