Clashes break out in pro-Palestinian rally in Greece

ATHENS (Reuters) - Clashes broke out between police and protesters during a pro-Palestinian rally in central Athens on Tuesday, a day after the Israeli military launched a ground and air operation in part of eastern Rafah in the Gaza Strip.

More than 300 people carrying Palestinian flags and banners reading "Hands off Rafah!" rallied outside the parliament building in the Greek capital.

"We are here in solidarity and we will respond any time the Palestinians call (for solidarity)," said protester Antonis Davanellos, a 60-year old pensioner.

Police fired teargas to disperse a small group of protesters who climbed up the gate of the Egyptian embassy opposite parliament. The clashes were brief.

At least 34,789 Palestinians have been killed and 78,204 injured in the seven-month-old war, Gaza's health ministry said on Tuesday.

The war began when Hamas militants attacked Israel on Oct. 7, killing about 1,200 people and abducting about 250 others, of whom 133 are believed to remain in captivity in Hamas-run Gaza, according to Israeli tallies.

Hamas on Monday said it had told mediators it had agreed to a ceasefire proposal, but Israel said the terms fell short of its demands and pressed ahead with the strikes in Rafah, which it says are aimed at destroying the military capabilities of Hamas.

Throughout the war, Rafah has been the main lifeline to the outside world for Gaza's 2.3 million Palestinians, allowing humanitarian supplies in and transport of patients out during severe shortages and destruction of healthcare facilities.

(Reporting by Alkis Konstantinidis; Writing by Renee Maltezou; Editing by Rosalba O'Brien)