Palestinians end dark year, with no end in sight to war
There has been no respite from Israel's air raids, artillery fire or ground fighting in the Gaza Strip, to the despair of Palestinians surviving the onslaught.
"We were hoping that 2024 would arrive under better auspices and that we would be able to celebrate the new year at home with our families," said Mahmoud Abou Shahma in a camp for displaced people in Rafah, on the Egyptian border.
"We hope that the war will end and that we will be able to return to our homes and live in peace", said the 33-year-old from Khan Yunis, an epicentre of the conflict in the south of Gaza.
Gaza's health ministry says the Israeli military campaign has killed at least 21,672 people, mostly women and children -- by far the heaviest death toll of any Israeli operation.
On Sunday the ministry reported numerous deaths in overnight strikes on central Gaza's Zawayda and the nearby Al-Mughazi refugee camp.
Hamas's 7 October attack on Israel left about 1,140 people dead. The Israeli army says 170 soldiers have been killed in combat inside Gaza.
An Israeli siege imposed after 7 October, following years of crippling blockade, has led to dire shortages of food, safe water, fuel and medicine in Gaza, with aid convoys able to offer only sporadic relief.
The UN says more than 85 percent of Gaza's 2.4 million people have fled their homes.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has warned of the growing threat of infectious diseases and the UN says Gaza is "just weeks away" from famine.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Saturday that Israel's war against Hamas will last for "many months" - until the Palestinian armed group has been eradicated.
"We will guarantee that Gaza will no longer pose a threat to Israel," he told a news conference.