Israeli forces are advancing towards two major hospitals in the north of the Gaza Strip, where Hamas is believed to have command centers. As a result, the situation for civilians in the besieged Palestinian territory is worsening. Many Palestinians are fleeing from the north to the south, following Israel’s evacuation orders. However, some are staying in the north, seeking refuge in Al Shifa Hospital and al-Quds Hospital, despite the ongoing ground battles and Israeli airstrikes. Israel claims that Hamas has embedded command centers in these hospitals.
In Doha, the heads of the CIA and Israel’s Mossad intelligence agency met with the Qatari prime minister to discuss a potential deal involving a pause in fighting and the release of hostages. The details of the talks have not been disclosed. Qatar has previously acted as a mediator with Hamas.
Meanwhile, officials from around 80 countries and organizations gathered in Paris to coordinate humanitarian aid to Gaza and find ways to help wounded civilians escape the ongoing siege. Jan Egeland, Secretary General of the Norwegian Refugee Council, emphasized the urgent need for a ceasefire, the lifting of the siege, and an end to indiscriminate bombing and warfare. The United Nations and the International Red Cross also called for a ceasefire, although Israel and the United States argue that a full ceasefire would benefit Hamas.
The Israeli assault on Gaza was launched in response to a cross-border raid by Hamas on southern Israel, which resulted in the deaths of 1,400 people, mostly civilians, and the capture of approximately 240 hostages. This event marked the deadliest day in Israel’s history and drew international condemnation of Hamas.
However, Israel’s retaliation in the Hamas-ruled enclave has caused a humanitarian catastrophe. Palestinian officials reported that as of Thursday, 10,812 Gaza residents, including 40% children, have been killed in air and artillery strikes. Basic supplies are running out, and large areas have been devastated by Israeli bombardments. Israeli tanks are stationed around Gaza City, and both sides have inflicted heavy casualties on each other in intense street battles. Israel has lost 33 soldiers in its ground operation.
Israeli military footage showed soldiers discovering weapons-manufacturing equipment, instruction manuals, and a tunnel shaft in a building that had been partially destroyed. Nearby, they found a girl’s bedroom with pink walls and three little beds. The armed wing of Hamas claimed to have killed more Israeli soldiers than officially announced and destroyed dozens of tanks, bulldozers, and other vehicles. They released footage of fighters firing anti-tank rockets and hitting vehicles directly.
Thousands of Palestinians have sought refuge at Al Shifa Hospital in Gaza City, despite Israel’s orders to evacuate the area. They are living in tents on the hospital grounds, as they have nowhere else to go. Israel has repeatedly instructed residents of the north to move southwards, opening a four-hour corridor for evacuation. However, clashes and shelling along the main road have endangered evacuees. Displaced people from Gaza’s population of 2.3 million are already overcrowded in schools, hospitals, and other sites in the south.
Southern areas of Gaza have also come under regular attack. In Khan Younis, witnesses reported residents searching through rubble and debris for survivors after an Israeli airstrike destroyed a building. On another front, Lebanese Islamist group Hezbollah fired missiles into Israel, prompting Israeli artillery fire in response.
A conference in Paris, attended by Arab nations, Western powers, G20 members, and NGO groups, discussed measures to alleviate the suffering in Gaza. However, without a pause in the fighting, expectations for significant progress are low. French President Emmanuel Macron called for a humanitarian pause, highlighting the worsening situation. Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh, who was present at the conference, questioned how many Palestinians must be killed before the war stops. Israel was not invited to the conference.
In conclusion, the situation in Gaza continues to deteriorate, with Israeli forces advancing towards hospitals and civilians facing dire conditions. Efforts are being made to coordinate humanitarian aid and find ways to alleviate the suffering, but a ceasefire is urgently needed. The conflict has resulted in a significant loss of life and devastation in Gaza, drawing international condemnation of Hamas.
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