Live updates | Israel-Hamas war tensions inflame the Middle East as fighting persists in Gaza

Hamas militants are keeping up a stiff resistance across the Gaza Strip to Israel’s offensive. The war shows no sign of ending and has inflamed tensions across the Middle East, with a dizzying array of strikes and counterstrikes in recent days.

Pakistan launched retaliatory airstrikes on Iran early Thursday, killing multiple people and further raising the threat of violence spreading in a Middle East unsettled by Israel’s war with Hamas.

In Gaza, a shipment of medicine for dozens of hostages held by the Palestinian militant group Hamas entered the territory late Wednesday in a deal that Qatar and France worked out between Israel and Hamas.

Gaza’s Health Ministry says more than 24,200 Palestinians have died. The ministry does not differentiate between civilian and combatant deaths, but said 70% of the dead were women and children. In Israel, around 1,200 people were killed during Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack that sparked the war and saw some 250 people taken hostage by militants.

Currently:

Pakistan launches retaliatory airstrikes on Iran, killing at least 7 people.

— The U.S. pledges new sanctions over Houthi attacks will minimize harm to Yemen’s hungry millions.

— An estimated 60,000 wounded Palestinians are overwhelming the remaining doctors, the U.N. says.

Harsh Israeli rhetoric against Palestinians becomes central to South Africa’s genocide case.

— Find more of AP’s coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/israel-hamas-war.

Here’s the latest:

FAMILY IN TEL AVIV WILL MARK THE 1ST BIRTHDAY OF THE YOUNGEST ISRAELI HELD HOSTAGE BY HAMAS

TEL AVIV, Israel — Family members and supporters will mark the first birthday of Kfir Bibas, the youngest Israeli held by Hamas militants in Gaza, in a somber ceremony in Tel Aviv on Thursday.

The red-haired infant, who has been in captivity for a quarter of his life, has become a symbol for the helplessness and anger in Israel over the dozens of hostages still held in Gaza after Hamas’ deadly Oct. 7 attack on southern Israel.

On Tuesday, his family gathered at the Bibas’ home in Kibbutz Nir Oz near Gaza, blowing up orange balloons to hang on the walls to cover bullet holes and spatters of blood, and filling his nursery school classroom with birthday decorations.

“It’s celebrating for someone who isn’t here,” Yossi Schneider, a cousin of Kfir’s mother, Shiri, told Israel’s Channel 12 TV. “He’s supposed to be out here on the grass of the kibbutz, with balloons on the trees, with family and high-fives and presents and love and hugs, and none of those things will be there.”

In video from the Hamas attack, Kfir and his 4-year-old brother, Ariel, are being held by their terrified mother as gunmen shout in Arabic. The boys’ father, Yarden, was also taken captive and appears in photos to have been wounded. Under a weeklong temporary cease-fire, Hamas released women, children and teens, but Shiri Bibas and her sons were not included in the list.

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