Israel-Gaza war live: dozens killed as Israeli strikes on Gaza continue on Christmas Day | Israel-Gaza war

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Key events

Iran’s foreign ministry has dismissed Washington’s claims that a drone attack targeting a tanker off the coast of India was “fired from Iran” as “worthless”, AFP reports.

Saturday’s targeting of a Japanese-owned chemical tanker came amid a flurry of drone and missile attacks by Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthi rebels in the Red Sea in solidarity with Palestinians in Gaza.

The Pentagon later accused Tehran of the attack.

“We declare these claims as completely rejected and worthless,” foreign ministry spokesperson Nasser Kanani said when asked about the US accusations.

“Such claims are aimed at projecting, distracting public attention, and covering up for the full support of the American government for the crimes of the Zionist regime (Israel) in Gaza,” he added.

The archbishop of Canterbury will use his Christmas Day sermon to highlight the suffering of children caught up in the Israel-Hamas war, PA Media reports.

Referring to Jesus Christ’s birthplace, which is now in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, the Most Rev Justin Welby will say “the skies of Bethlehem are full of fear rather than angels and glory”.

In his sermon at Canterbury Cathedral, he will say:

Today a crying child is in a manger somewhere in the world, nobody willing or able to help his parents who desperately need shelter.

Or in an incubator, in a hospital low on electricity, like Al-Ahli (hospital) in Gaza, surrounded by conflict.

Maybe he lies in a house that still bears the marks of the horrors of 7 October, with family members killed, and a mother who feared for her life.

Also referring to Ukraine and Sudan, the Archbishop will say: “So many parts of the world seem beset with violence.”

Early on Christmas Day, AFP journalists said they heard gunfire and sirens in the West Bank city of Jenin, which has seen near daily raids by Israeli forces.

“How can we celebrate?” Nazeria Yousef Deabis, 76, who has lived in Zababdeh all her life, said.

“People don’t feel festive – they’ve lost friends and relatives in Gaza,” she said.

“The occupation (Israel) is destroying Jenin and children are being brutally killed.”

Airstrikes across Gaza kill 78 people, says health officials

Palestinian health officials have said Israeli airstrikes, that began hours before midnight and persisted into Christmas Day, have killed at least 78 people in Gaza.

Residents and Palestinian media said Israel stepped up air and ground shelling against al-Bureij in central Gaza.

As we reported earlier, at least 70 people were killed in an Israeli airstrike targeting Maghazi in central Gaza, health ministry spokesperson, Ashraf Al-Qidra, said.

Medics said an Israeli airstrike in Khan Younis in southern Gaza killed eight Palestinians, according to Reuters.

These figures have not yet been independently verified.

Opening summary

Hello and welcome to the Guardian’s live coverage of the war in Gaza.

Dozens of Palestinians have been killed overnight as Israeli strikes on Gaza continued into Christmas Day.

In one of the deadliest single strikes of the war at least 70 people including at least 12 women and seven children were killed in an attack on Maghazi refugee camp, east of Deir al-Balah, late Sunday, according to Gaza health officials.

The Palestinian health ministry spokesperson, Ashraf al-Qidra, said the death toll was likely to climb. “What is happening at the Maghazi camp is a massacre that is being committed on a crowded residential square,” he told Reuters.

The Israeli military said it was reviewing the incident. A spokesperson for the Israel Defense Forces said: “Despite the challenges posed by Hamas terrorists operating within civilian areas in Gaza, the IDF is committed to international law including taking feasible steps to minimise harm to civilians.”

In other developments:

  • Israeli strikes have killed 20,424 Palestinians since 7 October, the health ministry in Gaza said on Sunday after one of the deadliest 24 hours in the conflict, not including those killed in the latest strikes. Thousands more are believed to be buried under rubble and tens of thousands more have been wounded.

  • “People in Gaza haven’t experienced hunger until this war,” UNRWA chief Philippe Lazzarini said, warning of a “man-made famine” in Gaza as Israel continues its attacks across the strip. In a tweet on Sunday, the head of the UN agency for Palestinian refugees added: “Now it is widespread & WFP warns about a looming famine. That would be nothing less than a man-made famine & a stain in our common humanity. We cannot let it happen.”

  • Islamic Jihad, a smaller militant group allied to Hamas, said a delegation led by its exiled leader Ziad al-Nakhlala was in Cairo on Sunday. His arrival followed talks attended by Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh in recent days. The militant groups have so far said they will not discuss any release of hostages unless Israel ends its war in Gaza, while the Israelis say they are willing to discuss only a temporary pause in fighting.

  • Israeli media reported on Sunday that Egypt had put forward to Hamas a three-stage deal that would take several weeks and ultimately end with the release of all hostages and the cessation of hostilities and withdrawal of Israeli troops from Gaza. “On the surface, the plan appears to be a formula that both parties would be pleased to reject,” Haaretz newspaper wrote.

  • The Israeli military said on Sunday 10 of its soldiers had been killed in the past day, after five killed the previous day, its worst two-day losses since early November. The deaths bring the total number of IDF soldiers killed in Gaza since the ground assault began on 27 October to 154.

  • Israel’s war on Gaza was enacting a “very heavy price” on Israeli soldiers, the Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, told his cabinet on Sunday on Sunday. “This is a difficult morning, after a very difficult day of fighting in Gaza,” Netanyahu said. “The war is exacting a very heavy cost from us; however we have no choice [but] to continue to fight.”

  • Thousands of Moroccans took to the streets in Rabat on Sunday in opposition against Israel’s war on Gaza and Morocco’s normalization with Israel. The crowd in Rabat of about 10,000 people denounced what protest leaders called a “war of extermination,” Agence France-Presse reports.

  • A Qatari Armed Forces aircraft carrying 14 tons of aid for Palestinians in Gaza has arrived in El Arish, Egypt on Sunday, the Qatari state news agency QNA announced. Sunday’s aid delivery brings the total number of Qatari aircrafts sent to Gaza to 50, with a total of 1,548 tons of aid.

  • Four trucks carrying 33 tons of aid from UNRWA and the World Food Programme have made its way into Gaza, UNRWA reported on Sunday. The aid trucks consists of 84 packages of biscuits and 16 pallets of easy-to-open food cans.



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