Fighting between Israel and Hamas raged on Saturday, with Gaza’s health ministry reporting more than 200 deaths in 24 hours and the Israeli Army saying five of its troops had died.

Hamas launched an unprecedented attack against Israel from Gaza on October 7, killing about 1,140 people in Israel, mostly civilians, according to an AFP tally based on official Israeli figures.

Hamas and other Palestinian militants also took around 250 hostages, of whom 105 have been released and several were killed, including by friendly fire.

Vowing to destroy Hamas, Israel has relentlessly bombarded Gaza and deployed ground troops in an offensive that has killed 20,258 people, mostly women and children, according to the Palestinian territory’s Hamas government.

On day 78 of the war, here are key developments from the past 24 hours:

Hamas Says More Than 200 Were Killed in 24 Hours

The health ministry in the Hamas-run Gaza Strip said on Saturday that 201 people had been killed in the territory in the past 24 hours, updating the overall death toll since the start of the war to 20,258.

The ministry said earlier that 18 people were killed in an overnight strike on a house in Nuseirat refugee camp in central Gaza.

UN Resolution Urges More Aid

After days of wrangling over its wording, members of the UN Security Council passed a resolution late Friday demanding “immediate, safe, and unhindered” deliveries of life-saving aid be rushed to Gaza “at scale.”

Israel has said Gaza crossings under its control were closed for aid deliveries on Saturdays “in line with the agreement reached with the US, Egypt, and the UN,” leaving only the Rafah crossing on the Egyptian border open.

Five Soldiers Killed in Two Days

The Israeli Army said on Saturday that five of its soldiers had been killed since Friday in combat in Gaza.

Four soldiers were killed on Friday in southern Gaza, an army statement said, and a fifth on Saturday in the Palestinian territory’s north, bringing the number of troops killed inside the Gaza Strip since the start of Israel’s large-scale ground offensive on October 27 to 144.

Hamas ‘Lost Contact’ with Hostage Guards

Hamas’ armed wing said on Saturday that it had “lost contact” with its militants tasked with guarding five Israeli hostages, out of 129 captives remaining in Gaza, according to Israeli authorities.

“We believe that those hostages have been killed” in Israeli strikes, said Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades spokesman Abu Obeida without elaborating or providing evidence.

Drone Strike on an ‘Israeli-Affiliated’ Ship

A drone strike damaged a ship in the waters off Veraval, India, according to two maritime agencies. One of the sources, Ambrey, said the tanker was “Israeli-affiliated.”

There was no immediate claim of responsibility, but the attack adds to fears of regional escalation from the Israel-Hamas war.

Since the conflict broke out, Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthi rebels have, in solidarity with Hamas, launched a flurry of drone and missile attacks on a vital shipping lane in the Red Sea.

Iranian Communication Offensive

On Saturday, Iran denounced the “ineffectiveness” of international organizations, which it said had failed to put an end to the Israeli offensive in the Gaza Strip, in response to the unprecedented attack by the Palestinian Hamas movement on Israeli soil on October 7.

“The crimes of the Zionist regime (…) are regrettable, but what is even more regrettable is the ineffectiveness of international organizations, such as the United Nations Security Council, and organizations claiming to protect human rights,” said Iranian President Ebrahim Raissi in a speech in Tehran.

Outcry Over a Christian Ceremony in Jerusalem

The heads of Jerusalem’s churches, criticized for taking part in a greetings ceremony with Israeli President Isaac Herzog in the middle of the Gaza war, defended themselves on Saturday, saying that they had called for an “end to the bloodshed” during the meeting.

The Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, Cardinal Pierbattista Pizzaballa, the Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem, Theophilus III, and the Custos of the Holy Land, Francesco Patton, took part in the ceremony at the headquarters of the Israeli presidency.

This participation was denounced by Hamas and provoked fierce criticism from the Palestinians, which was shared on social networks.

Malo Pinatel, with AFP