China calls for Gaza peace conference; Hamas to disclose fate of Israeli hostages

China called for a large-scale and authoritative peace conference on the war in Gaza, while the militant group Hamas aired video of three Israeli hostages and said their fate would be disclosed on Monday.

Speaking in Egypt at the weekend, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi called for “the formulation of a specific timetable and road map for the implementation of the ‘two-state solution’ and support for the prompt resumption of Israel-Palestinian peace talks”.

Hamas aired video on Sunday showing three Israeli hostages it is holding in Gaza and urged the Israeli government to stop the offensive against the Palestinian Islamist group and bring about their release.

The undated 37-second video of Noa Argamani, 26, Yossi Sharabi, 53, and Itai Svirsky, 38, ended with the caption: “Tomorrow (Monday) we will inform you of their fate.”

Of some 240 people seized by Hamas in a cross-border killing spree that sparked the war, around half were released in a November truce. Israel says 132 remain in Gaza and that 25 of them have died in captivity.

Israel also says more than 1,200 people were killed in Hamas’ Oct. 7 assault.

The Gaza health ministry has said almost 24,000 people have been killed in the Israeli offensive that followed with more than 60,000 wounded.

The U.S. military said on Sunday its fighter aircraft shot down an anti-ship cruise missile fired from Houthi militant areas of Yemen toward a U.S. destroyer operating in the Southern Red Sea.

The midair interception is the latest incident in the Red Sea where the Houthis have been attacking international shipping in what they say is a campaign to support Palestinians under siege from Israeli forces in Gaza.

It follows a series of American and British airstrikes on Houthi targets in Yemen last week that have drawn threats of a “strong” response from the Iranian-backed militia.

In the latest fighting in Gaza, Israeli tanks and aircraft hit targets in southern and central parts of the enclave on Sunday. Hamas also launched a fresh salvo of rockets on Sunday at Ashdod, an Israeli town 40 km (25 miles) away. There was no word of any casualties.

The Israeli military said it destroyed several silos used by Hamas to fire missiles at Israel.


The Israeli military says it has shifted to a new phase of the war focused on the southern end of Gaza, where almost 2 million people are now sheltering in tents and other temporary accommodation, after the initial phase centred on clearing the northern end of the strip, including Gaza City.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has brushed off calls for a ceasefire, saying Israel will keep going until it achieves complete victory over Hamas and recovers the remaining hostages.

The military says, though, the next phase of the war will see months of more targeted operations against the Iranian-backed movement’s leaders and positions.

On Israel’s northern border with Lebanon, where there has been a constant, low-level exchange of fire between the Israeli troops and the Iran-backed Hezbollah militia, Israel’s military said it had killed four militants trying to cross the border.

It said several anti-tank missiles were fired into northern Israel, one which hit a house in Kfar Yuval village. Medical officials said a 76-year-old woman and her son were killed. The son was in the village’s security squad, the military added.

The war in Gaza has also triggered violence in the Israeli-occupied West Bank. Palestinian health officials said Israeli forces killed five Palestinians, including boys aged 14, 16 and 17, in three separate incidents in the West Bank.

The Israeli military said two Palestinians in a car rammed through one of its checkpoints near Hebron and opened fire on pursuing troops. They were killed by return fire, it added.

Asked about a 14-year-old boy killed near Jericho, it said soldiers had shot at Palestinians who threw explosives at them.

The Israeli military also said troops shot two Palestinians throwing a bomb at an army base.

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