Smoke Rises Over Gaza As Israel And Qatar Are Set To Hold Talks | World News


Plumes of thick dark smoke and sounds of explosions rose over southern Gaza, during the afternoon hours of Saturday (December 16), as heavy fighting raged in the strip. Israeli and Qatari officials were set to meet in Norway on Saturday in an effort to revive talks about the release of hostages held in Gaza in return for a ceasefire and the freeing of Palestinian prisoners held by Israel, the Wall Street Journal reported on Saturday.

Israeli tanks and planes intensified their bombardment of the Gaza strip, although Israel was urged by the U.S to scale down its military campaign and narrowly target Hamas leaders. Dozens of Palestinians were killed in Gaza on Saturday in air strikes by Israel, Palestinian media said.

Israel has been pounding the 25-mile (40-km) length of Gaza with no sign of a pause in hostilities or a ceasefire that would enable delivery of more desperately needed basic supplies for civilians to survive as their homes have been destroyed.

A hostage who was mistakenly killed by the Israeli military while being held hostage in Gaza by Islamist group Hamas was laid to rest at a funeral in southern Israel on Saturday (December 16).

Around 300 people turned out to mourn Samer Fouad Al-Talalka, 25, a member of Israel’s Bedouin Arab minority, in his hometown of Hura. The three Israeli hostages had been holding up a white flag, a military official said on Saturday, citing an initial inquiry into the incident that has shaken the country.

A soldier saw the hostages emerging tens of metres from Israeli forces on Friday (December 15) in Shejaiya, an area of intense combat in northern Gaza where Hamas militants operate in civilian attire and use deception tactics, the official said.

“They’re all without shirts and they have a stick with a white cloth on it. The soldier feels threatened and opens fire. He declares that they’re terrorists. They (the Israeli forces) open fire. Two (hostages) are killed immediately,” the official told reporters in a phone briefing.

More than 100, women, children, teens and foreigners were released in a deal struck in late November. Others have been declared dead by Israeli authorities. More than 100 hostages remain in Gaza, Israeli authorities say.


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