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Hamas releases more hostages, as Israel frees Palestinian prisoners

BURYING THE DEAD

More than two-thirds of Gaza’s 2.3 million people have lost their homes to Israeli bombardments, with thousands of families sleeping rough in makeshift shelters with only the belongings they could carry.

Many are using the truce to return to abandoned or destroyed homes, like Abu Shamaleh, who was picking through the rubble of his flattened home in Khan Younis, looking for anything recoverable.

He said 37 family members had been killed and that there was no machinery to excavate the body of a cousin still buried in the ruins.

“The truce is the time to lift the rubble and search for all the missing people and bury them. We honour the dead by burying them. What use is the truce if the bodies remain under the rubble?” he said.

Among Israeli hostages yet to be freed was 10-month-old baby Kfir Bibas, along with his brother Ariel, 4, and their parents Yarden and Shiri, seized from a kibbutz by gunmen on Oct 7.

Yarden’s sister told reporters relatives had learned the family would not be in the group to go free on Tuesday. Israeli officials said they believed the family was being held by a militant group other than Hamas.

“Kfir … is a child who still doesn’t even know how to say ‘Mommy'”, Jimmy Miller, a cousin, told Channel 12 TV. “We in the family are not managing to function … The family hasn’t slept for a long, long time already – 51 days.”

When the war resumes, Israel has made clear it intends to press on with its assault from the northern half of Gaza into the south. U.S. officials said they have told their ally to be more careful protecting civilians as its forces press on.

Israel’s siege has led to the collapse of Gaza’s health care system, especially in the north where no hospitals remain functioning. The World Health Organization said more Gazans could soon be dying of disease than from bombing.

There were already a very high number of cases of infants suffering from diarrhoea, said WHO spokesperson Margaret Harris: “No medicines, no vaccination activities, no access to safe water and hygiene and no food.”

Source: CNA

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