The latest on the Israel-Hamas war
MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:
Israel's military continues to launch ground and air assaults in Gaza, including in and around the southern city of Rafah. That's where hundreds of thousands of civilians have fled, seeking safety.
A MARTÍNEZ, HOST:
As the death toll nears 20,000, according to Gaza's health ministry, Israel is coming under intense international pressure to limit further civilian casualties. Among the Palestinians killed yesterday in the aerial campaign was another journalist. Dozens of journalists have been killed in Gaza, according to media advocates.
MARTIN: So let's go now to NPR's Carrie Kahn, who is in Tel Aviv. Carrie, good morning.
CARRIE KAHN, BYLINE: Thanks for having me.
MARTIN: So there is no letup in Israel's aerial campaign in Gaza. There was a communications blackout for several days. That's ongoing in some places. Could you start by bringing us up to date on the situation now?
KAHN: Bombing was heavy yesterday, especially in the north. And that's according to the U.N. In the early morning hours, several homes in Rafah were struck, killing at least 30 people, including a 3-year-old and a journalist, according to the Associated Press. NPR's producer Anas Baba, who is in Rafah, was able to send us interviews and photos of the bombed residences. He spoke with a survivor of the attack, Fewahd Elahdah (ph), who described waking up at 1 a.m. when the rubble fell on him.
FEWAHD ELAHDAH: (Speaking Arabic).
KAHN: He says he shot up, not knowing who to save - himself or his family. And he's in despair, and he just says, this is not a solution. Palestinian armed groups continue to fire rockets into Israel from Gaza. And according to the Israeli military, Hezbollah strikes into northern Israel from Lebanon continue, also.
MARTIN: So what are you hearing about the possibility of another cease-fire and an exchange of hostages and prisoners?
KAHN: There have been meetings, with U.S. backing, between Israeli and Qatari officials in Europe about a cease-fire and a deal to release hostages. That's according to U.S. officials. More than 100 of the people abducted in Israel during Hamas' October 7 attack are still believed to remain captive in Gaza.
Israel's president, Isaac Herzog, says Israel is always open to negotiations. He was interviewed at an Atlantic Council event by NPR's Mary Louise Kelly. Herzog usually doesn't weigh into politics, but I just want to play you one part of that interview where Mary Louise asked him about Israel's assault in Gaza. He says, don't believe everything you see on social media.
(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)
PRESIDENT ISAAC HERZOG: I say that information coming out of Gaza usually is incorrect, to say the least. It's a dire situation in Gaza. It's extremely painful. But what else can we do?
KAHN: Aid groups are increasingly worried about deteriorating infrastructure in Gaza. And UNICEF today released a report saying sanitation and water services are at the point of collapse there.
MARTIN: So if the U.N. Security Council is talking about that, especially the question of aid for the people there, why has it been so difficult?
KAHN: They've been trying to get a resolution for a couple of days, and they will try again today. They're working on language to avoid another U.S. veto. The U.S. in the past has opposed language on a cessation of hostilities and has concerns about the U.N. being in charge of monitoring of aid coming into Gaza. According to the U.N., only a fraction of what's needed for Gaza's more than 2 million residents is getting in at this time.
MARTIN: That is NPR's Carrie Kahn from Tel Aviv. Carrie, thank you.
KAHN: You're welcome. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.