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Latest | Hamas commander killed in West Bank clashes

Latest | Hamas commander killed in West Bank clashes

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Hamas said one of its commanders in the occupied West Bank was killed in a clash with Israeli forces, while Israel said four soldiers were killed in an explosion in Rafah.

In a statement released late Monday, Hamas said Mohammed Jaber Abdo was killed along with three other fighters in a village near Ramallah, where the Western-backed Palestinian Authority is headquartered.

A joint statement by the Israeli army and police on Monday said undercover agents had tracked down a suspect wanted in connection with an attack on a nearby Jewish settlement.

Since the start of the Gaza war, which was triggered by Hamas’ attack on southern Israel on October 7, violence in the West Bank has increased.

Since then, more than 530 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire in the West Bank, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry. Most of them have died during violent protests or Israeli arrest raids, which often turn into shootings.

Israeli media, citing unnamed security officials, reported that four soldiers were killed on Monday when explosive devices they were using to evacuate the building detonated prematurely, causing the building to collapse. Four soldiers died and 11 were injured. Hamas said it booby-trapped the building and attacked the soldiers with mortar shells after the explosion.

On Tuesday, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the UN Security Council’s vote on a ceasefire plan for Gaza the previous day made it “as clear as possible” that the world supported the US-backed proposal to end the fighting. Blinken said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “reiterated his commitment to the proposal” at their meeting late Monday.

Israel’s war against Hamas in Gaza has killed more than 36,730 people, according to the Gaza Health Ministry, which does not distinguish between fighters and civilians in its count. Palestinians are suffering from widespread hunger as the war has largely disrupted supplies of food, medicine and other goods. UN agencies estimate that over a million people in Gaza could face peak starvation deaths by mid-July.

Israel began the war after the Hamas attack on October 7, in which militants entered southern Israel, killing around 1,200 people – mostly civilians – and abducting around 250.

At the moment:

– Blinken returns to Middle East as Israel-Hamas ceasefire proposal hangs in the balance after hostage release

— How an Israeli raid freed four hostages and killed at least 274 Palestinians in Gaza

– What does Israel’s rescue of four prisoners and the killing of 274 Palestinians mean for the ceasefire talks?

— Centrist Benny Gantz leaves Israel’s war cabinet because he is dissatisfied with Netanyahu

Follow AP’s coverage of the war in Gaza at https://apnews.com/hub/israel-hamas-war.

Here is the latest information:

TEL AVIV, Israel – Secretary of State Antony Blinken says the UN Security Council vote on a ceasefire plan for Gaza made it “as clear as possible” that the world supports the U.S.-backed proposal to end the fighting.

He spoke to reporters in Tel Aviv on Tuesday after meeting with Israeli officials. Blinken said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “reiterated his commitment to the proposal” during their meeting late Monday.

“All votes have been cast except one, and that is for Hamas,” Blinken said.

The proposal, announced by President Joe Biden last month, calls for a three-phase plan under which Hamas would release the remaining hostages in exchange for a permanent ceasefire and the withdrawal of Israeli forces from Gaza.

The group still holds around 120 hostages, a third of whom are said to be dead.

Biden presented the proposal as an Israeli proposal and called on Hamas to accept it. But Netanyahu has publicly disputed key aspects of the proposal and said Israel will not end the war without destroying Hamas and releasing all hostages.

Hamas has not yet made an official statement on the proposal. The militant group welcomed the UN resolution and supports the basic principles of the agreement, but demanded assurances that it would be implemented.

Hamas spokesman Jihad Taha said on Tuesday that “efforts to investigate and clarify some issues are continuing to ensure implementation by the Israeli side.” He said Israel “is hesitating and procrastinating and creating obstacles to continuing the aggression.”

On Monday, the UN Security Council voted overwhelmingly in favor of the proposal; 14 of the 15 members voted in favor and Russia abstained. The resolution calls on Israel and Hamas to “immediately and unconditionally implement the conditions.”

TEL AVIV, Israel – The Israeli military said four soldiers were killed in an explosion in the city of Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip.

Israeli media, citing unnamed security officials, reported that the soldiers were killed on Monday when the explosive devices they had used to clear the building detonated prematurely, causing the building to collapse, killing four soldiers and injuring 11.

The militant Hamas group said it booby-trapped the building and attacked the soldiers with mortar shells after the explosion.

The military targeted the building because it believed it was home to a Hamas member who was involved in the 2006 kidnapping of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, who was held in the Gaza Strip for five years, Israeli media reported.

Israel launched a limited ground offensive in parts of Rafah in early May. Around a million Palestinians, most of them already displaced from other parts of Gaza, have fled the offensive in Rafah. The United Nations estimates that only 200,000 to 300,000 people are still in the city.

According to the military, at least 298 soldiers have been killed since the ground offensive in the Gaza Strip began after Hamas attacked southern Israel on October 7, triggering the war.

RAMALLAH, West Bank – Hamas says one of its commanders in the occupied West Bank was killed in a clash with Israeli forces.

In a statement released late Monday, Hamas said Mohammed Jaber Abdo was killed along with three other fighters in a village near Ramallah, where the Western-backed Palestinian Authority is based. Abdo had spent 20 years in Israeli prisons, it said.

A joint statement by the Israeli army and police on Monday said undercover agents had tracked down a suspect wanted in connection with an attack on a nearby Jewish settlement.

It was said that the man was hiding in a building with three other suspects and that officers opened fire when they tried to run them over with a car and flee. Weapons were found in the car, it was said.

Since the start of the Gaza war, which was triggered by Hamas’ attack on southern Israel on October 7, violence in the West Bank has increased.

According to the Palestinian Health Ministry, more than 530 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire since then, most of them during violent protests or Israeli raids that often turn into shootings.

Israel conquered the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem in the 1967 Middle East War. The Palestinians want all three territories for their future state.