© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Smoke rises as displaced Palestinians take shelter at Al Shifa hospital, amid the continuing battle between Hamas and Israel, in Gaza City, November 8, 2023. REUTERS/Doaa Rouqa/File Photo
By Nidal al-Mughrabi
GAZA (Reuters) -U.S. President Joe Biden mentioned hospitals within the Gaza Strip should be protected and he hoped for “less intrusive” motion by Israel as Israeli tanks superior to the gates of the besieged enclave’s important hospital.
Israeli tanks have taken up positions exterior Al Shifa Hospital, Gaza City’s important medical centre, which Israel says sits atop tunnels housing a headquarters for Hamas fighters who’re utilizing sufferers as shields.
Hamas denies the Israeli declare.
Israel launched its warfare in opposition to Hamas after the Islamist Palestinian group’s Oct. 7 rampage into southern Israel. Around 1,200 individuals died in that assault and 240 had been dragged to Gaza as hostages in accordance with Israel’s tally.
The armed wing of Hamas mentioned it was able to free as much as 70 ladies and youngsters held in Gaza in trade for a five-day truce within the warfare. Gaza medical authorities say greater than 11,000 individuals have been confirmed killed in Israeli bombardment, about 40% of them youngsters.
Roughly two-thirds of the individuals within the densely populated Mediterranean strip have been made homeless by Israel’s army marketing campaign, wherein it has ordered the northern half of Gaza evacuated.
Gaza well being ministry spokesperson Ashraf Al-Qidra, who was inside Al Shifa hospital, mentioned on Monday 32 sufferers had died within the earlier three days, together with three newborns, due to the siege of the hospital in northern Gaza and an absence of energy.
The Israeli army mentioned early on Tuesday it had “initiated a humanitarian effort to coordinate transfer of incubators” from Israel to Al Shifa however made clear not one of the units, usually used to maintain pre-mature newborns heat, had been acquired by the power.
There was no speedy remark from Al Shifa or from Hamas.
At least 650 sufferers had been nonetheless inside Al Shifa hospital, determined to be evacuated to a different medical facility.
In his first feedback because the weekend’s occasions, together with affected person deaths reported at Al Shifa, Biden mentioned hospitals should be protected.
“My hope and expectation is that there will be less intrusive action relative to hospitals and we remain in contact with the Israelis,” Biden advised reporters on the White House on Monday.
“Also there is an effort to get this pause to deal with the release of prisoners and that’s being negotiated, as well, with the Qataris … being engaged,” he added. “So I remain somewhat hopeful but hospitals must be protected.”
Israel says Hamas makes use of hospitals for army functions and Israel’s army on Monday launched video and pictures of what it mentioned had been weapons the group saved within the basement of Rantissi hospital, a paediatric hospital specializing in most cancers remedy.
HOSTAGES FOR CEASEFIRE?
Al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of Hamas, posted an audio recording on its Telegram channel saying the group was able to launch as many as 70 ladies and youngsters hostages in return for a five-day ceasefire, a suggestion Israel is unlikely to embrace.
“We told the (Qatari) mediators that in a five-day truce, we can release 50 of them and the number could reach 70 due to the difficulty that the captives are held by different factions,” mentioned al-Qassam Brigades spokesman Abu Ubaida mentioned, saying Israel had requested for 100 to be freed.
Israel, which successfully blockades Gaza, has rejected a ceasefire, arguing that Hamas would merely use it to regroup, however has permitted temporary humanitarian “pauses” to permit meals and different provides to movement in and foreigners to flee.
White House nationwide safety adviser Jake Sullivan advised reporters Washington would “like to see considerably longer pauses – days, not hours – in the context of a hostage release.”
A Washington Post opinion author on Tuesday quoted an unnamed high-ranking Israeli official as saying Israel and Hamas are near a deal to free many of the kidnapped Israeli ladies and youngsters with Israel concurrently releasing Palestinian ladies and youths held in its prisons. An settlement might be introduced inside days if the small print are labored out.
There was additionally combating on Monday at a second main hospital in northern Gaza, al-Quds, which has stopped functioning.
The Palestinian Red Crescent mentioned there was heavy gunfire across the hospital and a convoy to evacuate sufferers and employees couldn’t get by.
Israel mentioned it killed “approximately 21 terrorists” at al-Quds in return hearth after fighters shot from the hospital entrance. It launched footage it mentioned confirmed males on the hospital gate, certainly one of whom appeared to hold a rocket-propelled grenade launcher.
Israel’s army and safety companies additionally mentioned they’d killed quite a few Hamas commanders and officers within the final day, together with Mohammed Khamis Dababash, who they described because the group’s former head of army intelligence.
Hamas media mentioned greater than 30 individuals had been killed and scores injured in an Israeli air strike on the Jabalia refugee camp in northern Gaza. An Israeli army spokesperson mentioned the military was checking the report on Jabalia.