Gaza death toll exceeds 30,000 as aid groups warn of 'imminent' famine

The Gaza war's reported Palestinian death toll neared 30,000 Wednesday as fighting raged in the Hamas-run territory despite mediators insisting a truce with Israel could be just days away.

Another 91 people were killed in overnight Israeli bombardment, the health ministry said.

Mediators from Eygpt, Qatar and the United States have been trying to find a path to a ceasefire amid the bitter fighting, with negotiators seeking a six-week pause in the nearly five-month war.

After a flurry of diplomacy, mediators said a deal could finally be within reach -- reportedly including the release of some Israeli hostages held in Gaza since Hamas's Oct. 7 attack in exchange for several hundred Palestinian detainees held by Israel.

"My hope is by next Monday we'll have a ceasefire" but "we're not done yet", U.S. President Joe Biden said on Tuesday.

Qatari foreign ministry spokesman Majed al-Ansari said Doha was "hopeful, not necessarily optimistic, that we can announce something" before Thursday.

But he cautioned that "the situation is still fluid on the ground".

Doha has suggested the pause in fighting would come before the beginning of Ramadan, the Muslim fasting month which starts on March 10 or 11, depending on the lunar calendar.

Hamas had been pushing for the complete withdrawal of Israeli forces from Gaza -- a demand rejected outright by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

But a Hamas source, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that the deal might see the Israeli military leave "cities and populated areas", allowing the return of some displaced Palestinians and humanitarian relief.

Israel's military campaign in Gaza has killed at least 29,954 people, mostly women and children, according to...

Continue reading on: