US says working to restore humanitarian pauses after Gaza truce falters

The US said Friday it is working with regional countries to restore what it calls "humanitarian pauses" in the besieged Gaza Strip after a truce between Israel and Hamas ended overnight. 

National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby told reporters that Washington is working with Israel, Egypt and Qatar to have the truce take effect again, blaming Palestinian group Hamas for its end.

"Let's be clear about this. It's because of Hamas that this pause ended that they were just simply unable, failed to produce a list of hostages that could help enable that pause from extending. So the onus is on Hamas to be able to produce a list of hostages that can get out so that we can try to get this pause back in place," he added.

Early on Friday, Israel and Hamas traded blame for violating the terms of a seven-day humanitarian pause that began on Nov. 24.

The Israeli army resumed intensified attacks across the Gaza Strip early Friday after declaring the end of the humanitarian pause, resulting in hundreds of Palestinian casualties.

At least 178 Palestinians have been killed, and 589 more injured, since Israel resumed its bombing campaign, according to the Gaza Health Ministry.

The humanitarian pause began on Nov. 24 as part of an agreement between Israel and Hamas to temporarily halt fighting to allow for a swap of hostages and Palestinian detainees, as well as an expansion in humanitarian aid deliveries.

Kirby said Israel has agreed to resume some aid deliveries to Gaza "at our request" after preventing them from entering the Rafah border crossing between Gaza and Egypt when the truce expired. But he noted that the number of trucks is likely to number in the dozens, rather than the hundreds seen during the truce.

"That looks like a good sign going forward," he said. "Now they have reduced the kind of aid that's going to be allowed in. They've certainly said they're going to reduce that, but it looks like we're going to be able to resume it -- probably in terms of dozens of trucks versus hundreds of trucks."

Prior to finding out about what he said was a statement from an Israeli spokesperson announcing the resumption, Kirby had called for Israel to restore deliveries at truce levels, saying Tel Aviv had been blocking them altogether by preventing inspections from taking place.

More than 15,000 Palestinians, mostly children and women, have been killed in Israeli attacks since the start of the war. Israel began its campaign in retaliation for Hamas' Oct. 7 cross-border attack in which over 1,200 people were killed, according to official estimates.

In Gaza, roughly 80% of the population has been displaced, and about half of the coastal territory's housing stock has been damaged or destroyed, according to UN estimates.

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