A first group of civilian evacuees from Gaza crossed into Egypt on Wednesday under a Qatari-mediated deal. Meanwhile, Israeli forces continued their offensive against Hamas militants by bombing the Palestinian enclave from land, sea, and air. On Wednesday, another blast occurred in Jabalia, Gaza’s largest refugee camp, following an Israeli air strike the previous day that resulted in approximately 50 deaths and 150 injuries. The Israeli military confirmed that a Hamas commander was killed in the attack. The second explosion’s casualties are unknown, but footage showed smoke and people searching through rubble. Witnesses described the scene as a massacre. The Israeli military stated that its fighter jets targeted a Hamas command and control complex in Jabalia, killing the head of the group’s anti-tank missile unit. The military accused Hamas of intentionally endangering Gazan civilians by building its infrastructure near civilian buildings. The evacuees, who had been trapped in Gaza for over three weeks, were driven through the Rafah border crossing and underwent security checks before entering Egypt. Dr. Fathi Abu al-Hassan, a U.S. passport holder, described the dire conditions in Gaza without access to water, food, or shelter. He expressed frustration at the lack of international assistance. The evacuees included foreign passport holders and severely injured Gazans, marking the first beneficiaries of the deal.Egypt, Israel, and Hamas have brokered an agreement to evacuate approximately 7,500 foreign passport holders from Gaza within a two-week period. Al Arish airport will be used to fly people out, and the initial evacuees are expected to travel by road to Cairo before flying out from there.
Tor Wennesland, the United Nations’ Middle East peace envoy, praised the opening of Rafah to the first evacuees as an important step in the right direction.
Despite the progress on the humanitarian front, Gaza continued to be targeted by Israeli war planes, naval boats, and artillery, resulting in more casualties among the civilian population. Hospitals in Gaza struggled to cope with the influx of patients due to fuel shortages caused by Israel’s refusal to allow humanitarian convoys into the area.
A medical student named Ezzedine Lulu filmed the dire situation at Al Shifa hospital, where sleeping children sought shelter from the bombardment.
In the midst of the conflict, Palestinians with dual citizenship gathered at the Rafah border crossing, hoping to leave Gaza. The image accompanying the article depicts this scene.
Ezzedine Lulu expressed his concern for the children’s well-being, stating that while he can heal wounds, he cannot alleviate the cold they are experiencing. He called for an end to the inhumanity as winter approaches.
The Israeli ground forces entered Gaza in response to a cross-border attack by Hamas. Israel has vowed to eliminate Hamas, but the high civilian death toll and worsening humanitarian conditions have raised international concerns.
Jordan, one of the few Arab states with normalized relations with Israel, announced the recall of its ambassador from Tel Aviv until Israel ceases its assault on Gaza.
Nahed Abu Taeema, the director of Nasser Hospital, confirmed that 19 critically injured patients from his hospital would be among the 81 individuals being evacuated to Egypt.Abu Taeema stated that advanced surgeries, especially for women and children, cannot be performed in Gaza due to the lack of capabilities.
According to a Western official, Israel and Egypt have agreed on a list of people with foreign passports who can leave Gaza. An Israeli official confirmed that Israel is coordinating the exits with Egypt.
The deal, as per the first source, is not connected to other issues such as the release of hostages held by Hamas or a “humanitarian pause” in the fighting. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has rejected the idea of a humanitarian pause despite calls from many countries.
Israel claims that Hamas’s attack on southern Israeli towns and kibbutzes on October 7 resulted in the deaths of approximately 300 soldiers and 1,100 civilians. On the other hand, the Gaza health ministry reports that Israeli strikes have killed at least 8,796 Palestinians, including 3,648 children.
Josep Borrell, the European Union foreign policy chief, expressed his shock at the high number of casualties in Jabalia and called on all sides to respect the laws of war and humanity.
The military confirmed that fifteen Israeli soldiers were killed in Gaza fighting on Tuesday, marking the largest one-day loss since the offensive began. One more soldier was killed on Wednesday.
Netanyahu acknowledged the challenges of the war and promised to the citizens of Israel that they will press ahead until victory is achieved.
Rocket fire from Hamas continued on Wednesday, with warning sirens sounding in southern Israel communities and the port cities of Ashkelon and Ashdod.
The ongoing violence, the worst in years of sporadic warfare, comes at a time when Palestinian aspirations for an independent state and an end to Israel’s occupation seem unlikely. Peace talks are a distant memory, and Israel’s right-wing government has expanded Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank. Hamas, viewed as an existential threat by Israel, has vowed to destroy the Jewish state.
This article was reported by Nidal al-Mughrabi and Emily Rose, with additional reporting by RushHourDaily bureaux. It was written by Angus MacSwan and Gareth Jones, and edited by Louise Heavens, William Maclean, and Mark Heinrich.
The Thomson RushHourDaily Trust Principles apply to this article.
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