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. Meanwhile, Gaza’s border authority has stated that the Rafah crossing into Egypt will reopen for foreign passport holders. Hamas claims to have destroyed over 160 Israeli military targets, while an Israeli military spokesperson says 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.
There are reports of progress towards a possible deal to free hostages held by Hamas in Gaza. Netanyahu has declined to comment on the details of the deal, which is said to involve the release of women, children, and the elderly in stages during a temporary pause in fighting. Israel would release Palestinian prisoners and consider allowing fuel into Gaza, but reserves the right to resume fighting after the deal. Thousands of people in Tel Aviv have rallied in support of the hostage families.
Gaza residents have reported all-night clashes between Israeli troops and Hamas gunmen in and around Gaza City, where the Al Shifa hospital is located. The hospital has suspended operations due to fuel shortages, resulting in the deaths of two babies in incubators. Israeli shelling has also killed a patient in intensive care, and snipers have fired into the medical complex, limiting movement. However, an Israeli defense ministry official denies that there is a siege or shooting at the hospital.
Israel’s chief military spokesperson has stated that the Israeli military will assist in evacuating babies from the hospital. Israel claims that doctors, patients, and evacuees in northern Gaza must leave so that they can target Hamas gunmen who have allegedly placed command centers under and around hospitals. Hamas denies using hospitals in this way, and medical staff argue that moving patients could result in deaths. Israeli Agriculture Minister Avi Dichter describes the situation as “Gaza’s Nakba,” referring to the mass dispossessions of Palestinians in 1948.
A senior plastic surgeon at Al Shifa hospital has described the continuous bombardment and the scary atmosphere in the hospital. The military wing of Hamas ally Islamic Jihad has reported violent clashes near the hospital and in other areas of Gaza. Israel has killed a Hamas “terrorist” who allegedly prevented the evacuation of another hospital in the north. Israel claims that rockets are still being fired from Gaza into southern Israel, where it says Hamas has taken hostages. Palestinian officials claim that over 11,000 Gaza residents have been killed in air and artillery strikes since October 7.
In London, hundreds of thousands of pro-Palestinian demonstrators marched, while in Brussels, over 20,000 people joined a pro-Palestinian rally. Muslim and Arab countries meeting in Saudi Arabia have called for an immediate end to military operations in Gaza.
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