Gaza authorities say Israel hostage rescue operation killed 274 Palestinians

Health authorities in the Gaza Strip say the number of Palestinians killed in the Israeli military's operation to rescue hostages in Nuseirat on Saturday has increased to 274 with 698 wounded.

Four Israeli hostages held by Hamas were rescued in the operation in the central part of the enclave that began at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday when many people were out shopping at a market.

The Israeli military said its troops engaged in fierce gun battles with Hamas fighters while trying to free the hostages. The military said it had also carried out an airstrike.

Video footage released by Reuters news agency on Sunday shows many buildings destroyed and streets filled with rubble and damaged cars. Authorities in Gaza said 89 houses and other structures had been destroyed.

Hamas' military arm published a video on the same day, claiming that three captives involved in the Israeli operation were killed, and that one of them had US citizenship.

The Israeli military continued airstrikes and ground offensives in the central and southern parts of Gaza on Sunday.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday that Israel has no intention of ending the war without achieving the goal of eliminating Hamas.

Health authorities in the strip announced that the death toll has risen to 37,084 since the current conflict began in October last year.

Meanwhile, Israel's former Defense Minister Benny Gantz announced his resignation from the country's war cabinet on Sunday.

Gantz, a key centrist cabinet member, demanded last month that Netanyahu draw up a plan for the future governance of the Gaza Strip. He also suggested he would resign if the prime minister did not come up with one by Saturday.

At a news conference, Gantz criticized Netanyahu, saying, "Fateful strategic decisions are met with hesitancy and procrastination due to political considerations."

He called for early elections to seek the trust of the people.

Observers say far-right cabinet members are likely to increase their influence after Gantz's resignation, and further deepen divisions in the country.