More than 210 Palestinians were killed in Israeli attacks on refugee camps in Gaza Saturday.
Israeli occupation forces said it rescued four of the hostages during the operation, which was one of the single bloodiest Israeli assaults of the eight-month-old war.

The intense air assault took place in central Gaza's al-Nuseirat, a densely built-up area. A Israeli special forces commander was killed during the operation.

Gazan paramedics and residents said the assault killed scores of people and left mangled bodies of men, women and children strewn around a marketplace and a mosque.

Israel named the rescued hostages as Noa Argamani, 26, Almog Meir Jan, 22, Andrey Kozlov, 27, and Shlomi Ziv, 41. They were taken to hospital for medical checks and were in good health, the military said.

Israel's bombardment and invasion of Gaza has killed at least 36,801 Palestinians, according to an updated tally by the territory's health ministry Saturday.

The spokesperson for Hamas' armed al-Qassam Brigades, Abu Ubaida, said some hostages were killed during the rescue operation. Hamas had earlier said it still held a large number of hostages.

Attempts by the United States and regional countries to forge a deal that would release all remaining hostages in return for a ceasefire have repeatedly failed as Israel presses its assault in Gaza. Fresh airstrikes in the southern city of Rafah hit homes, residents and Hamas officials said.

Palestinian health ministry officials and local medics said the Israeli military assault in Nuseirat had killed scores of people including women and children.

The Hamas media office said "the number of victims from the Israeli occupation's massacre in the Nuseirat camp has risen to 210 martyrs and more than 400 wounded".

The bombardment focused on a local marketplace and the al-Awda mosque, a resident said.

Emergency response teams sought to ferry the dead and wounded to hospital in the nearby city of Deir al-Balah but many bodies were still lying in the streets, including around the market district, residents said.

Nuseirat, a historic Palestinian refugee camp, has been subjected to heavy Israeli bombing during the war and there has also been fierce ground fighting in its eastern areas.

The latest attack was carried out despite growing international pressure on Israel after a deadly strike on a UN-run school in Nuseirat where displaced Gazans were sheltering.

Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh vowed to keep fighting.

"Our people will not surrender, and the resistance will continue to defend our rights in the face of this criminal enemy," Haniyeh said in a statement.

Near Nuseirat , an AFP photographer saw scores of Palestinians fleeing the Bureij camp on foot, fearing further Israeli strikes.

The war has brought widespread devastation to Gaza, with one in 20 people dead or wounded, according to the Hamas-run territory's health ministry. Most of Gaza's 2.4mn inhabitants are displaced.

Israel faced growing diplomatic isolation, with international court cases accusing it of war crimes and several European countries recognising a Palestinian state.

Colombian President Gustavo Petro announced Saturday his government would suspend coal exports to Israel "until the genocide stops".

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken is set to visit Israel and key regional partners Egypt, Jordan and Qatar from Monday on his eighth Middle East trip since the war began.

The war has destabilised the wider Middle East, drawing in Hamas's main backer Iran and its heavily armed Lebanese ally Hezbollah, which Israeli officials are threatening to go to war with on Israel's northern border.
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