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Israel Hamas War Live, Netanyahu Rules Out Ceasefire

Israel-Hamas war live: Netanyahu again rules out ceasefire until Hamas returns hostages; death toll in Gaza rises to 9,770.

By Martin Belam (now) and Adam Fulton (earlier),

12 hours ago

2.44pm GMT

Netanyahu again rules out ceasefire until Hamas returns hostages from Gaza

Israel’s prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday again rejected calls for a ceasefire in Gaza until all of the more than 240 hostages captured by Hamas during its 7 October attack were returned.

“There will be no ceasefire without the return of our hostages, we say this to both our enemies and our friends. We will continue until we beat them,” Reuters Netanyahu told air and ground crews at the Ramon air force base in southern Israel, reiterating the government’s position.

Updated at 2.46pm GMT

2.39pm GMT

Helena Smith has more details on the Cyprus plan for delivering aid to Gaza:

Authorities said once the situation on the ground permitted it and, if agreed, the sea corridor proposal would allow vital humanitarian aid to be transferred from the island’s main port of Limassol to the Gaza Strip.

A humanitarian pause in the fighting could offer the “window of opportunity” needed to deliver the assistance, officials in Nicosia say. The idea is believed to be backed by Cyprus’s fellow EU member states as well as Egypt, Jordan and other Arab nations.

Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, was described as being onboard after speaking by phone with the Cyprus president, Nikos Christodoulides.

As the nearest EU member state to the conflict zone, Cyprus has sought to play a diplomatic balancing act, rushing to support Israel and expressing outrage over the 7 October Hamas assault, while also showing solidarity with Palestinian civilians in the besieged Gaza strip.

The US state department said Antony Blinken had also wanted to thank Christodoulides during his brief visit for the island’s role in temporarily housing US citizens who fled Israel in the first weeks of the Gaza war.

Cyprus, which is bracing for as many as 100,000 refugees if the conflagration spreads, has prepared a massive evacuation plan in the event of western civilians fleeing Israel and Lebanon.

Commando units and special forces from several Nato member states have already set up base on the island’s two sovereign British base areas in anticipation of the operation being enacted.

Updated at 2.42pm GMT

2.32pm GMT

You can watch a replay of the IDF spokesperson Daniel Hagari’s briefing in English here:

Updated at 2.34pm GMT

2.29pm GMT

Cypriot officials have said that during Antony Blinken’s brief stopover in Larnaca, the US secretary of state discussed the Cypriot proposal to establish a maritime aid corridor to Gaza.

The US secretary of state met with the Cypriot president, Nikos Christodoulides, during the unannounced trip.

Cypriot government spokesperson Konstantinos Letymbiotis said in a statement that during the meeting there was a discussion on unfolding developments in the Middle East as well as on Cyprus’s proposal for a dedicated, one-way maritime corridor of a sustained flow of humanitarian aid from Cyprus to civilians in Gaza.

Earlier on Sunday, Reuters reports the Cypriot president had said how aid could be delivered was still being worked out. “Ships cannot approach the sea area off Gaza so we are talking to the United Nations which will handle the aid and not Hamas,” Christodoulides told reporters.

Updated at 2.35pm GMT

2.25pm GMT

Reuters has issued a correction to the casualty figures in Gaza that was reported earlier. The figure stands at 9,770 Palestinians killed, including 4,008 children, not 4,800 as previously stated. Apologies.

2.24pm GMT

Scotland’s first minister, Humza Yousaf , has posted an image to social media of his family reunited after his in-laws were trapped inside Gaza by the Israeli blockade and the closure of the Rafah crossing with Egypt.

In the message he wrote:

I am pleased to say my in-laws are safe and back home, praise be to god. We are, of course, elated, but my father-in-law said, ‘My heart is broken in two, and with my mum, son and grandchildren in Gaza.’ He then broke down telling me how hard it was saying goodbye to them.

2.20pm GMT

The IDF spokesperson Daniel Hagari has demanded that Hamas stop using hospital facilities in Gaza, saying:

Hamas is at war with Hamas, not the civilians of Gaza. We will not accept Hamas’s cynical use of hospital to hide their terror infrastructure. I want to repeat – we will not accept Hamas’s cynical use of hospitals to hide their terror infrastructures. Hamas’s exploitation of hospital must come to an end.

Earlier, he had claimed that Hamas was launching missiles from within 75 metres of a hospital, knowing that if Israel struck it, it would cause damage to the hospital.

He also said, in response to a media question asking about Israel ordering civilians to move south in Gaza but also carrying out military strikes and operations in the south of the Gaza Strip:

I think it’s important that the world will understand that we did not start this war. On 7 October, we slept in our beds. In quiet homes. Babies, women, children.

And we had a massacre.

Thousands of terrorists entering into Israel, killing babies, burning families, burning young men. This is a war we did not start and we did not seek. But now we are at war.

We are going to defeat Hamas. We are going to free our hostages. And we’re going to free Gaza from Hamas.

We are focusing on the north at the moment, but we will strike Hamas leaders wherever they are. It is going to take us a long time.

We are a country that follows international law [but] we are dealing with a murderous organisation that did a massacre. We will not forget the massacre. I hope the world will not forget the massacre of 7 October.

Updated at 2.24pm GMT

2.13pm GMT

IDF spokesperson Daniel Hagari has been giving his briefing in English rather than Hebrew, suggesting it is more intended for an international rather than domestic audience.

He said that so far the IDF has dropped 1.5m leaflets, made 20,000 phone calls and sent 6m recorded messages to civilians urging Palestinians to evacuate to the south of Gaza.

He is now taking questions from the media.

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