A Qatari-mediated deal was set to allow foreigners and critically wounded individuals to leave the Gaza Strip on Wednesday. This comes as Israeli forces continue their offensive against Hamas militants in the besieged Palestinian enclave. The deal, reached between Egypt, Israel, and Hamas, followed a day of bloodshed in Gaza, where an Israeli airstrike in a refugee camp killed approximately 50 people. Israel claimed that the attack targeted a senior Hamas commander and other combatants. Communications and internet services in Gaza were completely cut off again on Wednesday.
The Israeli military entered Gaza in response to a deadly attack by Hamas on southern Israel on October 7. Israel has vowed to eliminate Hamas, but the civilian death toll and dire humanitarian conditions in Gaza have raised concerns worldwide. The lack of essential resources such as food, fuel, drinking water, and medicine, along with overwhelmed hospitals, has exacerbated the crisis. In an effort to address the situation, Qatar, which maintains ties with both Israel and Hamas, mediated a deal allowing critically wounded individuals and foreign passport holders to leave Gaza and enter Egypt.
Ambulances were seen waiting at the Rafah border crossing between Egypt and Israel, where the evacuations were scheduled to take place. However, this deal is not linked to other issues, such as the release of hostages held by Hamas or a “humanitarian pause” in the fighting, which many countries have called for but Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has rejected. According to Israeli figures, the Hamas attack on southern Israel on October 7 resulted in the deaths of approximately 300 soldiers and 1,100 civilians. The Gaza health ministry reports that at least 8,525 Palestinians, including 3,542 children, have been killed in Israeli strikes since October 7.
On Tuesday, Israeli strikes targeted Jabalia, Gaza’s largest refugee camp, resulting in the deaths of Ibrahim Biari, a key Hamas commander involved in the planning and execution of the October 7 assault, and dozens of Hamas militants. Palestinian health officials reported at least 50 deaths and 150 injuries, while Hamas claimed there were 400 dead and injured in Jabalia. Eleven Israeli soldiers were also killed in intense fighting on Tuesday, marking the largest single-day loss for the Israeli armed forces since the start of the offensive. Israeli Defence Minister Yoav Gallant stated that Hamas militants had two options: “either be killed or surrender without conditions.” He emphasized that this was a war for the future of Israel.
Following a temporary lull in rocket fire, the Israeli military resumed sounding sirens in multiple southern communities and port cities. Meanwhile, two of Gaza’s main hospitals, Al Shifa Medical and the Indonesian Hospital, faced a power outage as their generators ran out of fuel. Gaza health ministry spokesperson Ashraf Al-Qidra urgently called on petrol station owners to provide fuel, as doctors worked tirelessly to treat casualties with limited supplies. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who is scheduled to visit Israel on Friday, stated that the United States and other countries were exploring various possibilities for the future of Gaza if Hamas militants were removed from control.
The conflict in Gaza, which has received support from Iran, has raised concerns about a wider escalation in the region. In response, the Israeli military deployed missile boats in the Red Sea, following drone and missile attacks claimed by the Houthis in Yemen. The article was reported by Nidal al-Mughrabi and Emily Rose, with additional reporting by RushHourDaily bureaux. It was written by Miral Fahmy and Angus MacSwan, and edited by Lincoln Feast and Louise Heavens. The article adheres to the Thomson RushHourDaily Trust Principles.
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