The White House announced that Israel has agreed to pause military operations in certain parts of north Gaza for four hours each day. However, despite this announcement, there is no evidence of a decrease in the ongoing fighting that has resulted in numerous casualties and extensive damage in the region.
According to White House national security spokesperson John Kirby, these pauses in military operations are significant initial steps. They would allow people to evacuate through two humanitarian corridors and potentially facilitate the release of hostages.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, on the other hand, indicated that any pauses in fighting would be sporadic, and there has been no official confirmation of a plan for recurring breaks.
When asked if there would be a complete stoppage in fighting, Netanyahu clarified that the fighting would continue against Hamas terrorists but in specific locations for limited periods of time. The goal is to ensure the safe passage of civilians away from the conflict zone.
Despite the announcement of these pauses, there have been no reports of a lull in fighting on the ground in northern Gaza. Israeli forces have surrounded Gaza City and are advancing into the heart of the city as they search for Hamas militants. Both sides have reported heavy casualties in intense street battles.
Israeli officials have mentioned measures that seem to align with existing arrangements. In recent days, Israel has allowed civilians to travel safely along the main Gaza route south for a few hours each day. The White House’s statement suggests that a second route may be opened.
Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant stated that localized and targeted measures are being taken to enable the safe exit of Palestinian civilians from Gaza City towards the south. These measures are intended to protect civilians without detracting from the ongoing military operations.
During an evening press briefing, chief Israeli military spokesperson Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari revealed that Israeli troops breached a “Hamas security quarter” in north Gaza. This area reportedly included command centers, munitions manufacturing plants, and other posts. Over 50 terrorists were eliminated, and significant intelligence material was obtained.
The United Nations emphasized the need for coordination regarding any breaks in fighting. According to U.N. spokesperson Stephane Dujarric, such a program would require agreement among all parties involved, particularly regarding timing and location.
The Israeli assault on Gaza was initiated in response to a cross-border raid by Hamas on southern Israel. Israeli tallies indicate that 1,400 people, mostly civilians, were killed, and approximately 240 hostages were taken. Israel has reported the loss of 33 soldiers in Gaza.
Palestinian officials have reported that 10,812 Gaza residents, including 40% children, have been killed as of Thursday due to air and artillery strikes. The region is facing a humanitarian crisis as essential supplies dwindle, and the medical system struggles to cope with the influx of wounded individuals.
Barbara Leaf, the top U.S. diplomat for the Middle East, expressed concerns that the actual Gaza death toll may be even higher than reported. The full extent of the casualties will only be known once the fighting ceases.
Health officials and aid organizations in Gaza anticipate that the death toll will continue to rise as more bodies are recovered from the rubble of destroyed buildings.
In Doha, the heads of the CIA and Israel’s Mossad intelligence agency met with the Qatari prime minister to discuss potential deals for hostage releases and a temporary halt to the Hamas-Israel conflict.
Israeli forces have advanced closer to two major hospitals in northern Gaza where civilians have sought refuge. The Al Shifa Hospital and al-Quds Hospital are currently overwhelmed with both ground battles and Israeli airstrikes.
Israel has accused Hamas of using Al Shifa Hospital to hide command posts and entry points to an extensive tunnel network. However, Hamas and the hospital deny these allegations.
Israel’s advance towards the hospital has raised concerns about the protection of medical facilities and displaced individuals. While Israel has been demolishing Hamas tunnels elsewhere, international laws emphasize the need to safeguard medical facilities and those seeking shelter.
In Paris, representatives from around 80 countries and organizations gathered to coordinate humanitarian aid for Gaza and explore ways to assist wounded civilians in escaping the ongoing siege.
Jan Egeland, the secretary general of the Norwegian Refugee Council, emphasized the urgent need for a ceasefire, an end to the siege, and an end to indiscriminate bombing and warfare to prevent further loss of life.
Israel and the United States argue that a full ceasefire would benefit Hamas, and Israel’s defense minister reiterated that there would be no ceasefire.
Civilians fleeing from north to south Gaza shared harrowing accounts of their journey, witnessing decomposed bodies and civilian casualties. The situation remains tense, with additional conflicts erupting along other fault lines.
An unidentified drone struck a civilian building in the Israeli city of Eilat, causing minor damage. Yemen’s Houthi movement claimed responsibility for firing ballistic missiles towards the Red Sea port city.
In the occupied West Bank, ten Palestinians were killed by Israeli forces during a raid on Jenin city and the refugee camp. Israel’s military stated that these actions were part of counter-terrorism operations.
The article concludes with information about the author, the Thomson RushHourDaily Trust Principles, and a brief biography of the senior correspondent who has extensive experience covering the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.
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