Israel-Hamas war latest: Explosion kills multiple Israeli soldiers; Biden urges Hamas to 'prove' it wants ceasefire – Sky News

Joe Biden has urged Hamas to “prove” it wants an immediate ceasefire after the UN Security Council approved his three-phase plan. Meanwhile, four Israeli soldiers have been killed in an explosion in southern Gaza.
Tuesday 11 June 2024 14:22, UK
Almost every displaced person in Rafah – which was previously Gaza’s main declared safe zone – has now fled the area, the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) has said.
A total of 1.7 million people (more than seven out of every 10 people in the Gaza Strip) are currently displaced, with many families displaced multiples times now, according to UNRWA’s latest situation update.
It adds that fewer than 100,000 people remain in Rafah, while every URNWA shelter in the area has been forced to vacate.
The report says: “The ongoing Israeli military operation in Rafah is directly impacting the ability of aid agencies to bring critical humanitarian supplies into Gaza as well as the ability to rotate critical humanitarian staff.”
It adds that as of 9 June, the total number of URNWA staff killed since 7 October – the day Hamas attacked Israel – is 193.
Meanwhile, the total number of Palestinians killed in the Gaza Strip since 7 October is 37,084 according to the Ministry of Health in the Hamas-run territory. Another 84,494 Palestinians have been reportedly injured. 
The UK says it will to give £10m in financial aid to the Palestinian Authority – the body which exercises limited governance in the occupied West Bank – this financial year. 
The British government says the funding package will help alleviate the growing financial pressure facing the Palestinian Authority, which has struggled to pay its employees their salaries due to Israel’s refusal to transfer tax funds earmarked for Gaza.
Minister of State for the Middle East Lord Ahmad will discuss the funding package in a meeting with Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad  Mustafa at the Gaza Humanitarian Conference in Jordan today.
Lord Ahmad said: “The UK remains committed to providing serious, practical and enduring support to the Palestinian Authority as they take much-needed steps to enact reform.
“An effective Palestinian Authority is vital to ensure lasting peace and progress towards a two-state solution but without international support it is on the brink of collapse. 
“Today’s meeting of vital regional partners will be another constructive step towards achieving tangible progress on this key issue.”
The financial aid will be delivered through the World Bank’s Palestinian Umbrella for Resilience Support to the Economy (PURSE) Trust Fund’s Palestine Emergency Financing Facility (PEFF) project. 
A statment issued by the UK government says a further amount of up to £5m will be available in technical assistance to support the Palestinian Authority’s programme of reform, with the objective of increasing transparency, fighting corruption, and improving public sector efficiency. 

The Israel Defence Forces has claimed to have destroyed an explosives laboratory, killing what it called a “terrorist”, and arresting eight more during an 18-hour operation in the West Bank. 
In an update shared on X, the IDF said both it and the Israel Security Agency, known as Shin Bet, located and destroyed the lab in Jordan Valley, which housed more than 80 devices and additional explosive barrels.
Weapons were also found and confiscated inside a “suspicious vehicle,” the IDF said. 
More than 2,000 trucks carrying humanitarian aid and commercial goods have been waiting in Egypt ready to enter Gaza, the European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations has said.
“Due to intense military operations, the Rafah crossing remains closed. The EU advocates for sustained, unimpeded, and safe humanitarian access,” it said on X.
The border crossing at Rafah is controlled by Egypt and is critical to aid deliveries into Gaza. It represents the only lifeline to the outside world for the 2.3 million population in the Israeli-besieged territory.
Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry says the crossing cannot operate again unless Israel relinquishes its control on the Gaza side of the border and hands it back to Palestinians.
Last month, Israel seized Gaza’s entire border with Egypt including the crossing during its offensive against Hamas in the city of Rafah. 
Posting on X, The World Health Organization’s office in the occupied Palestinian territory said on 7 June: “Rafah is the main crossing for health and humanitarian supplies and must be urgently opened to allow aid stuck at Al Arish into Gaza. 
“Without this, hospitals and health facilities will not be able to sustain even minimal functionality, further destroying the health system.”
United Nations secretary general Antonio Guterres has been speaking at an emergency aid summit for Gaza in Jordan.
It seeks to bring together leaders and aid officials to help solve the humanitarian issues in the Gaza, with much of the territory’s food, water and energy cut off.
The conference is jointly organised by the UN, Jordan and Egypt and is being attended by US secretary of state Antony Blinken.
Mr Guterres says that “the speed and scale of carnage and killing in Gaza is beyond anything in my years as secretary-general.”
“Nowhere is safe, conditions are deplorable, public health situation is beyond crisis level. Gaza’s hospitals lie in ruins, medical supplies and fuel are scarce or non-existent,” he said.
“More than one million Palestinians in Gaza do not have enough drinking water and face desperate levels of hunger. Over 50,000 children require treatment for acute malnutrition.”
A three-phase ceasefire proposal that would end the fighting between Israel and Hamas in Gaza has been accepted by the UN Security Council.
Fourteen of the 15 council members voted in favour of the US-drafted resolution, with only Russia abstaining. 
The ceasefire proposal urges both parties to fully implement the terms of the resolution “without delay and without condition.”
But what do those phases entail and what have both Israel and Hamas said about the plan since its adoption? 
First phase
US President Joe Biden outlined the proposal’s three phases during an address at the White House on 31 May.
The first phase would be a “full and complete ceasefire” lasting six weeks that would see Israeli forces withdraw from all densely populated areas of Gaza.
During this time, Hamas would release an unspecified number of hostages, including women, the elderly and the wounded, in exchange for the release of hundreds of Palestinian prisoners.
Humanitarian assistance would be allowed to flow freely, with 600 trucks being allowed into Gaza each day as Palestinian civilians return to their homes and neighbourhoods.
Mr Biden said Israel and Hamas would negotiate a permanent end to the fighting while this ceasefire was in place. If the negotiations were to take longer than six weeks, the ceasefire would continue for as long as it takes to strike a deal, he added.
Second phase
Mr Biden described this as a “permanent end to hostilities”.
It would include the release of all remaining living Israeli hostages, including male soldiers, and Israel would withdraw all its forces from Gaza.
The president admitted there were “a number of details to negotiate to move from phase one to phase two”.
Third phase
The final phase calls for the start of a major reconstruction of Gaza, which faces decades of rebuilding from devastation caused by the war.
Any final remains of hostages who have been killed would be returned to their families.
What has Israel said?
Israel’s government has always maintained its objective in the Gaza offensive is to annihilate Hamas in response to the 7 October attacks. 
Israel’s representative to the UN, senior diplomat Reut Shapir Ben-Naftaly, emphasized at the UN Security Council meeting that her country wants to “ensure that Gaza doesn’t pose a threat to Israel in the future.”
She said the war would not end until all hostages were returned and Hamas’ capabilities were “dismantled,” accusing the Palestinian militant group of using “meaningless and endless negotiations which can be exploited by Hamas as a means to stall for time.”
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said he believes there is a “strong consensus” among Israeli leaders to move forward the Gaza ceasefire plan.
What has Hamas said?
Hamas welcomed the adoption of the UN resolution quickly. 
One of its officials, Sami Abu Zuhri, later told Reuters it had accepted the deal and was ready to negotiate the details. 
He said the militant group had accepted the withdrawal of Israeli troops and the swap of hostages for detainees held by Israel. 
But he said it was up to the US to ensure Israel abides by the plan.
“The US administration is facing a real test to carry out its commitments in compelling the occupation to immediately end the war in an implementation of the UN Security Council resolution,” Abu Zuhri said.
A recent hostage rescue operation could show Israel and Hamas have both committed war crimes, the UN human rights office has said.
Israel rescued four captives from the Nuseirat refugee camp in central Gaza on Saturday. 
The Hamas-led health ministry said the mission killed at least 274 Palestinians and injured 400 more.
Israel has acknowledged less than 100 casualties.
Hamas also claimed Netanyahu forces killed three other hostages in the process – an allegation Israel’s military has denied.
The UN human rights office has said the civilian deaths and their holding by the militant group could constitute war crimes. 
“Hundreds of Palestinians, many of them civilians, were reportedly killed and injured,” said spokesperson Jeremy Laurence.
“Furthermore, by holding hostages in such densely populated areas, the armed groups doing so are putting the lives of Palestinian civilians, as well as the hostages themselves, at added risk from the hostilities.
“All these actions, by both parties, may amount to war crimes.” 
Hamas has accepted the ceasefire resolution adopted by the UN Security Council and is ready to negotiate the details, one of the militant group’s officials has told Reuters.
Sami Abu Zuhri said Hamas accepted the withdrawal of Israeli troops and the swap of hostages for detainees held by Israel. 
He added, however, that it was up to the US to ensure Israel abides by the plan.
“The US administration is facing a real test to carry out its commitments in compelling the occupation to immediately end the war in an implementation of the UN Security Council resolution,” Abu Zuhri said.
Shortly after the UN approved the plan, Hamas released an official statement saying it welcomed the support, and it was ready to cooperate with mediators over implementing it. 
Benny Gantz has told Antony Blinken he would back “any responsible plan” that leads to the return of hostages – two days after he quit the Israeli war cabinet over divisions with Benjamin Netanyahu.
In the meeting in Tel Aviv this morning, Mr Gantz urged the US state secretary to apply “maximum pressure” on negotiators. 
He also said “Israel will not hesitate to act decisively” if the threat from militant group Hezbollah at its northern border cannot be removed.
Mr Gantz is a major political rival of Mr Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, but is popular with the US. 
He disagreed with Mr Netanyahu over his post-conflict plans for Gaza and how best to free the hostages still captive, accusing him of pushing strategic considerations like securing a deal aside for his own political survival.
Mr Gantz set a deadline of 8 June last month for Mr Netanyahu to set out how Israel would achieve its six “strategic goals”, including the end of Hamas rule in Gaza.
Mr Blinken also met with Mr Netanyahu and Israel’s defence minister Yoav Gallant to “reiterate the US commitment to the deal on the table”, secure the release of hostages and send humanitarian aid.
Protesters have gathered outside a hotel in Tel Aviv that will host the US secretary of state and other officials for talks today. 
Antony Blinken is on his eighth visit to the region since the outbreak of the war, this time urging Israeli officials to accept and implement a plan for post-war Gaza. 
He’s also been pushing for more international pressure on Hamas to agree to a ceasefire proposal backed by the UN.
The demonstrators also want Israel to follow through with the three-phase plan, endorsed last night by the UN Security Council, to bring home the hostages still stuck in Gaza. 
The Israeli government has been criticised for not doing enough to bring the more than 100 captives still in Gaza home. 
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