UN experts say Gaza children dying in Israel’s ‘starvation campaign’

Heavy battles in Gaza City on eve of new truce talks

2 killed in Israeli strike on Hezbollah vehicle in Syria.

GENEVA/ BEIRUT/GAZA   -   UN rights experts on Tuesday accused Israel of carrying out a “targeted starvation campaign” that has resulted in the deaths of children in Gaza. “Israel’s intentional and targeted starvation campaign against the Palestinian people is a form of genocidal violence and has resulted in famine across all of Gaza,” 10 independent United Nations experts said in a statement.

The UN has not officially declared a famine in the Gaza Strip. But the experts, including the UN special rapporteur on the right to food Michael Fakhri, insisted there was no denying famine was under way. “Thirty-four Palestinians have died from malnutrition since 7 October, the majority being children,” said the experts, who are appointed by the UN Human Rights Council, but who do not speak on behalf of the United Nations.

A war monitor said two people were killed Tuesday in an Israeli strike on a vehicle belonging to Lebanon’s Hezbollah group in the Damascus countryside near the Lebanese border.

“At least two people were killed and one was wounded in an Israeli drone strike on a Hezbollah car” on the Syrian side of the border with Lebanon, said Rami Abdel Rahman, head of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

The car was targeted near a Syrian army checkpoint, the monitor said.

Israel pushed on with a major military offensive in war-ravaged Gaza City on Tuesday that the UN said has once again displaced tens of thousands of Palestinians.

Troops, tanks and aircraft were fighting in Gaza’s biggest urban area on the eve of new truce talks in Qatar that aim to free the hostages and halt the conflict raging into its 10th month. A source with knowledge of the talks said CIA director William Burns and Israel’s Mossad chief David Barnea would travel to Doha on Wednesday and also meet the Qatari prime minister, a key mediator.

Hamas’s armed wing, the Ezzedine Al-Qassam Brigades, described the latest Gaza City fighting as “the most intense in months”, with militants using rockets, mortars and explosives.

Israeli forces -- after almost two weeks of battles in Gaza City’s eastern Shujaiya district -- on Monday intensified fighting and bombardment across the city’s east, west and south. Residents reported overnight helicopter strikes, “explosions and numerous gun battles” in the city’s southwest.