At least 30,717 killed in Israeli strikes on Gaza since Oct. 7: Ministry

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The health ministry in Gaza said Wednesday at least 30,717 people have been killed in the territory during nearly five months of war between Israel and Palestinian militants.

The latest toll includes 86 deaths over the past 24 hours, a ministry statement said, while 72,156 people have been wounded in Gaza since the war erupted on October 7.

For the latest updates on the Israel-Palestine conflict, visit our dedicated page.

International mediators were set for a fourth day of talks with Hamas in Cairo on Wednesday after US President Joe Biden called on the militant group to agree a truce deal with Israel by the start of Ramadan.

Envoys have discussed plans to halt the fighting that has raged since Hamas’s October 7 attack before the Muslim fasting month starts on Sunday or Monday, depending on the sighting of the full moon.

As famine threatens the besieged Gaza Strip, US and Jordanian planes again airdropped food aid into the territory of 2.4 million people in a joint operation with Egypt and France on Tuesday.

The World Health Organization has reported children dying of starvation in two northern Gaza hospitals, and US Vice President Kamala Harris has expressed “deep concern about the humanitarian conditions in Gaza.”

Envoys from Hamas and the United States have been meeting Qatari and Egyptian mediators in Cairo to discuss a plan for a six-week truce, the exchange of dozens of remaining hostages for hundreds of Palestinian prisoners, and a greater flow of aid to Gaza.

Egypt’s Al Qahera News, which is close to the country’s intelligence services, said the talks would continue Wednesday.

Biden warned Hamas to quickly agree to a truce and hostage release deal after his top diplomat Antony Blinken urged the group to accept an “immediate ceasefire.”

“It’s in the hands of Hamas right now,” the US president told reporters from Maryland.

“There’s got to be a ceasefire because Ramadan - if we get into circumstances where this continues to Ramadan, Israel and Jerusalem could be very, very dangerous.”

He did not elaborate but the United States urged Israel last week to allow Muslims to pray at Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, a frequent flashpoint during Ramadan.

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The Israeli government said Tuesday it would allow Muslim worshipers access to the mosque compound in annexed east Jerusalem “in similar numbers to those in previous years.”

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