Casualties continue to increase in Gaza 9 months after start of fighting

Casualties continue to rise in the Gaza Strip nine months since major fighting started between Israeli forces and the Islamic group Hamas.

The Israeli military announced on Saturday that it conducted an airstrike on a school run by the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, or UNRWA, in Nuseirat in central Gaza.

The Israeli military claimed that Hamas fighters were hiding in the school compound and that it took measures to mitigate the risk of harming civilians.

However, health officials in Gaza said 16 people were killed in the attack and 50 others wounded while taking refuge in the school.

The officials say 38,153 people have been killed since the conflict began on October 7.

Negotiations on a ceasefire and the release of hostages continue with Qatar and others mediating.

Israel's intelligence chief took part in negotiations in Qatar on Friday. Israel plans to send a delegation again this coming week.

Reuters news agency has reported that Hamas is showing concessionary gestures.

But the Israeli Prime Minister's Office says gaps remain between the two sides.

In the meantime, Israeli forces have also been intensifying attacks on the Shia Muslim group Hezbollah in neighboring Lebanon.

Israeli forces announced on Saturday that they killed a key Hezbollah operative in the area of Baalbek.

Hezbollah has been conducting shelling and other attacks against Israel.

In June, some Israeli media reported that the Israeli military had begun to move troops toward the border with Lebanon.

There is concern that tension could expand all over the Middle East as fighting may intensify in Lebanon.