Monday, March 4, 2024

Israel-Palestine conflict LIVE: Gaza death toll tops 15,000

Palestinian group, Hamas, which runs the Gaza Strip, has announced the start of military the operation Al-Aqsa Flood against Israel. Thousands of rockets have been fired from the blockaded enclave towards the occupied territories as far away as Tel Aviv, killing over 1,200 Israelis, including both military and settlers. More than 15,000 Palestinians have been so far killed in an exchange of fire between the two sides.

Qatar working on further truce extension

Qatar is working on further extending the truce between Hamas and Israel beyond Wednesday based on the Palestinian group’s ability to continue releasing 10 hostages per day, Doha’s foreign ministry spokesperson Majed Al-Ansari said on Tuesday.

Talks are also under way for a permanent ceasefire too, Egyptian and Qatari officials told the Wall Street Journal.

“We are working to strengthen the Qatari mediation role in reaching a truce and then a permanent ceasefire,” Ansari added.


Israel believes there are more than 170 hostages still in Gaza

Israel believes there are 173 people who were taken captive on October 7 who are still in Gaza, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office told CNN Tuesday.

Out of the abductees, 17 are foreigners and the rest are Israeli citizens.

The Israeli hostages include six children under the age of 18. The Hostages and Missing Families Forum believes there are also three 18-year-olds being held, who are legally children, under the United Nations definition.

Ahead of the fifth day of an Israel-Hamas truce, Hamas has so far freed 69 hostages and Israel has released 150 Palestinian detainees. Of all the Palestinians released so far, 98 were detained without charge, 119 were children under the UN definition, and the remaining 31 were women.


CIA director returns to Qatar for meetings with Israel and Egypt

CIA Director Bill Burns is back in Qatar on Tuesday for meetings with Qatari officials as well as his Israeli and Egyptian counterparts, according to multiple sources.

“Director Burns traveled to Doha for meetings about the ongoing Israel-Hamas war, including continued discussions on the hostages,” a US official said.

Another person familiar with the trip said Burns would be joined in Doha by the director of Israel’s Mossad, David Barnea, and the Director of Egyptian General Intelligence, Abbas Kamel.

Burns has been a central player in the Joe Biden administration’s effort to negotiate a deal for Hamas to release hostages and has been in regular contact with Barnea, who was designated by the Israelis as the point person for hostage negotiations.

Burns was in Doha earlier this month on November 9 meeting with Qatari leadership and Barnea to go over the “emerging arrangement”, a senior administration official stated. A week and a half later Burns called into a meeting in Doha led by the White House’s top Middle East advisor, Brett McGurk, as the finishing touches were being put on the agreement that would see at least 50 hostages released over four days.


More people could die from disease than bombs in Gaza: WHO

More people could die from diseases than from Israeli bombings in Gaza if the health system is not put back on its feet quickly, a World Health Organisation spokesperson has said.

“Eventually we will see more people dying from disease than from bombardment if we are not able to put back together this health system,” the WHO’s Margaret Harris stated on Tuesday.

She described the collapse of Al Shifa Hospital – the largest medical facility in Gaza – as a “tragedy” and voiced concern about Israeli forces detaining some of its medical staff.


Israel obtains list of 10 more hostages slated for release

The Israeli government has been given a list of hostages held by Hamas in Gaza, who are anticipated to be released Tuesday as part of the extended truce, as reported by Israel’s Army Radio.

According to Axios, the list includes 10 hostages.

As of now, there has been no official response from the prime minister’s office regarding this matter.


Israel includes 50 Palestinian prisoners for potential release in exchange for additional freed hostages

Israel has agreed to add 50 female Palestinian prisoners to the roster of those scheduled for release in the event more Israeli hostages are freed from Gaza, the Israeli prime minister’s office announced on Tuesday.

This announcement followed the one from Qatari mediators that the initially agreed four-day truce, aimed at facilitating a swap of Israeli hostages for Palestinian detainees and due to end after Monday, has been prolonged for an additional two days.


Gaza death toll passes 15,000

The number of Palestinians killed has passed the 15,000 mark, a Palestine spokesperson for the media office of the Palestinian Authority said.

The spokesperson added that among the dead are more than 6,150 children and 4,000 women.

An additional 7,000 Palestinians are missing and believed to be under rubble or their fate is unknown. At least 4,700 children and women are missing.


Truce extensions details emerge, 20 more Israelis in exchange for 60 Palestinians

In an interview with Al Jazeera, the official spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Qatar, Majed al-Ansari, said that the original deal allowed for a one-day extension of the truce for every additional 10 Israelis released.

“We have from Hamas a confirmation now that 20 extra hostages will be released in the next two days,” the Qatari foreign ministry spokesman stated.

“On the Palestinian side, that would mean that … 60 Palestinians will be released from Israeli prisons,” he added.


US secretary of state will travel to Israel and other places in Middle East this week

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s trip to NATO headquarters this week will include additional stops in the Middle East.

“After Brussels, Secretary Blinken will travel this week to Skopje, Israel, the West Bank, and Dubai,” a senior State Department official said.

During those meetings, Blinken will “stress the need to sustain the increased flow of humanitarian assistance to Gaza, secure the release of all hostages and improve protections for civilians in Gaza”, the official added.

Blinken will also talk with leaders about “the future of Gaza and the need to establish an independent Palestinian state”, the official said, adding that Blinken will aim to “continue efforts to prevent the conflict from spreading”.


Israeli military will fight with stronger force when combat resumes against Hamas: DM

Israel’s defense minister said the military will fight with a stronger force after the truce when it returns to combat against Hamas.

Yoav Gallant stated the operation will be carried out across the entire Gaza Strip.

“You have a few days. When we return to fighting, we will apply the same force and more … and we will fight across the whole of the (Gaza) Strip,” Gallant said while addressing a group of Israeli soldiers on Monday.

He made the comments before Qatar announced an agreement had been reached to extend the Israel-Hamas truce in Gaza by two additional days.

“Remember that while you are organizing and resting and researching, the enemy is also doing the same. You will meet something that is a little more ready,” Gallant continued.

“Therefore, they will first meet the bombs of the Air Force, and after that the shells of the tanks and the artillery and the paws of the D9 (bulldozers), and finally the shooting of the infantry fighters, we will fight in the entire strip,” the minister added.

More than 14,800 Palestinians have been killed in Israeli attacks in Gaza between October 7 and November 23, according to figures from the Palestinian Ministry of Health in the West Bank, which draws its data from Hamas-run health authorities in the Gaza Strip.

The statement said at least 6,000 children and 4,000 women were killed. More than 30,000 people have been injured, the statement read.

The Ministry of Health added it is having difficulties in updating casualty numbers “due to a breakdown in services and communication in hospitals in the north of Gaza”.


Surgeon estimates as many as 900 children have had limbs amputated in Gaza

A British-Palestinian surgeon who treated patients at hospitals in Gaza estimates that between 700 and 900 children have had limbs amputated since the start of the Israel-Hamas war on October 7.

Dr Ghassan Abu-Sittah said he recently returned to London after spending several weeks at hospitals in the enclave. Speaking at a news conference in London, he described carrying out surgeries on children without any anesthetic or basic medical supplies.

“My estimate is that there are now between 700 and 900 children with amputations of limbs, in some of whom multiple limbs have been amputated,” he added

Abu-Sittah said he felt guilty for leaving others behind and said some of his medical colleagues had been killed since he left.

He also rejected claims made by the Israel Defense Forces that Hamas had a command center beneath Al-Shifa hospital.

“I have been working in Shifa on and off at every war since 2009,” he continued, adding that in 2014 the International Committee of the Red Cross informed them that Israel had threatened to bomb the hospital, which is the largest in Gaza.

“At no stage — even when I had to gown down to the infamous radiology department with the CT scans and the MRI scans — I have never seen any indication that there was something other than your typical, barely functioning, third-world, governmental hospital,” he stated.

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