Friday, June 21, 2024

Israel-Palestine conflict LIVE: Health ministry says Gaza’s largest hospital suspended operations

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 1,400 Israelis, including both military and settlers. More than 11,000 Palestinians have been so far killed in an exchange of fire between the two sides.

Israeli forces shoot at people fleeing Al Shifa hospital: MSF

Doctors Without Borders confirmed reports that people are being shot at as they try to exit the al-Shifa Hospital.

“At the time of writing, our staff are witnessing people being shot at as they attempt to flee the Al-Shifa hospital,” it wrote on X.

Israeli tanks ‘meters away’ from Al Quds hospital: Palestinian Red Crescent

The Palestinian Red Crescent sent out an emergency call out and said Israeli tanks are less than 20 metres away from the Al Quds hospital in Gaza.

Writing on X, formerly known as Twitter, the PRCS announced the Al Quds hospital, which has been attacked by Israeli forces, is hosting 14,000 displace people.

“Direct shooting at the hospital, creating a state of extreme panic and fear among 14,000 displaced people,” added the PRCS.

Qatar’s emir condemns silence on Gaza

Abbas calls on the US to stop ‘Israeli aggression’ against Gaza

The President of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, used his speech at the extraordinary summit of the Organisation of the Islamic Cooperation and the Arab League, to condemn the situation unfolding in Gaza.

Speaking on Saturday in Riyadh, Abbas said, “We call on the US to stop the Israeli aggression against Gaza” and said Palestinians are facing an “unmatched genocidal war”.

Here is a summary of the Palestinian Authority President’s remarks at the Riyadh summit:

  • The United Nations Security Council must live up to its responsibility and obligation to put an end to this belligerent war on our people without further delay.
  • We call on the US administration to put an end to Israel’s aggression, the occupation, violation and desecration of our holy sites.
  • We need, and we seek, international protection for our unarmed civilians.
  • The West Bank and Jerusalem are coming under daily attacks by occupation forces as well as illegal settlers.
  • No military and security solutions are acceptable as they have all failed.
  • We categorically reject any efforts to displace our people from Gaza or the West Bank.

Saudi Crown Prince condemns ‘crimes committed against Palestinian people’

Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman condemned Israel and held them responsible for what he called “crimes committed against Palestinian people”, calling for an end to the siege of the Gaza Strip.

Speaking during an extraordinary joint Islamic-Arab summit in Riyadh, the crown prince also called for the immediate end of military operations and the release of hostages held by Palestinian groups in Gaza.

“This is a humanitarian catastrophe that has proved the failure of the international community and the United Nations Security Council to put an end to Israel’s gross violations of international humanitarian laws, and prove the dual standards adopted by the world,” he added.

“We are certain the only cause for peace is the end of the Israeli occupation and illegal settlements, and restoration of the established rights of the Palestinian people and the establishment of the state on 1967, with East Jerusalem as its capital,” the Saudi crown prince said.

ICRC ‘shocked and appalled’ by reports of situation at al-Shifa hospital

The director general of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), Robert Mardini, has said the organisation is “shocked and appalled” by the images and reports emerging from al-Shifa hospital in Gaza.

He added the “unbearably desperate situation” must stop now and that patients and staff must be protected.

The regional director for Near and Middle East at the ICRC also stated information coming out of Al-Shifa hospital were “Distressing”.

In a brief post on X, Fabrizio Carboni said the situation “cannot continue like this” as “thousands of wounded, displaced people and medical staff are at risk”.

Israeli army used white phosphorus on al-Shifa: Palestine health minister

Health Minister Mai al-Kaila has accused Israeli forces of shelling Gaza’s largest hospital with white phosphorus.

“This is an internationally banned weapon. We are wondering who is responsible for holding Israel to account for shelling al-Shifa Hospital with white phosphorus,” she told a news conference in Ramallah, adding that Israeli forces were committing a “genocide” in Gaza.

“Inevitable death has become the fate of patients in Gaza hospitals – and we hold Israel, the United Nations and the international community responsible for that.”

Rights groups have accused Israel of using white phosphorus in Gaza and Lebanon over the past month. Israel has denied the allegation.

The director of the health ministry in Gaza, Monir al-Barsh, said “any moving object” around al-Shifa Hospital is a target for the Israeli forces, and that the high number of dead bodies has led to plans to dig a mass grave within the hospital premises.

“We cannot move within or outside the perimeter of the hospital. We are surrounded, we cannot bury our dead.

“We are going to create a mass grave within the hospital compound,” he added.

Ashraf al-Qudra, spokesperson of Gaza’s Health Ministry, says the displaced people, wounded, and medical staff inside al-Shifa Hospital are suffering due to the lack of food and water.

The situation is worsened by the power blackout, with fear also spreading due to the heavy gunfire by the Israeli forces, he added.

“We are besieged inside al-Shifa Medical Complex,” al-Qudra stated.

Operations suspended in al-Shifa hospital: Gaza health ministry

The spokesperson for the Gaza health ministry said that operations in al-Shifa hospital complex, the largest in the enclave, were suspended on Saturday after it ran out of fuel.

“As a result, one newborn baby died inside the incubator, where there are 45 babies,” Ashraf Al-Qidra, the spokesperson for the health ministry told Reuters.

Al-Shifa hospital, hit by missiles on Friday, is the largest in the 360-sq-km Gaza Strip.

Hezbollah, Israel exchange fire ahead of Nasrallah’s second speech

Hezbollah and Israel have exchanged fire across the Lebanese border on Saturday, both sides have confirmed, ahead of a second speech from Hezbollah chief Seyyed Hassan Nasrallah.

“A short time ago, an alert was issued about the fear of hostile aircraft infiltrating the northern area, no aircraft were detected that penetrated the territory of the State of Israel. In addition, a launch was detected towards the Margaliot area that fell in an open area. The IDF attacks with artillery the source of the shooting in Lebanese territory,” the Israeli military announced in a statement.

The Hezbollah chief is set to speak later today and it is widely believed that he will maintain the course of Hezbollah distracting Israeli troops with a second front but not expanding it into full war.

UNRWA chief calls on Arab states to do more to help Gaza

The head of the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) stated the humanitarian situation in Gaza is “catastrophic” and Arab states need to do more to help Palestinians.

In a statement ahead of addressing Saturday’s extraordinary summit meeting of the League of Arab States in Riyadh, Philippe Lazzarini said “the people of the Gaza Strip have always relied on Arab support and solidarity”.

“They need it now, more than ever,” he continued.

Arab states, he added, need to “bring back the hope and revive the political horizon of the Palestinian people before it is too late”.

More than 100 UNRWA staff have been killed since the beginning of Israel’s war on Gaza, the highest number ever of UN workers killed in a conflict.

UN says lives of children in Gaza ‘hanging on by a thread’

The lives of one million children in Gaza are “hanging on by a thread”, UNICEF’s Middle East and North Africa Regional Director Adele Khodr stated.

“Thousands and thousands of children remain in northern Gaza as hostilities intensify. These children have nowhere to go and are at extreme risk,” Khodr said in a statement.

“The protection of hospitals and delivery of lifesaving medical supplies is an obligation under the laws of war, and both are needed now,” the statement added.

Biden official raised option of moving Palestinians in Gaza into Egypt: Report

A report published by HuffPost stated that David Satterfield, who was appointed as a special Middle East humanitarian envoy by US President Joe Biden, raised the idea of moving Gaza civilians into Egypt during a high-level meeting last month.

The report cited an American official that was in the meeting.

HuffPost reported that Satterfield “backed off” the idea since then. Biden has publicly opposed the idea that Palestinians in Gaza be displaced to Egypt.

A State Department spokesperson told the news site in an email: “This reporting is false.”

“Special Envoy Satterfield has vociferously been against this, has not raised this as [a] policy consideration in any meeting, and has reiterated publicly and privately that the US does not support forcible displacement of Palestinians from Gaza. Not now, not after the war.”

MSF reports dramatic intensification of attacks on al-Shifa Hospital

The international charity Doctors Without Borders warned attacks on the al-Shifa Hospital have “dramatically intensified” in the last few hours and staff have reported “a catastrophic situation”.

“We urgently reiterate our calls to stop the attacks against hospitals and for the protection of medical facilities, medical staff, and patients,” the organisation announced.

MSF also repeated an earlier notice that it was unable to contact its staff at the hospital and that it was “extremely concerned” about their safety and that of patients.

Saudi Arabia will host a joint Arab Islamic summit Saturday

Saudi Arabia will host a Joint Arab Islamic Extraordinary Summit on Saturday in response to the “unprecedented circumstances in Gaza,” according to a statement released by the Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs early Saturday local time.

Saudi Arabia was initially going to host Arab and Islamic Summits separately on Saturday but has decided to combine the two after consultations with the League of Arab States and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation.

Red Cross: Gaza health system has ‘reached a point of no return’

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) called for the “immediate protection of all civilians, including humanitarian workers and medical personnel” in Gaza, as it warns that the besieged enclave’s health system has collapsed.

“The healthcare system in Gaza has reached a point of no return risking the lives of thousands of wounded, sick and displaced people,” a statement from the ICRC said.

It added that ICRC teams in Gaza “have witnessed horrendous images that have now gotten worse due to sharpened hostilies”.

Children’s hospitals have been heavily damaged by the fighting, the ICRC said, adding, “Any military operation around hospitals must consider the presence of civilians, who are protected under international humanitarian law”.

“The rules of war are clear. Hospitals are specially protected facilities under international humanitarian law.”

ICU patients and babies “will lose their lives” at Gaza City hospital facing shutdown: PRCS

Gaza City’s Al-Quds Hospital could shut down in the coming hours, threatening the lives of patients and babies, the Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS) warned.

“Al-Quds Hospital is at risk of closure in the upcoming 3 hours due to the depletion of fuel supplies and the non-arrival of aid,” PRCS said in a statement early Saturday local time.

“500 patients and injured will be deprived from medical care. Those who are at the ICU and babies in incubators will lose their lives,” it added.

On Wednesday, PRCS announced it was scaling back most operations amid a fuel shortage to ensure the provision of minimal services.

So far, at least 18 out of Gaza’s 35 functioning hospitals have gone out of service, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health in Ramallah on Thursday.

Israel preparing for a year of fighting in Gaza: Report

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) is preparing to fight in Gaza for a year, according to a report.

Israel’s military is set to expand its ground operations into areas of the Gaza Strip where the IDF has never operated before, Channel 12 reported.

The report said the IDF is “preparing for a period of a year of fighting … in different areas … different methods, but a year of fighting to get to the fourth stage of this war: the entry of a new government in Gaza that is not Hamas and is not backed by the Iranians.”

There is “no pressure to hurry”, the report added.

‘Acts of war in places of grace must stop’: UN official says amid Israeli attacks on Gaza hospitals

Amid Israeli attacks on hospitals in the Gaza Strip, UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Martin Griffiths on Friday said “acts of war in places of grace must stop.”

“Horrific reports of attacks on Al Shifa hospital coming out of Gaza today,” he wrote in a post on X.

“The lives of thousands of patients, staff and displaced civilians are at risk. Under international humanitarian law, hospitals must be protected,” he added.

Palestinians risking airstrikes to get bread amid extreme scarcity: UN

Palestinians in the besieged Gaza Strip are risking death and injury from Israeli airstrikes in order to receive desperately needed bread, the UN warned Friday amid extreme scarcity in the coastal enclave.

“People are lining up for hours, we’re told, in front of bakeries. That exposes them to the impact of airstrikes,” spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said.

Painting a picture of the dire situation for many in Gaza, Dujarric stated, “essential food items such as rice and vegetable oil are nearly depleted in public markets. Other items including flour, dairy products, eggs and mineral water have disappeared from the shelves in shops across Gaza in the past two days.”

Multiple Israeli raids in West Bank

Several Israeli military raids have been reported in the occupied West Bank in the early hours of Saturday.

Israeli forces have stormed several towns near Jerusalem, and confrontations also are taking place in Ni’lin, west of Ramallah, according to Al Jazeera.

Raids have also been conducted in Silat al-Dhahr, a town located south of Jenin.

While much of the world’s attention has been focused on Israel’s assault on Gaza, Israeli troops have been carrying out nightly raids across the occupied West Bank and arresting hundreds of Palestinians.

According to the rights group Addameer, Israel has detained more than 2,300 Palestinians in the West Bank since 7 October.

Netanyahu says Israeli army to control Gaza after war

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday stated Israel will have the overall security responsibility of the Gaza Strip after its current conflict with Hamas ends.

His office in a statement said he met local council leaders of Gaza’s adjacent communities in Tel Aviv, and told them that “after eliminating Hamas, there will be complete Israeli security control over the Gaza Strip, including complete disarmament, to ensure that there is no threat from the Strip to the citizens of Israel.”

“There is a great determination here on your part and on the part of the government to return to the way things were before the war,” Netanyahu continued, adding: “First of all, restoring security – making sure that Hamas does not exist and that Hamas does not return.”

Israel has repeatedly announced that the goal of the war, which it started last month after the Palestinian group’s surprise attack, is to end Hamas’s rule in Gaza, eliminate its military capabilities, and bring back hostages.

Mass grave to be dug at Al-Shifa: Palestinian health ministry director

The director of the Palestinian health ministry in Gaza, Munir al-Bursh, announced that a mass grave will be dug at Al-Shifa Hospital on Saturday to bury the people who have been killed so far at the hospital, according to several Palestinian news outlets.

Bursh stated the grave would be dug on hospital grounds “because we cannot go out to bury them”.

The Israeli military has launched relentless air strikes, artillery fire and gunfire for hours near the al-Shifa hospital on Friday and Saturday.

Much of the bombardment is targeting al-Shati refugee camp and Nasser Street, according to local media reports.

The two locations are just metres away from al-Shifa, the largest hospital in Gaza.

Intense Israeli aerial and artillery shelling fighting were also reported near Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City late on Friday.

UN Security Council addresses dire humanitarian situation in Gaza

United Nations officials addressed the humanitarian situation in Gaza as Israeli and Palestinian UN representatives accused one another of targeting medical facilities during a UN Security Council briefing Friday.

The meeting began with a minute of silence for the deaths of Palestinians, Israeli citizens and foreign nationals, as well as UN officials and journalists in Gaza and the West Bank.

While describing the dire situation unfolding in Gaza, World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Ghebreyesus said there are “morgues overflowing; surgery without anesthesia; tens of thousands of displaced people sheltering at hospitals.”

Ghebreyesus added the WHO has verified more than 250 attacks on health care in Gaza and the West Bank since October 7. The WHO also identified 25 attacks on health care in Israel, he continued.

“Half of the Gaza Strip’s 36 hospitals and two-thirds of its primary health care centers are not functioning at all,” Ghebreyesus said.

“I fully understand the anger, grief and fear of the Israeli people following the horrific, barbaric and unjustifiable attacks by Hamas and other armed groups on Israeli civilians on the 7th of October,” Ghebreyesus added.

“I also understand the anger, grief and fear of the people of Gaza, who had already suffered through 16 years of blockade, and are now enduring the destruction of their families, their homes, their communities and the life they knew.”

The head of the WHO has described the situation on the ground in Gaza, from hospitals conducting operations without anaesthetics to the fact that a child is killed every 10 minutes.

“Nowhere and no one is safe,” Ghebreyesus told the UN security council on Friday.

The Israeli and Palestinian UN representatives traded accusations of targeting medical facilities.

Ambassador Riyad Mansour, the Permanent Observer of the State of Palestine to the UN, pleaded for UN countries to “stop the massacre.”

“Hospitals have become Israel’s primary target. They are besieged and their vicinity bombed,” Mansour said.

Mansour accused Israel of driving the displacement of Palestinians.

“They want us out of our country, out of our land. Their strategic enemy is the independence of our state,” Mansour added.

Wearing a yellow star with the words “Never Again,” Israeli UN Ambassador Gilad Erdan harshly rebuked UN officials who brief the council.

“Sadly, they are relaying falsehoods that are completely detached from reality,” Erdan said.

Erdan accused Hamas of targeting hospitals and using hospitals as bases and using ambulances as taxis.

“Every medical worker, doctor and patient in Gaza is a human shield to the Hamas terrorists,” Erdan added.

Water, electricity and communications cut from Indonesian Hospital

Electricity, water and communication have been completely cut from the Indonesian Hopsital in northern Gaza, according to the Palestinian health ministry.

The ministry posted a video on its Telegram channel showing the medical facility in total darkness.

The Interior Ministry in Gaza has also announced a “series of violent raids” by Israeli fighter jets have attacked the vicinity of the Indonesian Hospital in the enclave’s north.

On Thursday night, scores of civilians were killed and wounded after Israeli bombardment that targeted the vicinity of the Indonesian Hospital.

Israel lowers its estimated death toll from Hamas attacks on October 7 to 1,200

Israel now believes around 1,200 people were killed by Hamas in a series of brutal attacks on Israeli communities and gatherings near Gaza on October 7.

The number includes foreign workers and other foreign nationalities, foreign ministry spokesperson Lior Haiat said in response to online questions from journalists – and is a downward revision from a previous figure of 1,400.

The current estimate is not a final number, Haiat emphasized, because some of the bodies have yet to be identified.

The spokesperson’s online communication did not include a reason for the reduction, and he did not immediately respond to subsequent requests for an explanation.

Macron says ‘no justification’ for killing civilians in Gaza

The French president became one of the first Western leaders to call for a “ceasefire”, as France hosted a summit discussing humanitarian aid for Gaza. Many leaders have instead opted to use the term “humanitarian pause”.

He repeated the appeal during an interview with the BBC: “De facto – today, civilians are bombed – de facto. These babies, these ladies, these old people are bombed and killed.”

“So there is no reason for that and no legitimacy. So we do urge Israel to stop,” Emmanuel Macron said

Macron also stated he hoped the US and UK would join the call for a ceasefire. Still, he said he was a head of state, “not a judge”, and was thus not qualified to say if Israel had committed war crimes.

He added while he shared Israel’s “pain”, their approach risked further undermining security: “It’s extremely important for all of us because of our principles, because we are democracies. It’s important for the mid- to long-run, as well as for the security of Israel itself, to recognise that all lives matter.”

UK health workers call for ceasefire on Downing Street

The demonstration is the latest seeking to pressure Western governments to lean on Israel for a ceasefire.

Israeli officials have stated a ceasefire is not currently on the table.

The group also called for the immediate entry of aid into the bombarded enclave.

Israel has blocked fuel deliveries from being included in the small amount of aid that has been allowed to enter Gaza, leaving many hospitals forced to shutter and others working at a skeletal capacity.

About 200,000 people have lost homes in Gaza, where 45% of housing is damaged or destroyed: UN office

At least 45% of Gaza’s housing has been destroyed or damaged as of November 4, and as many as 200,000 people no longer have homes, according to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

Gaza is one of the most densely populated places in the world, with more than 500 people per 100 square meters in many areas, according to the European Commission.

Israel has carried out multiple airstrikes about a kilometer from the Rafah crossing — the only way in and out of Gaza that isn’t controlled by Israel. The crossing, which is controlled by Egypt, has been mostly closed since Hamas launched its unprecedented attack on Israel on October 7.

Northern Gaza has had no electricity or fuel since October 11. One-third of hospitals have had to close, and those that remain open are often operating with limited electricity and without anesthesia or clean water, the UN humanitarian office announced.

All bakeries in the north have had to close, either due to damage or lack of fuel.

Gaza’s sole power plant is out of fuel, and the seawater desalination plant in the north is also down. Drinking water is running out for hundreds of thousands of civilians. Most sewage pumping facilities are not operating.

UN officials report that 14 hospitals and 71% of primary care facilities across Gaza are closed.

More than 100 UN workers killed in Gaza since the Israel-Hamas war began: Agency

At least 101 employees of the main United Nations agency working in the Palestinian territories have been killed in Gaza since October 7, the agency confirmed Friday.

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) said it was “devastated” by the deaths of more than 100 colleagues in a post on social media Friday.

“Mothers, fathers, teachers, nurses, doctors, guards, logisticians, support staff, all at the service of their community,” UNRWA noted, adding, “We honor their memory and their service.”

Earlier Friday, UNRWA head Philippe Lazzarini also stated he was “devastated” by the deaths of colleagues and called for a humanitarian ceasefire.

The UN agency has more than 10,000 people working in its Gaza Field Office, according to the UNRWA website.

UNRWA runs the largest humanitarian operation in the Gaza Strip and provides assistance and protection for registered Palestinian refugees.

At least 25 people killed in Israeli attacks on Gaza City school

At least 25 people were killed in Israeli attacks on a Gaza City school, said the director of Al-Shifa Hospital where the casualties were taken.

“We received 25 martyrs from Al-Buraq School after missile and artillery strikes targeted the school this morning,” director Mohammad Abu Salmiya of Gaza’s largest hospital complex told Al Jazeera on Friday.

Video footage shared on social media showed dozens of bodies strewn across the school in the Al-Nasr neighbourhood in the aftermath of the attack. People whose homes had been destroyed were sheltering in the school.

Last week, an Israeli air missile struck the Al-Fakhoora School run by the United Nations agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA) in the Jabalia refugee camp, killing at least 15 people and injuring 54, according to Gaza’s Ministry of Health.

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