Netanyahu rejects ceasefire calls vowing to continue 'full force' battle with Hamas

Israeli troops and Hamas gunmen battled Saturday outside Gaza’s largest hospital where frantic doctors said the last generator had run out of fuel

Israel will continue to battle Hamas in Gaza with "full force", as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rejects growing international calls for a ceasefire.

The Israeli PM said that a ceasefire would only be possible if all of the hostages, believed to be around 240, taken by Hamas were released.

It comes after Israeli troops and Hamas gunmen battled outside of Gaza's largest hospital, forcing thousands to flee.

In recent days, fighting near Shifa and other hospitals in northern Gaza has intensified and supplies have run out.

Palestinians mourn their relatives killed in the Israeli bombardment of the Gaza Strip. Credit: AP

The Israeli military has alleged, without providing evidence, that the militant group Hamas has established command posts in and underneath hospitals, using civilians as human shields.

Medical staff at Shifa have denied such claims and accused Israel of harming civilians with indiscriminate attacks.

Netanyahu said the responsibility for any harm to civilians lies with Hamas, and that while Israel has urged civilians to leave combat zones, “Hamas is doing everything it can to prevent them from leaving.”

A Hamas official denied that their fighters opened fire at residents trying to leave Gaza City or its hospitals. Speaking by phone, Ghazi Hamad called such assertions by Israel lies and said Hamas doesn’t have guards at hospital gates to prevent people from entering or leaving.

The spokesman of the Hamas military wing said militants were ambushing Israeli troops and vowed that Israel will face a long battle. 

In the UK, around 300,000 people took to the streets of London in a pro-Palestine march calling for a ceasefire - which resulted in around 100 far-right protesters being arrested and nine police officers being injured.

Casualties rise

More than 11,070 Palestinians, two-thirds of them women and minors, have been killed since the war began, according to the Health Ministry in Gaza, which does not differentiate between civilian and militant deaths.

About 2,700 people have been reported missing and are thought to be possibly trapped or dead under the rubble.

At least 1,200 people have been killed in Israel, mainly in the initial Hamas attack, Israeli officials say.

The military confirmed the deaths of five reserve soldiers; 46 Israeli soldiers have been killed in Gaza since the ground offensive began.

About 250,000 Israelis have been forced to evacuate from communities near Gaza and along the northern border with Lebanon, where Israeli forces and Hezbollah militants have traded fire repeatedly.

“Hezbollah is dragging Lebanon into a possible war," Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said after meeting with soldiers stationed along the border.

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