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The Latest | Israeli troops launch attacks in central Gaza, possibly widening their offensive

The Israeli military said it has started “operational activity” in two areas of central Gaza in a possible broadening of its monthslong ground offensive against Hamas.

The military said Wednesday its forces were operating “both above and below ground” in eastern parts of Deir al-Balah and Bureij, a built-up Palestinian refugee camp dating back to the 1948 war surrounding Israel’s creation. It said the operation began with airstrikes on militant infrastructure, after which troops began a “targeted daylight operation” in both areas.

The eight-month offensive has largely cut off the flow of food, medicine and other supplies to Palestinians who are facing widespread hunger. International mediators wait for Israel and Hamas to respond to a new cease-fire and hostage release proposal, according to Qatar, which has played a key role in negotiations alongside Egypt and the United States.

Announcing the proposal last week, U.S. President Joe Biden said the three-phase plan was Israeli. However, Israeli leaders have since appeared to distance themselves from the proposal and vowed to keep fighting Hamas until the group is destroyed.

Israel’s war against Hamas in Gaza has killed more than 36,000 Palestinians, according to the Health Ministry, which does not distinguish between combatants and civilians.

Israel launched the war in Gaza after Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack, in which militants stormed into southern Israel, killed some 1,200 people — mostly civilians — and abducted about 250. Around 80 hostages captured on Oct. 7 are believed to still be alive in Gaza, alongside the remains of 43 others.

Currently:

— Gunman captured after shootout outside US Embassy in Lebanon.

— Rights group claims Israel has hit residential buildings with white phosphorous in Lebanon.

— I n a West Bank refugee camp, Israel’s raids fuel the militancy it tries to stamp out.

Famine is possibly underway in northern Gaza despite recent aid efforts, a new report warns.

As Gaza hostage crisis drags on for Israel, here’s what we know.

Follow news agencies’s coverage of the war in Gaza at https://apnews.com/hub/israel-hamas-war

Here’s the latest:

TEL AVIV, Israel — Israel’s Communications Ministry says it will try to extend its order to shut down the local offices of Qatar’s Al Jazeera news network.

The announcement on Wednesday came after a court upheld the existing order but said it would expire on Sunday, 10 days earlier than expected.

Israel ordered the closure of Al Jazeera’s local offices on May 6, escalating a long-running feud between the broadcaster and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s hard-line government, which accuses it of inciting violence and being a “Hamas mouthpiece,” allegations the network denies.

The extraordinary order, which includes confiscating broadcast equipment, preventing the broadcast of the channel’s reports and blocking its websites, is believed to be the first time Israel has ever shuttered a foreign news outlet operating in the country.

Last month, Israeli officials seized equipment belonging to media, accusing the news organization of violating the law by providing images to Al Jazeera. The Qatari satellite channel is among thousands of clients that receive live video feeds from the news agencies and other news organizations. The equipment was returned hours later, and the news agencies resumed broadcasting live from southern Israel.

Al Jazeera has reported on the Israeli-Hamas war nonstop since the militants’ initial cross-border attack Oct. 7 and has maintained 24-hour coverage in the Gaza Strip amid Israel’s grinding offensive, which has killed and wounded members of its staff.

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