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Israel-Gaza latest: Israel withdraws almost all ground troops from southern Gaza; Iran issues threat to Israeli embassies

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Israel ready to reach hostage deal – but not to give in to Hamas’s ‘extreme’ demands: Netanyahu

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said Israel is ready to reach a deal to secure the release of 130 hostages held by Hamas. 

But he said Israel would not give in to the “extreme” demands of the Palestinian militant group. 

Talks aimed at securing a ceasefire and the release of hostages are due to take place in Cairo today. 

Mr Netanyahu said Hamas hoped international pressure would make Israel give in to its demands, but he stressed that would not happen. 

UK would stop arms sales to Israel if it breaches international law – deputy PM

The UK would not export arms to Israel if doing so was found to be in breach of international law, Oliver Dowden has suggested.

Speaking on the BBC’s Sunday With Laura Kuenssberg, the deputy prime minister said the UK would not “supply those arms” if it was unable to legally do so.

It comes amid mounting pressure on ministers to reveal what legal advice they have received on continuing arms exports to Israel.

This morning, Mr Dowden told Sky News the UK has “one of the toughest arms export control [regimes] in the world” and said there had been no change to the legal advice. 

‘It’s been six months – bring them home’

Families of hostages taken by Hamas reflect on the day they went missing and the six months since, in a video shared by the Foreign Office. 

Iranian news agency highlights missiles ‘capable of reaching Israel’

Iran’s semi-official ISNA news agency has published a graphic showcasing what it said were nine different types of Iranian missiles capable of reaching Israel. 

Tensions appear to be ratcheting up between the two sides, and a short while ago an Iranian official warned that no Israeli embassy is safe. 

US officials said on Friday that they were on high alert about the possibility of a significant Iranian strike on targets inside Israel. 

Iran has blamed Israel for a deadly attack on the Iranian consulate Damascus, Syria, last week that killed at least seven officials. 

Among those killed was atop commander in Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards (IRGC). 

Al Shifa hospital before and after the war

Satellite imagery reveals the extent of the destruction at Gaza’s al Shifa hospital after six months of war. 

These images collected by Maxar show the hospital in June 2022, long before the war began, compared with earlier this week. 

Israel withdrew its troops from the hospital on Monday after a two-week raid, leaving behind destroyed buildings and dead bodies. 

Iranian official says Israeli embassies are no longer safe

A senior Iranian official says none of Israel’s embassies are safe
any more, after a suspected Israeli strike on the
Iranian consulate in Damascus.

Twenty-eight Israeli embassies around the world temporarily closed on Friday due to fears of reprisal from Iran, the official said. 

Yahya Rahim Safavi, an adviser to the Supreme Leader, said the attack was a “violation of international laws”.

Seven members of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard were killed in the 1 April attack, with Iran vowing retaliation. 

Israel ‘absolutely’ committed to ground invasion of Rafah – Israeli government spokesperson

With ceasefire talks due to begin today in Cairo, Sky News spoke to Israeli government spokesperson Avi Hyman.

Despite an announcement this morning Israel has withdrawn almost all ground troops from southern Gaza, Mr Hyman said Benjamin Netanyahu would “absolutely” go ahead with a ground invasion of Rafah.

“If we don’t go ahead with Rafah, we lose the war.”

He said Israel was “ploughing ahead” with its aims to destroy Hamas, bring the remaining hostages home and “ensure that Gaza doesn’t pose a threat to us”.

Asked what the point was in joining ceasefire talks when Israel was committed to a ground invasion, he said: “We will do our absolute utmost to ensure that we keep up maximum military pressure against Hamas and we keep all the diplomatic channels open.

“Because remember, we freed about half of the hostages using that formula.”

Incoming Irish PM blasts ‘appalling’ and ‘grotesque’ actions of Israeli government in Gaza

Incoming Irish prime minister Simon Harris tells Sky News what has happened in Gaza is “utterly reprehensible”. 

He tells our senior Ireland correspondent David Blevins: “It’s appalling and it’s grotesque.

“And we are seeing children being maimed and killed – innocent children. It is disgusting. It is despicable. And it must stop.”

He says Ireland “will always speak truth to power”, and calls for “an immediate ceasefire”.

“The attack on aid workers was particularly, in my view, callous and chilling, and we will continue to call that out.

“We also, as a country, stand ready to play our part in a political process that brings about a two-state solution.”

He adds: “This country, and indeed the UK, know a lot about the importance of peace processes.

“This ultimately requires a political solution that delivers a two-state solution.”

33,175 Palestinians killed and 75,886 injured – Gaza health ministry

The Hamas-run Gaza health ministry has released its updated figures for the number of Palestinians killed and wounded in six months of war. 

It says 33,175 people have been killed and 75,886 injured.

Israeli parliamentarian: ‘We allowed humanitarian aid from day one and respect international law’

Boaz Bismuth, member of the Israeli Knesset (parliament) in Benjamin Netanyahu’s party, has defended how Israel has managed the flow of humanitarian aid into Gaza. 

He tells Sky News aid is entering Gaza, but that the Israeli hostages held by Hamas have not seen doctors or the Red Cross, as “we don’t know if they’re alive or dead”.

“We speak a lot of humanitarian [aid] in Gaza, forgetting humanitarian [aid for] our own people.”

Challenged by Trevor Phillips on Israel’s conduct, he says Israel allowed humanitarian aid “from day one” and that it respects international law.

He says Israel has allowed aid from air, land, and sea, and has opened up new aid corridors when asked by the international community.

“We are at war against terrorists. We’re not at war against [the] civilian population,” he declares.

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