Israel’s military has announced its readiness to evacuate babies from Gaza’s largest hospital, where two newborns have died and many more are at risk due to fuel shortages caused by intense fighting in the area. The humanitarian situation has worsened, prompting Gaza’s border authority to reopen the Rafah crossing into Egypt for foreign passport holders. Jordan has also provided aid to a field hospital in the enclave. Hamas claims to have destroyed numerous Israeli military targets in Gaza, while an Israeli military spokesperson states that Hamas has lost control of northern Gaza. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has confirmed the deaths of five more Israeli soldiers in Gaza, bringing the total to 46 since the ground operations began. Israel reports ongoing rocket fire from Gaza into southern Israel, where it claims that Hamas killed 1,200 people and took over 200 hostages last month. Palestinian officials state that 11,078 Gaza residents, including 40% children, have been killed in air and artillery strikes since October 7.
Reports suggest progress towards a possible deal to release hostages held by Hamas in Gaza. Israeli TV news channels report that the deal would involve the release of 50 to 100 women, children, and elderly individuals in stages during a three to five-day pause in fighting. Israel would release women and minor Palestinian prisoners and consider allowing fuel into Gaza, while reserving the right to resume fighting. Thousands of people in Tel Aviv have rallied in support of the hostage families. Gaza residents report clashes between Israeli troops and Hamas gunmen in and around Gaza City, where Al Shifa hospital is located. The hospital has ceased functioning due to fuel shortages, resulting in the deaths of two babies in an incubator. The World Health Organization expresses concern for the safety of those trapped in the hospital and reports a loss of communication with its contacts there. Israel insists that doctors, patients, and evacuees must leave hospitals in northern Gaza to target Hamas command centers, while Hamas denies using hospitals in this way.
Israel’s chief military spokesperson confirms that the Israeli military will assist in evacuating babies from Al Shifa hospital at the request of the staff. However, Al-Qidra, representing the health ministry in Hamas-controlled Gaza, states that they have not been informed of any mechanism for the babies’ safe transfer. The World Health Organization expresses “grave concern” for those trapped in the hospital and announces a loss of communication with its contacts there. Israel claims that hospitals in northern Gaza must be evacuated to target Hamas gunmen, while medical staff and Palestinian officials argue that moving patients could result in deaths and that Israeli fire makes it dangerous for others to leave. Israeli Agriculture Minister Avi Dichter refers to the evacuations as “Gaza’s Nakba,” drawing a parallel to the mass displacement of Palestinians in 1948. Muslim and Arab countries meeting in Saudi Arabia call for an immediate end to military operations in Gaza and reject Israel’s self-defense justification. They also urge the International Criminal Court to investigate Israel for war crimes and crimes against humanity.
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