Palestinians mourn 28 killed in Israeli airstrikes on urban refugee camps in Gaza

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Jerusalem:  Mourners held funeral prayers Wednesday morning outside a hospital in central Gaza for 28 people killed in three separate Israeli airstrikes on urban refugee camps the previous night.        Associated Press footage showed mourners praying over the bodies, which were wrapped in funeral shrouds, before the bodies were taken away in donkey carts for burial.

As fighting rages on in Gaza, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says he is determined to carry out a Rafah ground offensive, despite United States President Joe Biden’s misgivings.

Earlier, Qatari officials said they were “cautiously optimistic” after talks with Israel’s intelligence chief in Doha aimed at trying to reach a cease-fire. But, Qatari Foreign Ministry spokesperson Majed al-Ansari said Tuesday, an Israeli ground operation in Rafah would set back any talks.

At least 31,819 Palestinians have been killed, according to Gaza’s Health Ministry, which doesn’t differentiate between civilians and combatants in its count but says women and children make up two-thirds of the dead. A United Nations food agency warned that “famine is imminent” in northern Gaza.

Palestinian militants killed some 1,200 people in the surprise October 7 attack out of Gaza that triggered the war, and and abducted another 250 people. Hamas is still believed to be holding some 100 people hostage, as well as the remains of 30 others.

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