The latest developments from the Israel Hamas war.
Fuel shortage shuts down Gaza’s phone and internet
A severe fuel shortage in the Gaza Strip has shut down all internet and phone networks, the main Palestinian telecom provider said on Thursday, effectively cutting off the besieged territory from the outside world.
And in a signal that Israel’s ground invasion is about to expand in the south, Palestinians in parts of southern Gaza said they received evacuation notices on Thursday.
Most of Gaza’s 2.3 million people are crammed into the south, including hundreds of thousands who heeded Israel’s calls to evacuate the north to get out of the way of its offensive. Residents say there is a shortage of bread and that supermarket shelves are bare. Central electricity and running water have been out for weeks.
More than 11,470 Palestinians — two-thirds of them women and minors — have been killed since the war began, according to Palestinian health officials, who do not distinguish between civilian and militant deaths. About 2,700 people are reported missing.
Israel vowed to wipe out Hamas after the militant group began its incursion on October 7. About 1,200 people have died in Israel, most during the initial attack, and about 240 were taken prisoner by militants.
Israeli raid on Gaza’s largest hospital continues
The Israeli army continues its assault on the al-Shifa hospital in northern Gaza, where it claims to have found material pointing to the fate of the hostages taken by Hamas on October 7.
An Israeli army official said on Thursday that “images related to the hostages” taken during the Hamas attack on Israel had been found on computers seized during the army’s raid on Gaza’s al-Shifa hospital.
The images were found on equipment “belonging to Hamas,” the official said in a statement. “Soldiers are searching every floor, building by building, while hundreds of patients and medical staff are still inside the complex,” the same source said.
After a days-long siege, Israeli troops and tanks raided the huge hospital complex early yesterday morning, sparking serious international concern for the thousands of critically ill patients, newborns and displaced civilians trapped inside.
The Israeli army accuses Hamas of using the hospital as a military base, something both Hamas and hospital staff deny.
Dozens of Israeli soldiers, some wearing hoods, burst into the hospital early Wednesday, according to a journalist working with AFP on the ground.
“All males aged 16 and above, raise your hands in the air and exit the buildings towards the courtyard to surrender,” soldiers shouted in Arabic.
They also searched crying women and children, the journalist reported. In the hospital corridors, troops sometimes fired into the air as they moved from room to room.
Dwindling supplies and no water or electricity have left those in the medical facility in a dire humanitarian situation, with the hospital having no way to operate incubators and other life-saving equipment.
Gaza’s health ministry said 40 patients, including three infants, have died since Shifa’s emergency generator ran out of fuel on Saturday.
After days without refrigeration, mortuary staff on Tuesday dug a mass grave for 120 bodies in the yard.
Biden ‘slightly hopeful’ about Hamas release of hostages
The US president says he is “mildly hopeful” there will be a deal to free the more than 200 people held hostage in Gaza.
“I don’t want to get ahead of myself because I don’t know what happened in the last four hours, but we’ve had great cooperation from the Qataris,” Joe Biden said after a meeting with his Chinese counterpart on Wednesday.
Qatar has led ongoing negotiations between Israel and Hamas.
A hostage gave birth in captivity in the Gaza Strip, the wife of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Wednesday.
The war was triggered by Hamas’ attack on southern Israel on October 7, unprecedented since the state’s creation in 1948.
About 1,200 people, most of them civilians, were killed, according to authorities. Israel also says around 240 people were kidnapped, including foreign nationals.
In retaliation, Israel vowed to “annihilate” Hamas, relentlessly shelling the Gaza Strip and placing it under almost total siege.
Israeli bombings have left 11,500 dead, most of them civilians, including 4,710 children, according to Palestinian officials.
Washington, which provides significant military aid to Israel, has given unwavering support to its ally since the attack, saying it has the right to defend itself against Hamas while worrying about the high number of Palestinians killed.
Israeli opposition leader calls on Netanyahu to quit
Israeli opposition leader Yair Lapid on Wednesday night demanded that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu resign without waiting for the end of the military operation against Hamas.
“Netanyahu should leave immediately… We need change, Netanyahu cannot remain prime minister,” Lapid said in an interview with Israeli channel N12.
“We cannot afford to lead a long (military) campaign with a prime minister in whom the population no longer has any confidence.”
Lapid accused Netanyahu’s government of an “inexcusable failure” for not preventing Hamas’ deadly attack on southern Israel.
The opposition leader did not call early elections but a motion of confidence in parliament, paving the way for a new government led by another member of Netanyahu’s Likud party.
“This is not the time to hold elections… We should choose national reconstruction with another Likud prime minister,” he said.
In a press release, Netanyahu’s party described such a proposal in a “time of war” as “shameful.”
Violent pro-Palestinian demonstration in front of Democratic Party headquarters
Clashes broke out between dozens of pro-Palestinian protesters and police on Wednesday night outside the Democratic Party headquarters in Washington, forcing the closure of nearby US congressional offices.
“Our officers are working to contain approximately 150 people who are demonstrating illegally and violently” near the party offices, Capitol Police said in a statement on X.
“Officers are making arrests,” added police, who reported six injuries in their ranks for “minor cuts” and “beats.”
Elected officials who were in the Democratic National Committee (DNC) offices at the time were escorted out of the building by police to safety.
Protesters are demanding a ceasefire and an end to Israel’s military operation in the Gaza Strip.
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