As Israel's airstrikes resume, the U.S. and Qatar try to negotiate another cease-fire
ASMA KHALID, HOST:
Fighting in Gaza continued through the night after the weeklong cease-fire collapsed Friday. Israel has launched hundreds of airstrikes against Hamas targets, and Hamas has fired rockets at Israel, including an attack on Tel Aviv intercepted by Israel's air defense system. International aid groups say there is already a severe humanitarian cost from the renewed fighting for the more than 2 million Palestinian civilians in Gaza. Joining us now from Tel Aviv is NPR's Brian Mann. Brian, it is good to have you with us.
BRIAN MANN, BYLINE: Hi, Asma.
KHALID: So to begin, can you tell us about the situation on the ground there?
MANN: Yeah. Gaza's been hit hard over the last 24 hours. Israel's military said this morning they've struck over 400 targets in operations that continued through the night, including an airstrike against a mosque that Israeli officials say was a command post for militants. Israeli officials say they launched more artillery strikes against Hamas today. In a statement, Hamas leaders blamed this resumption of fighting on Israel and said Hamas had been willing to prolong the truce. It is worth noting, though, that at the same time, Hamas was also taking credit for and celebrating an attack by Palestinian gunmen in Jerusalem this last week that left three Israeli civilians dead.
KHALID: And, Brian, what is Israel's goal as this fighting has resumed? I mean, how is the bombing also affecting Palestinian civilians who've been caught up in the war?
MANN: So after the Hamas attack on Israel October 7 that killed roughly 1,200 Israelis, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said this war is going to continue until Hamas is eliminated. But, of course, hitting Hamas in the densely populated Gaza Strip means a lot of Palestinian civilians are getting hurt. NPR's producer in Gaza, Anas Baba, was in a hospital in Rafah in southern Gaza as the wounded and dead from these strikes began to arrive.
ANAS BABA, BYLINE: What I'm seeing in front of me is, like, a crowd of people from the families that mourns nine bodies from different families. We do have one, two, three children in front of me.
MANN: He's describing there, Asma, seeing bodies coming into the hospital, including those of children. This morning, the Ministry of Health in Gaza reported nearly 200 Palestinians killed so far, more than 650 injured since the cease-fire ended.
KHALID: And, Brian, you reported yesterday on the situation broadly with Gaza's hospitals that they are near collapse, and the lack of equipment and personnel to help all the sick and wounded - they don't have that. I mean, what did you learn?
MANN: Yeah. Everyone we spoke to, Asma, from front-line doctors in Gaza to World Health Organization experts said the situation's grim. In addition to war trauma, the WHO reports a huge spike in illness, a lot of it because of the lack of safe drinking water for Palestinians. Speaking before the fighting resumed, Dr. Mohamed Yasouri at the Nasser Medical Center in Khan Yunis told NPR they were already overwhelmed.
MOHAMED YASOURI: As a doctor, I have one message. We are in a catastrophe. Disaster.
MANN: And in a statement to NPR, Israeli officials acknowledged the suffering caused by the fighting and the impact on these medical facilities. They blamed Hamas, saying Hamas fighters have been using these hospitals as cover for military command posts and secret tunnel complexes.
KHALID: Just briefly, Brian, during that pause in fighting, some Israeli hostages and Palestinian prisoners were freed. What's happening now to those who were not freed during the temporary truce?
MANN: Well, they're still being held both in Israeli jails and also in Gaza by Hamas - at least 137 Israeli hostages still held. I will say officials from Qatar and the U.S. have been trying to negotiate another truce. But earlier today, Prime Minister Netanyahu's office issued a statement saying those talks are now at an impasse.
KHALID: That's NPR's Brian Mann in Tel Aviv. Thanks, Brian.
MANN: Thank you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.