Sunday, June 23, 2024

Israel-Palestine conflict LIVE: Israeli army raids Gaza’s largest hospital

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 11,500 Palestinians have been so far killed in an exchange of fire between the two sides.

UNRWA: Water pumps and sewage facilities stopped in south Gaza due to lack of fuel

Thomas White, the director of the UN’s agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA), has said that water pumps and sewage treatment in the south of the Gaza Strip have stopped due to lack of fuel.

“In Rafah all (10) water wells have stopped pumping – the only source of water in the city – why? – no fuel. The Khan Younis desalination plant has stopped working – supplies drinking water for 100,000s of people – why? – no fuel. No sewage pumping in Rafah all (3) sewage pumps have stopped working – simply because they ran out of fuel,” he wrote on X.

“Just received 23,027 litres of fuel from Egypt (half a tanker) – but its use has been restricted by Israeli authorities – only for transporting aid from Rafah. No fuel for water or hospitals. This is only 9% of what we need daily to sustain lifesaving activities,” he added.

Israel says will track down and kill Hamas leaders wherever they are

Cabinet minister Benny Gantz has stated that Israel will track down and kill Hamas leaders wherever they are in the world, and threatened anti-Israeli forces in Lebanon, saying “what we are doing effectively in the south, can work even better in the north.”

The Times of Israel quotes Gantz, a member of Benjamin Netanyahu’s national unity war cabinet, noting, “There will be no sanctuary cities, no sanctuary houses. We will go wherever we need to in order to eradicate child murderers – above and below ground. In Gaza and around the world. We will reach the heads of government just as we reached the centres of government.”

Addressing the military action in Gaza, Gantz added the Israeli soldiers continue to operate “deep inside Gaza City” against those “who have turned hospitals into command centers, from which war crimes are committed.”

Israel has repeatedly claimed that Hamas uses hospitals as bases, a charge which Hamas has denied.

Gaza’s telecommunications companies warn of ‘imminent blackout’

Gaza’s two main telecommunications companies, Paltel and Jawwal, warned on Wednesday of a “complete telecom blackout in the coming hours” in the Gaza Strip.

“Main data centres and switches in the Gaza Strip are gradually shutting down due to fuel depletion,” the companies announced in a joint statement.

Erdogan: ‘Israel is a terror state’

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan stated on Wednesday that Israel is a “terror state” committing war crimes and violating international law in Gaza.

Speaking to lawmakers in parliament, Erdogan also called on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to announce whether Israel had nuclear bombs or not.

He added Turkey will be working on the international stage to ensure Israeli settlers are recognised as “terrorists” during increasing violence in the occupied West Bank.

Erodgan has been vocal in condemning Israel’s relentless strikes on Gaza since the October 7 Hamas attack.

Israeli forces ‘brutally assaulted’ men at al-Shifa Hospital: Staff

Omar Zaqout, an emergency room employee at al-Shifa Hospital, told Al Jazeera that Israeli soldiers have “detained and brutally assaulted some of the men who were taking refuge at the hospital”.

“Israeli forces took the detained men naked and blindfolded. [They] did not bring any aid or supplies, they only brought terror and death,” he said, adding that the army is now surrounding every building within the hospital complex.

“More than 180 dead bodies are deteriorating and are still lying in the hospital’s yard,” he continued.

“The situation is very terrifying, gunshots are heard everywhere in the hospital’s perimeters.”

Israel, Hamas discussing hostage exchange on children-for-children formula

Israel and the Palestinian movement Hamas are considering exchanging hostages on the basis of the ‘children-for-children’ formula proposed during the talks, the Israeli state broadcaster Kan reported, citing sources.

The proposal was made during the talks mediated by Qatar and the United States.

According to the sources, it involves the release of Israeli children held in the Gaza Strip in exchange for Palestinian children held in Israel. The broadcaster pointed out that negotiations are still ongoing and no final agreement has been reached.

Red Cross says ‘extremely concerned’ over Israeli hospital raid

International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) voiced alarm over Israeli military activities at Gaza’s largest hospital.

“We are extremely concerned about the impact on sick and wounded people, medical staff, and civilians,” ICRC said in a statement, insisting “all measures to avoid any consequences on them must be taken”.

Al-Shifa Hospital in the Gaza Strip is now host to almost 9,000 people, including patients and those injured, Gaza officials announced in a statement.

Israeli army blindfold, strip and detain people inside al-Shifa Hospital

The head of the emergencies department at al-Shifa hospital in Gaza said on Wednesday that the Israeli army was “blindfolding, stripping and taking people sheltering to an unknown destination”.

He also refuted Israeli army claims that any incubators and baby food were given in the hospital.

“We have not seen anything off the back of these Israeli claims of them bridging in milk or incubators for babies,” he stated.

“There are no clashes inside the hospital, only gunfire coming from the Israeli army,” he added.

He described the situation as “terrifying”, as dead bodies begin to decay as people have been unable to bury them.

UN humanitarian chief ‘appalled’ by Israeli military raid on hospital

Martin Griffiths, the United Nations humanitarian affairs chief, said that he was “appalled by reports of military raids in Al Shifa hospital”, on Wednesday.

“The protection of newborns, patients, medical staff and all civilians must override all other concerns,” he said on social media platform X.

He added: “Hospitals are not battlegrounds.”

Al Shifa doctor says staff hiding from Israeli gunfire during hospital raid

A doctor at the Gaza Strip’s Al Shifa hospital told Reuters on Wednesday that staff are hiding from Israeli gunfire during the ongoing raid.

Another doctor at the medical facility has told Reuters that the Israeli military has opened fire outside the hospital during the raid, and have forced staff to stay away from windows.

The doctor denied all Israeli accusations that the hospital was used as a Hamas command centre.

Netanyahu scolds Trudeau on social media after Canadian leader calls for “maximum restraint’ in Gaza

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu took to social media Wednesday to rebuke his Canadian counterpart Justin Trudeau after he urged Israel to show “maximum restraint” in its military operations in Gaza.

In remarks shortly before a government announcement in British Columbia, Trudeau said the world was witnessing horrific events, including “this killing of women, and children, of babies.”

“This has to stop,” Trudeau added.

“The human tragedy that is unfolding in Gaza is heart-wrenching, especially the suffering we see in and around the Al-Shifa Hospital. I have been clear that the price of justice cannot be the continued suffering of all Palestinian civilians,” Trudeau stated.

“Even wars have rules, all innocent life is equal in worth, Israeli and Palestinian. I urge the government of Israel to exercise maximum restraint,” he added.

Netanyahu pushed back on Trudeau’s comments on “X”, formerly Twitter, saying Hamas was to blame for the horrific events Trudeau cited, not Israel.

“It is not Israel that is deliberately targeting civilians but Hamas that beheaded, burned and massacred civilians in the worst horrors perpetrated on Jews since the Holocaust,” Netanyahu wrote.

The Israeli leader continued, “While Israel is doing everything to keep civilians out of harm’s way, Hamas is doing everything to keep them in harm’s way. Israel provides civilians in Gaza humanitarian corridors and safe zones, Hamas prevents them from leaving at gunpoint. It is Hamas not Israel that should be held accountable for committing a double war crime – targeting civilians while hiding behind civilians. The forces of civilization must back Israel in defeating Hamas barbarism.”

In his remarks, Trudeau acknowledged that Hamas was using Palestinians as human shields and repeated his call that all hostages be released immediately and unconditionally, noting that Hamas has said that it would commit horrors like those on October 7 over and over.

Trudeau will attend the annual summit of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation group or APEC beginning Wednesday in California where he, US President Joe Biden and other world leaders are set to discuss the conflict in the Middle East on the sidelines of the summit.

Al-Shifa director tells Israeli military entering hospital will ‘terrify patients’

In a recorded conversation broadcast on Al Jazeera Arabic, al-Shifa Hospital director Munir al-Barsh is heard telling Israeli forces not to cause “hysteria and panic” in the hospital during the raid.

“There are many wounded patients inside and lots of people who are dead or close to death…if you enter the hospital it will terrify people, there are children and elderly, my primary concern is the patients,” he said.

“The hospital is filled with people from the first floor to the sixth, there are dialysis patients, patients who have burns,” he added.

The raid on the al-Shifa hospital has now been ongoing for around eight hours, with doctors interrogated and rooms search. Patients and displaced people sheltering in the hospital have been forced out, regardless of their condition.

The Israeli military is maintaining that they are carrying out an operation against Hamas, however, no evidence has been presented to suggest Hamas is operating from the hospital.

Palestinians trying to flee al-Shifa hospital fired on: Health official

Palestinians trying to flee al-Shifa hospital during an Israeli raid on the facility were fired on, Munir al-Bursh, the director general of hospitals in Gaza told Al Jazeera.

Bursh stated Israeli forces had searched the surgical and emergency buildings within the hospital complex, but didn’t discover any armed fighters.

The Israeli military has announced it is conducting a “precise and targeted operation” at the hospital to target Hamas fighters.

Hamas has denied using the hospital as a military base and accused Israel of committing war crimes by raiding the medical facility.

Israeli army found no indication yet of hostages’ presence at Al-Shifa Hospital

The Israeli army has not yet found any indication that hostages are inside the Al-Shifa hospital, according to Israeli radio.

It added searches inside the complex continue.

The Israeli military said early Wednesday morning it was “carrying out a precise and targeted operation” at Al-Shifa, Gaza’s biggest hospital.

Israel Defense Forces (IDF) spokesperson Peter Lerner stated on Wednesday the operation at the hospital was “based on operational necessity and intelligence”.

Israel accuses Hamas militants of operating beneath its structure – an allegation the armed group and hospital officials deny.

Israel names two soldiers killed fighting in Gaza, bringing death toll to 48

Israel announced the names of two soldiers killed yesterday fighting in the northern Gaza Strip, bringing the total killed since its ground-invasion to 48.

Captain Omri Yosef David, 27, a deputy company commander in the Negev Brigade’s 9217 Battalion and Captain Yedidya Asher Lev, 26, a deputy company commander in the Givati Brigade’s Shaked Battalion were killed.

Additionally, the military confirmed four soldiers were also seriously injured during fighting in Gaza yesterday.

Palestinian health minister calls for “urgent action” to save people in Al-Shifa Hospital

The Palestinian Ministry of Health in Gaza welcomes any international observers to inspect the medical facilities at Al-Shifa Hospital, a spokesperson for the Hamas-controlled ministry stated Wednesday.

“We are ready to receive any international institutions to vouch and confirm medical work at Al-Shifa Medical Complex,” Dr. Ashraf Al-Qudra said in a statement.

The statement was released three hours before the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) announced a “precise and targeted operation” against Hamas in the area of the Al-Shifa Hospital.

Al-Qudra appealed to the international community to intervene to stop the fighting, calling the situation in the Al-Shifa medical complex “critical” and calling for “urgent action to save the patients inside”.

“There are 1,500 medical staff members and around 7,000 displaced people inside Al-Shifa Medical Complex. We appeal to all countries to take urgent action to save the patients inside,” he continued.

Al-Qudra added that Israeli military vehicles have surrounded the hospital complex and that shelling in the vicinity was ongoing.

Israeli army raid on Al-Shifa Hospital represents a “crime against humanity”: Palestinian Health Minister

The Israeli army raid on Al-Shifa Hospital represents “a new crime against humanity, medical staff, and patients”, according to Dr. Mai Al-Kaila, the Palestinian health minister.

Al-Kaila said the raid could have “catastrophic consequences” for patients and medical staff.

Hundreds of staff and patients are still at Al-Shifa, according to the most recent reports from inside the hospital, which is the largest in Gaza.

“Nowhere safe” for children in Gaza: UNICEF director

For children in Gaza there is “nowhere safe”, Catherine Russell, the UNICEF executive director stated after a rare visit to the besieged enclave.

“The parties to the conflict are committing grave violations against children; these include killing, maiming, abductions, attacks on schools and hospitals, and the denial of humanitarian access – all of which Unicef condemns,” she said in a statement on Wednesday.

“Many children are missing and believed buried under the rubble of collapsed buildings and homes…Meanwhile, newborn babies who require specialised care have died in one of Gaza’s hospitals as power and medical supplies run out, and violence continues with indiscriminate effect,” she added.

Russell called on the parties to the war to implement an immediate humanitarian ceasefire, to safely release all abducted and detained children, and to ensure the safety of humanitarian workers.

Hamas blames Israel and US for Israeli army raid on Gaza’s largest hospital

Both Israel and the United States are to blame for the Israeli army’s raid on Gaza’s largest hospital, according to a statement from Hamas.

The raid on the Al-Shifa hospital also constituted a failure by the United Nations to defend Palestinians, Hamas said.

“The silence of the United Nations and the betrayal of many countries and regimes will not deter our Palestinian people from clinging to their land and their legitimate national rights,” Hamas added.

Hamas claimed the US had given Israel, “a green light … to commit more massacres against civilians” by supporting what it called Israel’s “false narrative” – that Hamas was using Al-Shifa hospital as a command and control base.

On Tuesday, the White House and the Pentagon claimed that Hamas is storing weapons and operating a command center from Al-Shifa hospital, citing newly declassified intelligence.

The remarks echoed claims made by Israel, which Palestinian hospital officials and Hamas have consistently rejected.

Israeli tanks entered Al-Shifa hospital complex

Israeli tanks have breached Gaza’s largest hospital complex, according to journalists inside Al-Shifa.

There were gunfire exchanges across the yard, and some of the windows in one of the buildings were out.

Hundreds of staff and patients are still at Al-Shifa, according to the most recent reports from inside the hospital, along with several thousand people who have sought shelter from Israel’s air and ground offensive.

Israel says it’s carrying out a “precise and targeted operation” in Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza

The Israel Defense Forces announced it is carrying out a “precise and targeted operation” in Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza.

A statement accused Hamas of “continued military use of the Shifa hospital”, which, it said, “jeopardised the hospital’s protected status under international law”.

Israel believes it has given the Hamas operatives it accuses of being inside the hospital sufficient time to cease their activities inside the building, according to the statement.

Hospital officials have consistently rejected Israel’s claims that Hamas has built an important command center under the hospital, Gaza’s largest.

“The IDF is conducting a ground operation in Gaza to defeat Hamas and rescue our hostages. Israel is at war with Hamas, not with the civilians in Gaza,” the Israeli statement read.

Hundreds of staff and patients are still at Al-Shifa, according to the most recent reports from inside the hospital, along with several thousand who have sought shelter from Israel’s air and ground offensive.

Medics “who have undergone specified training to prepare for this complex and sensitive environment” are among the Israeli forces carrying out the raid, the IDF added.

A doctor at Al Shifa stated they were given a 30-minute warning before the Israeli operation on the complex began.

“We were asked to stay clear of the windows and the balconies. We can hear the armored vehicles, they are very close to the entrance of the complex,” Dr. Khaled Abu Samra said.

On Tuesday, the White House and the Pentagon said that Hamas is storing weapons and operating a command center from Al-Shifa Hospital.

The remarks echoed claims made by Israel, which Palestinian hospital officials and Hamas have rejected.

Around 15,000 babies expected to be born ‘into crisis’ in Gaza: Report

Nearly 15,000 babies are expected to be born in Gaza between Oct. 7 and the end of 2023, all of them at “grave risk amid escalating violence” and with “medical care, water and food at crisis levels”, Save the Children said Tuesday.

“About 15% of women giving birth are likely to experience pregnancy or birth-related complications,” the humanitarian organization said in a press release.

Their projection is based on recent UN data estimating that around 180 women give birth each day in the besieged Palestinian enclave and accounts for the rates of multiple births in the occupied Palestinian territory.

“Clean water is scarce, food and medicines are running low, and pregnant or breastfeeding women are struggling to find food. Hospitals and health facilities already facing severe shortages are under attack, putting thousands of patients, including pregnant women and newborns, in grave danger,” the statement noted.

It cited Maha, a Save the Children staff member in the Gaza Strip who was displaced to the south but used to shelter outside Al Shifa Hospital.

“The scenes at the hospitals were horrible. Pregnant women in the hallways screaming in pain. Unidentified newborn babies in incubators, without any living family members. The fuel had run out. I had to flee. I don’t know if they survived,” she stated.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 22 of Gaza’s 36 hospitals are now “non-functional”.

“Babies are being born into a nightmare, a humanitarian catastrophe. Their families are being cut off from the basics. Pregnant women are giving birth without medical care and premature babies are dying in incubators,” said Jason Lee, Save the Children’s country director in the occupied Palestinian territory.

He added that fuel must be allowed into Gaza to power the generators and healthcare facilities must be protected.

“The violence must stop. We need a cease-fire. We need it now,” he continued.

Hamas says its armed wing controls situation in Gaza Strip

Ezzedeen Al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas’ armed wing, is controlling the situation in the Gaza Strip, Osama Hamdan, a Hamas senior official, said on Tuesday.

“We [Hamas leadership] are stating that everything is all right with [Palestinian] resistance units and Ezzedeen Al-Qassam Brigades. They control the situation on the battlefield in the Gaza Strip,” the Al Jazeera television channel quoted him as saying.

He invited international organizations and humanitarian groups to visit medical facilities to make sure that there are no weapons or secret tunnels there.

According to Hamdan, Israeli troops “collect weapons and military equipment on the battlefield and place them in medical facilities to justify their statements”.

In his words, it is Israel’s government who hamper the release of hostages held by Hamas.

“The Israeli side has violated all the agreements on prisoner exchange,” he continued, adding that it is necessary “to double pressure on the [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu government” to ensure the release of hostages.

Israel waging psychological warfare: Gaza media office

Israel is spreading “lies and propaganda” about Gaza’s hospitals and medical teams, a spokesperson for the Hamas government’s media office announced.

The comment followed Israeli allegations that Hamas is using hospitals to hold Israeli captives.

The spokesperson warned about the consequences of a telecommunications shutdown, saying a media blackout would allow Israel to carry out “war crimes”.

Some 60% of dwelling houses in Gaza either ruined or damaged

Around 60% of residential building in the Gaza Strips have been either damaged or ruined as a result of Israeli attacks, the Al Jazeera television channel reported on Tuesday, citing Gaza’s authorities.

Thus, according to the Gaza authorities, some 42,000 residential houses have been destroyed and 223,000 more have been damaged.

Fighting in heart of Gaza continues: Israeli military spokesperson

An Israeli military spokesperson stated Tuesday the fighting in the “heart of Gaza” continues as Israel claims Hamas has lost control of northern Gaza, especially Gaza City.

“The fighting in the heart of Gaza continues,” IDF spokesperson Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari said during his daily news briefing, adding that Israel continues “prioritizing the elimination of senior Hamas officials inside Gaza as a main objective of the war.

“We have achievements, but it’s important to me that the public knows — we still have a lot of work to get done, and it’ll take time,” he said.

Hagari also added the total number of Israeli soldiers killed since October 7 stands at 366.

Hamas has “lost control” in northern Gaza: Israeli defense minister

Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant claimed on Tuesday that Hamas has lost control in northern Gaza, including in Gaza City.

“You’ve seen Golani troops sitting in Gaza’s Parliament. This is significant. I can tell you that in the northern Gaza Strip Hamas has lost control. In fact, we are in control of the entire area above and below ground in the northern Gaza Strip, and especially in Gaza City,” Gallant said at a news conference, referring to the IDF’s Golani Brigade.

“We’re in the second stage of the war in Gaza. In the first stage, we struck with full force, and in the second stage, over the last two weeks, we’ve been operating with multiple forces inside Gaza City. We breached the defensive lines and the barricades from the north and the south,” he added.

Ground operations will continue, the defense minister stated, and the Israeli army will “keep advancing, both today and over the next days, in order to fulfill the tasks in accordance with the cabinet’s directives”.

Netanyahu: We are “working relentlessly” to secure the release of hostages

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says he is “working relentlessly for the release of the hostages” held by Hamas in Gaza, indicating he believes increased pressure from Israel’s ground campaign inside the enclave is helping move things in the right direction.

Netanyahu is under intense pressure from Israelis to secure the safe release of the 239 people believed held in the Gaza Strip but has so far been reluctant to discuss details of negotiations – a position he stuck to in a short statement released Tuesday afternoon.

“If and when there will be something concrete to report – we will do so,” the statement concluded, which came shortly after US President Joe Biden said he believed a deal to release the hostages was “going to happen.”

A deal to secure the release of a large number of hostages that Hamas is holding in Gaza appears elusive for now, despite active negotiations involving the US, Israel, Qatar and Hamas.

The multi-party talks have been ongoing for weeks and have so far produced many ideas, but any kind of proposal involving hostages in exchange for a pause in fighting is not on the table, a US official and other diplomatic sources involved in the talks stated.

UN chief does not ‘deserve to lead’: Israeli FM

Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen stressed Secretary-General Antonio Guterres isn’t fit to lead the United Nations.

During a news conference at the UN in Geneva, Cohen said: “Guterres does not deserve to be the head of the United Nations. Guterres did not promote any peace process in the region… Guterres, like all the free nations, should say clearly and loudly: ‘Free Gaza from Hamas’.”

Israel has previously called for Guterres’s resignation after the UN chief stated Hamas’s October 7 attack “did not exist in a vacuum” and was the result of decades of occupation.

World politicians call on ICC to investigate Israel for genocide in Gaza

More than 60 politicians have called on the International Criminal Court (ICC) to investigate Israel for committing genocide in the war-torn Gaza Strip.

More than 60 left-wing politicians from Europe and Latin America launched a petition on Tuesday calling on the ICC to investigate the Israeli regime for causing genocide in the Gaza Strip 39 days after it waged an ongoing brutal war against the inhabitants of the tightly-blockaded Palestinian enclave.

“We’re not going to allow genocide with our silence and complicity. If you don’t stop brutality in time, it drags you along with it,” said Spain’s social rights minister, Ione Belarra, as she launched the initiative.

The petition named a number of Israeli leaders to be probed for genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the minister for military affairs, Yoav Galant, and finance minister Bezalel Smotrich.

The petition stresses that the ICC has enough evidence to launch arrest warrants against Netanyahu and Galant, as it also calls for an end to “occupation, apartheid and the expansion of the colonial project of … Israel.”

It was signed by Belarra, along with dozens of other prominent leftist politicians, including Jeremy Corbyn from the UK’s Labour Party, Manon Aubry from France’s Insoumise, Joana Mortagua of Portugal’s Left Bloc, and Peter Mertens of the Workers Party of Belgium.

As it is open to anyone to sign, the petition – titled “The Justice for Gaza” – has so far been signed by hundreds more people, ranging from retirees to teachers and engineers around the globe.

Its aim is to “bring together diverse voices from international civil society, political leaders and representatives, and citizens from around the world” to call on the ICC to act now.

Earlier, ICC prosecutor Karim Khan has already warned that his office is collecting evidence that could result in an international investigation against Israel’s political and military leaders, as the occupying entity keeps pounding almost all areas and facilities of the blockaded territory, including hospitals, schools and residential buildings.

Israel, like the United States, is not a member of the ICC. It refused to cooperate with the court in 2021 over the war crimes investigation into the situation in the occupied Palestinian territories.

Lebanon files UN complaint over Israel’s targeting of journalists

Lebanon said Tuesday it has filed a complaint with the United Nations Security Council against Israel’s targeting of Lebanese journalists.

“We submitted a complaint to the UN Security Council in response to the targeting of Lebanese journalists yesterday in the town of Yaroun,” Foreign Minister Abdullah Bou Habib said in a statement.

“Israel’s deliberate and direct bombing of the journalists’ convoy is a violation of international humanitarian law and a described war crime,” he added.

A cameraman working for the Doha-based Al Jazeera television was injured on Monday when a group of journalists came under Israeli missile fire in Yaroun in southern Lebanon.

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