Israeli forces batter central, south Gaza with renewed truce bid at impasse
CAIRO: (Reuters) With no sign of progress in mediators’ arduous efforts to broker a ceasefire in the Gaza war, Israeli tanks and warplanes blasted central and southern areas of the enclave overnight, killing at least 23 Palestinians, local medics said.

Qatari and Egyptian mediators backed by the United States, have tried to halt hostilities, secure the release of Israeli hostages and Palestinians jailed in Israel, and get aid flowing into shattered Gaza to ease a humanitarian crisis. But sources close to the talks said there were no still signs of a breakthrough.

Residents said Israeli tanks advanced further west in the embattled southern city of Rafah skirting the border with Egypt amid fierce gunbattles between Israeli troops and Hamas-led Palestinian militants.

Palestinian health officials said two Palestinians were killed and several wounded in western Rafah from tank shelling there. In central Gaza, Palestinians medics said at least 15 people died overnight in Israeli assaults.

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Residents said armoured forces that have taken control along Rafah’s border line made several raids into the centre and west of the city, wounding several civilians who had been trapped inside their homes and were taken by surprise.

Earlier, Israel hit a Gaza school on Thursday with what it described as a targeted airstrike on up to 30 Hamas and Islamic Jihad fighters inside, and a Hamas official said 40 people were killed including women and children sheltering at the U.N. site.

Video footage showed Palestinians hauling away bodies and scores of injured in a hospital after the attack, which took place at a sensitive moment in mediated talks on a ceasefire that would involve releasing hostages held by Hamas and some of the Palestinians held in Israeli jails.

Also read: Israeli forces press Gaza offensive from north and south

At the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital in Deir al-Balah, a Palestinian boy, Imad al-Maqadmeh, lay on the floor, his swollen face badly bruised and bleeding. He said he lost his father in the strike.

"What did we do? There are no armed people in the school. The ones there are children, playing. We play together... Why did they bomb us?" he said in the video obtained by Reuters.

In images of the dead laid out at the hospital surrounded by wailing mourners, bodies were mostly wrapped in shrouds or carpets, making it impossible to determine their identities from the video.