Israeli airstrikes pound central, southern Gaza

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An Israel Defense Forces statement said it arrested 21 people and confiscated tens of millions in Israeli currency in the West Bank operation.

Israeli forces also carried out an airstrike in Jenin and ground troops fired on Palestinians in response to what the military said were people firing at Israeli troops.

The West Bank raid was the latest in a long series of operations that Israel has carried out there, saying its forces are conducting counterterrorism activities.

The U.N. human rights office issued a report Thursday saying the human rights situation in the West Bank has “deteriorated rapidly” since the October 7 Hamas attack on Israel.

The Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights said it verified 300 Palestinian deaths in the West Bank since October 7, with 291 Palestinians killed by Israeli forces, eight by Israeli settlers and one killed by either Israeli forces or settlers.

The report said most of the deaths took place during confrontations and clashes between Palestinians and Israeli troops, including at protests and as Israeli troops conducted operations in Palestinian towns.

“The use of military tactics means and weapons in law enforcement contexts, the use of unnecessary or disproportionate force, and the enforcement of broad, arbitrary and discriminatory movement restrictions that affect Palestinians are extremely troubling,” U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Turk said.

Turk called on Israel to take action to stop settler violence and investigate all incidents of violence by settlers and Israeli forces.

The U.N. humanitarian office warned that intensified fighting in the Gaza Strip, frequent communications disruptions, blocked roads and a lack of fuel are posing “significant challenges to humanitarian operations.”

The World Health Organization also said its teams have undertaken “high-risk missions to deliver supplies, with partners, to hospitals in northern and southern Gaza.

“Today I repeat my call on the international community to take urgent steps to alleviate the grave peril facing the population of Gaza and jeopardizing the ability of humanitarian workers to help people with terrible injuries, acute hunger, and at severe risk of disease,” said WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

As Israel remains focused on its campaign to eliminate Hamas, designated a terrorist organization by the U.S. and others, French President Emmanuel Macron called Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, urging him to work toward a sustainable cease-fire with the help of regional and international partners.

On October 7, Hamas militants poured over the border with Israel and attacked southern Israeli communities, killing about 1,200 people, according to Israel. Hamas also seized around 240 hostages, of whom 129 remain in Gaza.

In response, Israel vowed to crush Hamas and launched an air, land and sea attack on Gaza. The Israeli offensive has left vast parts of Gaza in ruins and killed more than 21,000 Palestinians, according to the Hamas-run Gaza health ministry.

The Israeli military says 167 of its troops have been killed.