- Palestinians say hundreds killed in new Israeli attacks on Gaza.
- Hamas releases more hostages on Monday — two elderly Israeli women.
- U.S. reported to be advising Israel to hold off on a ground invasion in hopes of negotiating the release of more hostages held by Hamas militants in Gaza.
- U.N. Security Council to meet on situation in the Middle East.
- More than 1,400 people in Israel have been killed, mostly in the initial Hamas attack on October 7, while the Palestinian Health Ministry said the death toll in Gaza had reached at least 5,791 people.
Israel launched massive new airstrikes on targets in Hamas-controlled Gaza overnight into Tuesday, with Palestinian officials saying that hundreds of people were killed, including at a seaside refugee camp.
As it holds off on a ground invasion into the besieged Palestinian territory aimed at wiping out Hamas, the Israeli military said its airstrikes had decimated more than 400 sites in the past 24 hours, after hitting 320 a day earlier.
The Hamas militant-controlled Gaza Health Ministry said at least 704 people were killed, although the toll could not be independently verified. The Palestinian Health Ministry said Tuesday the death toll in Gaza from more than two weeks of conflict had reached at least 5,791 people.
With the death toll mounting, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called for a cease-fire in Gaza, a stance that pushed Israel to call for his resignation.
In Washington, White House National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby also rejected an immediate cease-fire, saying it would only benefit Hamas militants. However, Kirby did not rule out a humanitarian pause to allow more aid to be moved into Gaza to assist hundreds of thousands of displaced people.
With Israel planning a ground assault into Gaza, Kirby warned of more bloodshed and civilian casualties to come.
"This is war. It is combat. It is bloody. It is ugly, and it's going to be messy," he told reporters at the White House. "And innocent civilians are going to be hurt going forward. I wish I could tell you something different. I wish that that wasn't going to happen."
The latest Israeli attacks came as French President Emmanuel Macron visited Israel, becoming the latest world leader to bring both a message of solidarity with Israel following a deadly Hamas attack on October 7 and a push for protecting civilians in the Gaza Strip.
Macron told Israeli President Isaac Herzog that the Hamas attack on the Jewish state that killed more than 1,400 people will "never be forgotten" and that a top priority should be the release of more than 200 hostages held by Hamas.
"I want you to be sure that you are not left alone in this war against terrorism," Macron said.
Appearing later before reporters with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Macron suggested the international coalition working to defeat the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria should also take on fighting Hamas.
The Israeli military said Tuesday its continued airstrikes on Gaza targeted Hamas operational headquarters and killed several Hamas deputy commanders.
Israeli strikes this week have also hit the Lebanon-based militant group Hezbollah, and Herzog warned Tuesday that if Hezbollah expands the conflict, then "Lebanon will pay the price."
"I want to make clear: We are not looking for a confrontation on our northern border or with anyone else," Herzog said. "We are focused on destroying Hamas infrastructure and bringing our citizens back home."
The White House said that in a phone call Monday, U.S. President Joe Biden and Netanyahu discussed "ongoing efforts at regional deterrence, to including new U.S. military deployments" in the Middle East.
U.S. officials in recent days have expressed concerns that the Israel-Hamas war could spark a wider conflict in the Middle East.
Kirby told reporters on Monday there had been an increase in rocket and drone attacks by Iranian-backed militias on U.S. troops in Iraq and Syria. He said the United States was "deeply concerned about the possibility for any significant escalation" in attacks in the coming days.
The White House said Biden in his call with Netanyahu welcomed the Hamas release of two more hostages, "and reaffirmed his commitment to ongoing efforts to secure the release of all the remaining hostages taken by Hamas — including Americans — and to provide for safe passage for U.S. citizens and other civilians in Gaza."
Hamas said in a statement that it released the hostages — two elderly Israeli women — for humanitarian reasons. The International Committee of the Red Cross said it transported the women, an 85-year-old and a 79-year-old, out of Gaza on Monday evening.
On Friday, Hamas released its first two hostages — an American mother and daughter — nearly two weeks after it carried out its surprise assault on Israel.
U.S. officials say Washington is advising Israel to delay its planned ground invasion of the Gaza Strip to allow more time to negotiate the release of more hostages.
A ground invasion would likely further complicate any negotiations over hostages, with at least some of them believed to be held in an elaborate web of tunnels that militants have built in Gaza over the years even as Israel has blockaded the territory along the Mediterranean Sea.
Israeli has positioned 300,000 troops along the Gaza border ahead of a potential operation inside Gaza.
The Israeli strikes have destroyed thousands of buildings in Gaza, and the U.N. humanitarian agency says 1.4 million people have been displaced.
In its latest report, the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said late Monday that at least 16 health workers had been killed while on duty in Gaza. It also said 35 staff members from the U.N.'s Palestinian refugee relief agency have been killed, including six during the past day.
In New York, the U.N. Security Council is meeting Tuesday to discuss the situation in the Middle East.
Guterres and U.N. aid chief Martin Griffiths are expected to address the meeting. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and the Israeli and Palestinian foreign ministers are expected to attend, along with their counterparts from Brazil, Egypt, France, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and other countries.
United Nations correspondent Margaret Besheer contributed to this article. Some information for this report came from The Associated Press, Agence France-Presse and Reuters.