Gaza hospitals are overwhelmed with patients and desperately low on supplies as invasion looms

Update Gaza hospitals are overwhelmed with patients and desperately low on supplies as invasion looms
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Ambulances carrying victims of Israeli strikes crowd the entrance to the emergency ward of the Al-Shifa hospital in Gaza City on October 15, 2023. (Photo by Dawood Nemer/AFP)
Update Gaza hospitals are overwhelmed with patients and desperately low on supplies as invasion looms
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Injured Palestinians wait for treatment at the overcrowded emergency ward of Al-Shifa hospital in Gaza City following an Israeli airstrike on October 11, 2023, as raging battles between Israel and the Hamas movement continued for the fifth consecutive day. (Photo by Mohammed Abed/AFP)
Update Gaza hospitals are overwhelmed with patients and desperately low on supplies as invasion looms
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Medics attend to children, wounded by Israeli airstrikes, at Al-Shifa hospital in Gaza City on October 11, 2023. (Photo by Mohammed Abed/AFP)
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Updated 16 October 2023
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Gaza hospitals are overwhelmed with patients and desperately low on supplies as invasion looms

Gaza hospitals are overwhelmed with patients and desperately low on supplies as invasion looms
  • The Gaza Health Ministry said 2,670 Palestinians have been killed and 9,600 wounded since the fighting erupted
  • More than 1,400 Israelis were killed, the vast majority of them civilians, in Hamas’ Oct. 7 assault
  • Hezbollah says rocket fire in north "just a warning, it does not mean we are entering war"

KHAN YOUNIS, Gaza Strip: Medics in Gaza warned Sunday that thousands could die as hospitals packed with wounded people ran desperately low on fuel and basic supplies. Palestinians in the besieged coastal enclave struggled to find food, water and safety ahead of an expected Israeli ground offensive in the war sparked by Hamas’ deadly attack.
Israeli forces, supported by a growing deployment of US warships in the region, positioned themselves along Gaza’s border and drilled for what Israel said would be a broad campaign to dismantle the militant group. A week of blistering airstrikes have demolished entire neighborhoods but failed to stem militant rocket fire into Israel.
The Gaza Health Ministry said 2,670 Palestinians have been killed and 9,600 wounded since the fighting erupted, more than in the 2014 Gaza war, which lasted over six weeks. That makes this the deadliest of the five Gaza wars for both sides.
More than 1,400 Israelis were killed, the vast majority of them civilians, in Hamas’ Oct. 7 assault. At least 155 others, including children, were captured by Hamas and taken into Gaza, according to Israel. It’s also the deadliest war for Israel since the 1973 conflict with Egypt and Syria.
The US State Department said Secretary of State Antony Blinken would return to Israel on Monday after completing a frantic six-country tour through Arab nations aimed at preventing the fighting from igniting a broader regional conflict. President Joe Biden is also considering a trip to Israel, according to a senior administration official, though no plans have been finalized.
Fighting along Israel’s border with Lebanon, which has flared since the start of the latest Gaza war, intensified Sunday with Hezbollah militants firing rockets and an anti-tank missile, and Israel responding with airstrikes and shelling. The Israeli military also reported shooting at one of its border posts. The fighting killed at least one person on the Israeli side and wounded several on both sides of the border.
An Israeli drone fired two missiles late Sunday at a hill west of the town of Kfar Kila in south Lebanon, the state-run National News Agency reported. There were no casualties reported in the strikes, which hit near a Lebanese army center.
The Israeli army said in a post on X, formerly known as Twitter, that it had hit Hezbollah targets but did not specify what they were.

‘Hezbollah: rocket fire just a warning’

Hezbollah said in a statement that it had fired rockets toward an Israeli military position in the northern border town of Shtula in retaliation for Israeli shelling that killed Reuters videographer Issam Abdallah on Friday and two Lebanese civilians on Saturday.
A Hezbollah spokeswoman, Rana Sahili, said the increased fighting represented a “warning” and did not mean Hezbollah has decided to enter the war.
With the situation in Gaza growing increasingly desperate, the US named David Satterfield, the former US ambassador to Turkiye with years of experience in Mideast diplomacy, to be special envoy for Middle East humanitarian issues. US national security adviser Jake Sullivan said in a statement Sunday that Satterfield will focus on getting humanitarian assistance to Palestinians in Gaza.
Hospitals in Gaza are expected to run out of generator fuel within two days, endangering the lives of thousands of patients, according to the UN Gaza’s sole power plant shut down for lack of fuel after Israel completely sealed off the 40-kilometer (25-mile) long territory following the Hamas attack.
In Nasser Hospital, in the southern town of Khan Younis, intensive care rooms were packed with wounded patients, most of them children under the age of 3. Hundreds of people with severe blast injuries have come to the hospital, where fuel is expected to run out by Monday, said Dr. Mohammed Qandeel, a consultant at the critical care complex.
There were 35 patients in the ICU who require ventilators and another 60 on dialysis. If fuel runs out, “it means the whole health system will be shut down,” he said, as children moaned in pain in the background. “All these patients are in danger of death if the electricity is cut off.”
Dr. Hussam Abu Safiya, the head of pediatrics at the Kamal Adwan Hospital in northern Gaza, said the facility did not evacuate despite Israeli orders. There were seven newborns in the ICU hooked up to ventilators, he said. Evacuating “would mean death for them and other patients under our care.”
Ahmed Al-Mandhari, the regional director of the World Health Organization, said hospitals were able to move some mobile patients out of the north, but most patients can’t be evacuated, he said.
Shifa hospital in Gaza City, the territory’s largest, said it would bury 100 bodies in a mass grave as an emergency measure after its morgue overflowed. Tens of thousands of people seeking safety have gathered in the hospital compound.
Gaza was already in a humanitarian crisis due to a growing shortage of water and medical supplies caused by the Israeli siege.
“An unprecedented humanitarian catastrophe is unfolding under our eyes,” said Philippe Lazzarini, the head of the UN agency for Palestinian refugees. He said his agency was no longer able to provide humanitarian assistance and that the number of people seeking shelter in schools and other facilities in southern Gaza exceeded capacity.
Sullivan told CNN that Israeli officials told him they had turned the water back on in southern Gaza. Israel’s minister of energy and water, Israel Katz, said in a statement that water had been restored at one “specific point” in Gaza. A spokesman said the location was outside Khan Younis. Aid workers in Gaza said they had not yet seen evidence the water was back.
Israel has ordered more than 1 million Palestinians — almost half the territory’s population — to move south. The military says it is trying to clear away civilians ahead of a major campaign against Hamas in the north, where it says the militants have extensive networks of tunnels, bunkers and rocket launchers.
Hamas urged people to stay in their homes, and the Israeli military released photos it said showed a Hamas roadblock preventing traffic from moving south.
Nevertheless, more than 600,000 people had evacuated the Gaza City area, said Israel’s chief military spokesman, Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari.
About 500,000 people, nearly one quarter of Gaza’s population, were taking refuge in United Nations schools and other facilities across the territory, where water supplies were dwindling, said Juliette Touma, spokesperson for the UN’s Palestinian refugee agency. “Gaza is running dry,” she said.
The agency says an estimated 1 million people have been displaced in Gaza in a single week.
The US has been trying to broker a deal to reopen Egypt’s Rafah crossing with Gaza to allow Americans and other foreigners to leave and humanitarian aid amassed on the Egyptian side to be brought in. The crossing, which was closed because of airstrikes early in the war, has yet to reopen.
Israel has said the siege will only be lifted when the captives are returned.
Hamas rocket attacks on Israel continued Sunday, spurring a broader evacuation from the southern Israeli city of Sderot. The city of about 34,000 people sits about a mile (1.6 kilometers) from Gaza and has been a frequent rocket target. “The kids are traumatized, they can’t sleep at night,” Yossi Edri told Channel 13 before boarding a bus.
The military said Sunday an airstrike in southern Gaza had killed a Hamas commander blamed for the killings at Nirim, one of several communities Hamas attacked in southern Israel. Israel said it struck over 100 military targets overnight, including command centers and rocket launchers.
Israel has called up some 360,000 military reserves and massed troops and tanks along the border with Gaza. Israeli officials gave no timetable for a ground invasion.
 


Iran-backed Hezbollah downs Israeli drone in southern Lebanon

Iran-backed Hezbollah downs Israeli drone in southern Lebanon
Updated 22 April 2024
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Iran-backed Hezbollah downs Israeli drone in southern Lebanon

Iran-backed Hezbollah downs Israeli drone in southern Lebanon
  • Hezbollah said the drone was an Israeli Hermes 450, a multi-payload drone made by Elbit Systems, an Israel-based weapons manufacturer

AMMAN: Iran-backed Lebanese group Hezbollah said on Sunday it downed an Israeli drone that was on a combat mission in southern Lebanon.
The drone that was brought down above the Al Aishiyeh area in southern Lebanon was “waging its attacks on our steadfast people,” a statement said by the group said.
Israeli forces and Lebanon’s armed group Hezbollah have been exchanging fire for over six months in parallel to the Gaza war, in the most serious hostilities since they fought a major war in 2006.
Hezbollah said the drone was an Israeli Hermes 450, a multi-payload drone made by Elbit Systems, an Israel-based weapons manufacturer.
The fighting has fueled concern about the risk of further escalation.
At least 370 Lebanese, including more than 240 Hezbollah fighters and 68 civilians, have been killed in the fighting according to a Reuters tally. Eighteen Israelis, including soldiers and civilians, have been killed on the Israeli side of the border, according to Israeli tallies.

 


UK PM discusses Gaza developments with Jordan’s king

UK PM discusses Gaza developments with Jordan’s king
Updated 22 April 2024
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UK PM discusses Gaza developments with Jordan’s king

UK PM discusses Gaza developments with Jordan’s king
  • Sunak told the king that the UK’s ultimate goal is to achieve a workable two-state solution for Israelis and Palestinians

LONDON: British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak on Sunday made a phone call to Jordan’s King Abdullah to discuss developments in the Gaza Strip, 10 Downing Street announced.
During the call, Sunak renewed the UK’s support for Jordan’s security and that of the region, saying a significant escalation is “not in anyone’s interests.”
He added that the UK’s focus remains on finding a solution to the conflict in Gaza.
The UK continues to work toward an immediate humanitarian truce to bring in much larger amounts of aid and return the Israeli hostages held by Hamas safely to their families, “leading to a longer-term sustainable ceasefire,” Sunak said.
The two leaders “discussed joint efforts to significantly step up aid to Gaza, with the UK taking part in Jordanian-led aid drops and a humanitarian land corridor to Gaza, as well as the maritime aid corridor from Cyprus,” Downing Street said.
Sunak told the king that the UK’s ultimate goal is to achieve a workable two-state solution for Israelis and Palestinians. 
The two leaders “agreed on the importance of supporting a reformed Palestinian authority to deliver stability and prosperity across the Palestinian territories,” Downing Street said.
King Abdullah warned of the danger of regional escalation, which he said threatens international peace and security, Jordan’s official Petra news agency reported.
He renewed his call for the international community to intensify efforts to reach an immediate and permanent ceasefire in Gaza to alleviate the worsening humanitarian catastrophe in the besieged Palestinian territory, and warned of the dangerous consequences of an Israeli assault on Rafah.
The king stressed the need to protect civilians in Gaza and ensure the delivery of humanitarian aid. 
He pointed to the importance of continuing to support the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees to enable it to provide its humanitarian services in accordance with its UN mandate.


Rockets fired from Iraq at US-led coalition base in Syria

Rockets fired from Iraq at US-led coalition base in Syria
Updated 22 April 2024
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Rockets fired from Iraq at US-led coalition base in Syria

Rockets fired from Iraq at US-led coalition base in Syria
  • The Iraqi military said its forces found the vehicle used by "outlaws" in the attack in northern Nineveh province
  • War monitor said the Islamic Resistance in Iraq, a loose alliance of Iran-backed groups, was behind the attack

BAGHDAD: Rockets were fired late Sunday from northern Iraq at a military base in Syria housing a US-led coalition, according to Iraqi security forces.
In response, the Iraqi forces launched a major search operation in northern Nineveh province and found the vehicle used in the attack, they said in a statement.
It is the first major attack against the coalition forces in several weeks.
It comes days after Israel reportedly responded to an Iranian attack with a drone strike on the Islamic republic, amid tensions fueled by the Gaza war.
The statement from the Iraqi security forces accused “outlaw elements of having targetted a base of the international coalition with rockets in the heart of Syrian territory,” at around 9:50 p.m. (1850 GMT).
The security forces burned the vehicle involved in the attack, the statement added.
Rami Abdel Rahman, director of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights war monitor, said several rockets had been fired “from Iraqi territory at the Kharab Al-Jir base” in northeast Syria, where US forces are stationed.
He accused the Islamic Resistance in Iraq, a loose alliance of Iran-backed groups, of staging the attack.
The group has claimed most of the attacks on US forces carried between mid-October and early February.
Following a series of rocket attacks and drone strikes by pro-Iran armed factions against US soldiers deployed in the Middle East over the winter, there had been several weeks of calm.

*The Islamic Resistance in Iraq has said it is acting in solidarity with Palestinians and out of anger at US support for Israel in the Gaza war.
A January 28 drone attack killed three US soldiers in the Jordanian desert on the Syrian border.
In response, the US military struck dozens of targets in Syria and Iraq, aiming for pro-Iran forces, and drawing criticism from the governments of both countries.
The United States has around 2,500 soldiers stationed in Iraq and nearly 900 across the border in Syria as part of an international coalition created in 2014 to fight the Daesh group (IS).
Sunday night’s rocket attack came against the background of increasing tension in the region, with a flare-up between Iran and Israel.
Early on Saturday, an explosion at an Iraqi military base killed one person and wounded eight others.
Security forces said the blast hit the Kalsu military base in Babylon province south of Baghdad, where regular army, police and members of Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Forces, or Hashed Al-Shaabi, are stationed.
CENTCOM, the US military command in the region, denied involvement in a strike there. The Israeli army refused to comment.
 


Israel’s brutal tactics blamed for Palestinians’ financial crisis

Israel’s brutal tactics blamed for Palestinians’ financial crisis
Updated 21 April 2024
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Israel’s brutal tactics blamed for Palestinians’ financial crisis

Israel’s brutal tactics blamed for Palestinians’ financial crisis

JERUSALEM: The Gaza war is speeding up Israel’s “annexation” of the Palestinian economy, say analysts, who argue it has been hobbled for decades by agreements that followed the Oslo peace accords.

While the Israel-Hamas war raging since Oct. 7 has devastated swaths of Gaza, it has also hit the public finances and wider economy of the Israeli-occupied West Bank.

Israel is tightening the noose on the Palestinian Authority, which rules parts of the West Bank, by withholding tax revenues it collects on its behalf, said economist Adel Samara.

Palestinian livelihoods have also been hurt by bans on laborers crossing into Israel and by a sharp downturn in tourism in the violence-plagued territory, including a quiet Christmas season in Bethlehem.

Samara said that “technically speaking, there is no Palestinian economy under Israeli occupation — Israel has effectively annexed our economy.”

The Palestinian economy is largely governed by the 1994 Paris Protocol, which granted sole control over the territories’ borders to Israel and, with it, the right to collect import duties and value-added tax for the Palestinian Authority.

Israel has repeatedly leveraged this power to deprive the authority of much-needed revenues.

But the Gaza war has further tightened Israel’s grip, Samara said, with the bulk of customs duties withheld since Hamas sparked the war with the Oct. 7 attack on Israel.

“Without these funds, the Palestinian Authority struggles to pay the salaries of its civil servants and its running costs,” said Taher Al-Labadi, a researcher at the French Institute for the Near East.


UN rapporteur raps Israeli obstruction of field visit to Gaza

 UN rapporteur raps Israeli obstruction of field visit to Gaza
Updated 21 April 2024
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UN rapporteur raps Israeli obstruction of field visit to Gaza

 UN rapporteur raps Israeli obstruction of field visit to Gaza
  • Shoukry pointed out that the increase in Israeli assaults and illegal settlement practices in the West Bank raises the risk of the conflict erupting in the entirety of the occupied Palestinian territories

CAIRO: Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry and UN Special Rapporteur Francesca Albanese discussed the condition of human rights and Israeli practices in the occupied Palestinian territories on Sunday.

Shoukry received Albanese, the UN special rapporteur on the Palestinian territories, in Cairo, where they called for an immediate end to Israeli attacks on Gaza in compliance with international laws and demanded the safe delivery of humanitarian aid.

They also called for a stop to mounting settler violence in the West Bank, demanding accountability of the perpetrators.

Shoukry pointed out that the increase in Israeli assaults and illegal settlement practices in the West Bank raises the risk of the conflict erupting in the entirety of the occupied Palestinian territories.

He warned of the security repercussions of the humanitarian crisis in Gaza, which undermines the stability of the broader region.

The foreign minister expressed regret over the reluctance of several countries so far to describe Israeli practices as a flagrant violation of international law.

Shoukry and Albanese discussed the status of human rights and the humanitarian condition of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem.

Shoukry reiterated the need to stop Israel from implementing policies of collective punishment, indiscriminately targeting civilians, and displacing Palestinians from their lands.

The UN rapporteur denounced Israel’s refusal to allow her to conduct a field visit to the Gaza Strip and the occupied Palestinian territories.

Albanese expressed her deep concern for the catastrophic humanitarian situation Palestinians are experiencing and called on Israel to comply with its obligations under international law as the occupying power.

She also stressed her keenness to continue discussions with Egypt regarding ways to alleviate the suffering of the Palestinians.