U.S. reaction: Diplomatic officials traveling the Middle East Saturday say headway has been made on pushing Israel toward a humanitarian pause in fighting, but there is still work to be done. A senior U.S. official said pressuring Hamas to release hostages is a central issue in talks with Israel that could be tied to a longer-term cease-fire.
Aid: United Nations officials are increasing pressure on Israel to temporarily halt its assault on the Gaza Strip as the largest humanitarian assistance organization in the enclave is on the verge of collapse.
Cease-fire calls: Tens of thousands of protesters gathered Saturday in Washington, D.C., adding to international pressure for a break in the fighting. Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, has said the strikes on Gaza will continue until Hamas releases all hostages taken in the Oct. 7 attacks.
Casualties: Israel said 24 soldiers have been killed in Gaza and elsewhere since the start of ground operations in the enclave. The Hamas-controlled Gaza health authorities said more than 9,400 people had been killed, most of them women and children. They don’t distinguish between militants and civilians. More than 1,400 people in Israel died in the attacks that sparked the war, including over 300 Israel Defense Forces soldiers, Israeli officials said.