Netanyahu defiant after UN court ruling as deaths in Gaza offensive continue

Update Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, center, wears a protective vest and helmet as he receives a security briefing with commanders and soldiers in the northern Gaza Strip, on Monday, Dec. 25, 2023. (AP)
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, center, wears a protective vest and helmet as he receives a security briefing with commanders and soldiers in the northern Gaza Strip, on Monday, Dec. 25, 2023. (AP)
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Updated 28 January 2024
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Netanyahu defiant after UN court ruling as deaths in Gaza offensive continue

Netanyahu defiant after UN court ruling as deaths in Gaza offensive continue
  • Israel is under increasing scrutiny now that the top UN court has asked for a compliance report in a month
  • The health ministry in Gaza said at least 165 people were killed over the previous 24 hours

RAFAH: The health ministry in Gaza said on Sunday at least 165 people were killed over the previous 24 hours while Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pushed back after the International Court of Justice ruling to limit deaths.

In response to the court ruling to limit destruction in the military’s Gaza offensive, Netanyahu declared that “we decide and act according to what is required for our security.”

So far at least 26,422 people have been killed since the war broke out on October 7, according to the health ministry in Gaza. A ministry statement said at least another 65,087 have been wounded since the fighting began.

Israel’s military is under increasing scrutiny now that the top United Nations court has asked Israel for a compliance report in a month. The court’s binding ruling on Friday stopped short of ordering a ceasefire, but its orders were in part a rebuke of Israel’s conduct in its nearly 4-month war against Gaza’s Hamas rulers.
The UN agency for Palestinian refugees, the main organization aiding Gaza’s population amid the humanitarian disaster, said nine countries suspended their funding following Israel’s allegations that a number of Gaza staff members participated in the Oct. 7 Hamas attack that sparked the war. Those include the United States, Britain, Italy and Finland.
Agency chief Philippe Lazzarini said it would be “immensely irresponsible” to sanction it and the community it serves at such a desperate time for Gazans, especially after it quickly fired the “small group” of staffers. The 13,000-strong agency, which relies almost entirely on countries’ contributions, said it now runs shelters for over 1 million people and its lifeline “can collapse anytime now.”
The Israel-Hamas war has killed more than 26,000 Palestinians, according to local health officials, destroyed vast swaths of Gaza and displaced nearly 85 percent of the territory’s 2.3 million people. The Hamas attack in southern Israel killed about 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and about 250 hostages were taken.
At least 174 Palestinians were killed over the past day, the Health Ministry in Gaza said. It does not distinguish between combatants and civilians in its tolls, but has said about two-thirds are women and children.
Israel holds Hamas responsible for civilian casualties, saying the militants embed themselves in the local population. Israel says its air and ground offensive in Gaza has killed more than 9,000 militants.
Israel’s military said it had conducted several “targeted raids on terror targets” in the southern city of Khan Younis in addition to the airstrike in nearby Rafah targeting a Hamas commander.
Bilal Al-Siksik said his wife, a son and a daughter were killed in the Rafah strike, which came as they slept. He said the UN court ruling meant little since it did not stop the war.
“No one can speak in front of them (Israel). America with all its greatness and strength can do nothing,” he said, standing beside the rubble and twisted metal of his home.
More than 1 million people have crammed into Rafah and the surrounding areas after Israel ordered civilians to seek refuge there. Designated evacuation areas have repeatedly come under airstrikes, with Israel saying it would go after militants as needed.
In Muwasi, a narrow coastal strip once designated as a safe zone but struck in recent days, displaced Palestinians tiptoed on sandaled feet through garbage-lined puddles in damp and chilly weather. Walls of sheets and tarps billowed in the wind. A mother wept after rain leaked in and soaked the blankets.
“This is our life. We have nothing and we left (our homes) with nothing,” said Bassam Bolbol, whose family ended up in Muwasi after leaving Khan Younis and finding no shelter in Rafah.
Frustration with the uncertainty grows. As thousands of Gazans fled Khan Younis toward Muwasi, Israel shared video showing a crowd appearing to call for bringing down Hamas.
The case brought by South Africa to the UN court alleged Israel is committing genocide against Gaza’s people, which Israel vehemently denies. A final ruling is expected to take years.
The court ordered Israel to urgently get aid to Gaza, where the UN has said aid entering the territory remains well below the daily average of 500 trucks before the war. The UN also says access to central and northern Gaza has been decreasing because of “excessive delays” at checkpoints and heightened military activity.
The World Health Organization and the medical charity MSF issued urgent warnings about the largest health facility in Khan Younis, Nasser Hospital, saying remaining staff could barely function with supplies running out and intense fighting nearby.
WHO footage showed people in the crowded facility being treated on blood-smeared floors as frantic loved ones shouted and jostled. Cats scavenged on a mound of medical waste.
“These are the only painkillers left we have. If you want to count them, they are only for maybe five or four patients,” Dr. Muhammad Harara said.
Gaza’s Health Ministry spokesperson Ashraf Al-Qidra said in a statement that Nasser Hospital lacked anesthesia and other medicines for intensive care units and had “dangerous” shortages of blood.
The United States, Israel’s closest ally, has increasingly called for restraint and for more humanitarian aid to be allowed into Gaza while supporting the offensive.
More mediation lies ahead in search of a deal to secure the release of hostages who remain captive in Gaza. Over 100 were released in a swap for Palestinian prisoners during a week-long ceasefire in November. An unspecified number of the remaining 136 are believed to be dead.
The US CIA director will meet in Europe with the head of the intelligence agencies of Israel and Egypt and with the prime minister of Qatar, according to three people familiar with the matter who insisted on anonymity to discuss the sensitive talks.
Netanyahu in his address said he would not take back “a single word” of his earlier criticism of Qatar, again accusing it of hosting Hamas leaders and funding Hamas.
“If they position themselves as a mediator, so please, let them prove it and bring back the hostages, and in the meantime deliver the medicines to them,” he said.
While the prime minister’s comments appeared to be aimed at his right-leaning base of supporters, other Israelis again gathered in Tel Aviv and outside Netanyahu’s residence in Jerusalem to call for new elections, frustrated with the government’s failure to bring all hostages home. Israel also was marking International Holocaust Remembrance Day, alongside other countries around the world.
Hamas has said it will only release the hostages in exchange for an end to the war and the release of large numbers of Palestinian prisoners held by Israel.

 


Iran says used own drones to locate Raisi’s helicopter

Iran says used own drones to locate Raisi’s helicopter
Updated 9 sec ago
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Iran says used own drones to locate Raisi’s helicopter

Iran says used own drones to locate Raisi’s helicopter
TEHRAN: The Iranian military said Wednesday that it had used domestically produced drones to locate the helicopter of president Ebrahim Raisi after it crashed in the northwestern mountains.
Raisi’s helicopter came down on a fog-shrouded mountainside on Sunday as it returned to the city of Tabriz from a ceremony on the border with Azerbaijan.
A huge search and rescue operation was launched, involving help from the European Union, Russia and Turkiye before the crash site was located early on Monday.
The Iranian military said that a drone dispatched by Turkiye had failed to locate the crash site “despite having night-vison equipment“
“This drone failed to accurately announce the location of the helicopter crash and finally returned to Turkiye,” the military said in a statement carried by the official IRNA news agency
“Finally, in the early hours of Monday morning, the exact spot of the helicopter crash was discovered by the ground rescue forces and Iranian drones of the armed forces.”
Armed forces chief Mohammad Bagheri has ordered an investigation into the cause of the crash, which also killed seven members of Raisi’s entourage, including Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian.

Huge crowds in Iran capital for Raisi’s funeral

Huge crowds in Iran capital for Raisi’s funeral
Updated 10 min 40 sec ago
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Huge crowds in Iran capital for Raisi’s funeral

Huge crowds in Iran capital for Raisi’s funeral
  • Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei leads prayers for those who died in the helicopter crash

TEHRAN: Tens of thousands of Iranians flocked to the streets of Tehran Wednesday to join the funeral processions of president Ebrahim Raisi and his entourage, who died in a helicopter crash on Sunday.

In the center of the city, people holding portraits of Raisi gathered in and around the University of Tehran, where Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is due to lead prayers for Raisi and his companions, including foreign minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian.

Raisi’s helicopter crashed Sunday on a fog-shrouded mountainside in northern Iran on the way to the city of Tabriz after the group attended the inauguration of a dam project on the border with Azerbaijan.

A huge search and rescue operation was launched, involving help from Turkiye, Russia and the European Union. State television announced Raisi’s death early on Monday.

Raisi, who was widely expected to succeed Khamenei as supreme leader, was 63.

In the capital, huge banners have gone up hailing the late president as “the martyr of service,” while others bade “farewell to the servant of the disadvantaged.”

Tehran residents received phone messages urging them to “attend the funeral of the martyr of service.”

The processions, which will be attended by foreign dignitaries, are planned to set off from the university and head to the vast Enghelab Square in the city center, according to state media.

Funeral rites for the late president and his entourage began on Tuesday with tens of thousands of black-clad mourners in attendance in the city of Tabriz and the Shiite clerical center of Qom.

From Tehran, the bodies will be moved to South Khorasan province before being transferred to Raisi’s home city of Mashhad in the northeast, where he will be buried on Thursday evening after funeral rites at the Imam Reza shrine.

Khamenei, who wields ultimate authority in Iran, has declared five days of national mourning and assigned vice president Mohammad Mokhber, 68, as caretaker president until the June 28 election for Raisi’s successor.

Iran’s top nuclear negotiator Ali Bagheri, who was Amir-Abdollahian’s deputy, has been named acting foreign minister.

The country’s armed forces chief of staff Mohammad Bagheri has ordered an investigation into the cause of the helicopter crash.

Raisi was elected president in 2021, succeeding the moderate Hassan Rouhani at a time when the economy was battered by US sanctions imposed over Iran’s nuclear activities.

The ultra-conservative’s time in office saw mass protests, a deepening economic crisis and unprecedented armed exchanges with arch-enemy Israel.

After his death, global allies Russia and China and regional powers voiced their condolences, as did NATO, while the UN Security Council observed a minute of silence.

Messages of condolence also flooded in from Iran’s allies around the region, including Syria, Palestinian militant group Hamas and Lebanese militant group Hezbollah, both of which are backed by Tehran.


UN food agency warns that the new US sea route for Gaza aid may fail unless conditions improve

UN food agency warns that the new US sea route for Gaza aid may fail unless conditions improve
Updated 22 May 2024
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UN food agency warns that the new US sea route for Gaza aid may fail unless conditions improve

UN food agency warns that the new US sea route for Gaza aid may fail unless conditions improve
  • The UN food agency is now reevaluating logistics and security measures and looking for alternate routes within Gaza

WASHINGTON: The UN World Food Program said Tuesday the new US $320 million pier project for delivering aid to Gaza may fail unless Israel starts ensuring the conditions the humanitarian groups need to operate safely. The operation was halted for at least two days after crowds looted aid trucks coming from the port and one Palestinian man was killed.
Deliveries were stopped Sunday and Monday after the majority of the trucks in an aid convoy Saturday were stripped of all their goods on the way to a warehouse in central Gaza, the WFP said. The first aid transported by sea had entered the besieged enclave on Friday.
The Pentagon said movement of aid from the secured area at the port resumed Tuesday, but the UN said it was not aware of any deliveries on Tuesday.
The UN food agency is now reevaluating logistics and security measures and looking for alternate routes within Gaza, said spokesperson Abeer Etefa. The WFP is working with the US Agency for International Development to coordinate the deliveries.
Only five of the 16 aid trucks that left the secured area on Saturday arrived at the intended warehouse with their cargo intact, another WFP spokesperson, Steve Taravela, told The Associated Press. He said the other 11 trucks were waylaid by what became a crowd of people and arrived without their cargo.
“Without sufficient supplies entering Gaza, these issues will continue to surface. Community acceptance and trust that this is not a one-off event are essential for this operation’s success,” Taravela said in an email. “We have raised this issue with the relevant parties and reiterated our request for alternative roads to facilitate aid delivery. Unless we receive the necessary clearance and coordination to use additional routes, this operation may not be successful.”
The WFP also said Tuesday it has suspended food distribution in the southern Gaza city of Rafah due to a lack of supplies and insecurity.
President Joe Biden ordered the US military’s construction of the floating pier for deliveries of food and other vital supplies. Israeli restrictions on shipments through land borders and overall fighting have put all 2.3 million residents of Gaza in a severe food crisis since the Israel-Hamas war began in October, and US and UN officials say famine has taken hold in the north of Gaza.
Authorities have offered limited details of what transpired with Saturday’s aid convoy. However, Associated Press video shows Israeli armored vehicles on a beach road, then aid trucks moving down the road. Civilians watching from the roadside gradually start to clamber on top of the aid trucks, throwing aid down to people below. Numbers of people then appear to overrun the aid trucks and their goods.
At one point, people are shown carting a motionless man with a chest wound through the crowd. A local morgue later confirmed to the AP the man had been killed by a rifle shot. At another point, shots crackled, and some of the men in the crowd are shown apparently ducking behind aid boxes for cover.
It was not clear who fired the shots. The Israeli military is responsible for security for the aid when it reaches the shore. Once it leaves the secure area at the port, aid groups follow their own security protocols.
Asked about the shooting, the Israeli army told the AP, using the acronym for the Israel Defense Forces: “The IDF is currently focused on eliminating the threat from the terrorist organization Hamas.”
UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric told reporters Tuesday that the aid convoys do not travel with armed security. He said the best security comes from engagement with various community groups and humanitarian partners so people understand that there will be a constant flow of aid. “That is not possible in an active combat zone,” Dujarric said.
The Pentagon press secretary, Maj. Gen. Pat Ryder, said that as of Tuesday 569 metric tons of aid has been delivered to the secured area at the Gaza port. Some of it remains there, however, because distribution agencies are working to find alternative routes to warehouses in Gaza.
Asked if any aid from the pier had yet reached Gaza residents in need, Ryder said, “I do not believe so.” He said aid had resumed moving Tuesday from the secured area into Gaza, after what had been a two-day halt following Saturday’s disruption. He gave no immediate details.
Etefa, the WFP spokesperson in Cairo, said she knew of no deliveries from the shore on Tuesday, however.
Biden announced the US mission to open a new sea route for humanitarian goods during his State of the Union address in March, as pressure built on the administration over civilian deaths in Gaza.
The war began in October after a Hamas-led attack killed about 1,200 people in Israel. Israeli airstrikes and fighting have killed more than 35,000 Palestinians since then, Gaza health officials say.
Many international humanitarian organizations were critical of the US project, saying that while any aid was welcome, surging food through the land crossings was the only way to curb the growing starvation. Jeremy Konyndyk, a former USAID official now leading the Refugees International humanitarian organization, called the pier operation “humanitarian theater” and said it was being done for political effect.
The UN says some 1.1 million people in Gaza — nearly half the population — face catastrophic levels of hunger and that the territory is on the brink of famine. The crisis in humanitarian supplies has spiraled in the two weeks since Israel began an incursion into Rafah on May 6, vowing to root out Hamas fighters. Troops seized the Rafah crossing into Egypt, which has been closed since.
Since May 10, only about three dozen trucks have made it into Gaza via the nearby Kerem Shalom crossing from Israel because fighting makes it difficult for aid workers to reach it, the UN says.
Taravela said little aid or fuel — needed to run aid delivery trucks — is currently reaching any part of Gaza, and stocks of both are almost exhausted.
“The bottom line is that humanitarian operations in Gaza are near collapse,” he wrote.


The US-made helicopter in Iran president’s crash

The US-made helicopter in Iran president’s crash
Updated 22 May 2024
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The US-made helicopter in Iran president’s crash

The US-made helicopter in Iran president’s crash
  • It still has around 40 F-14 Tomcat fighter jets, which became famous in the Tom Cruise film “Top Gun” in the 1980s and have been used by the US Air Force itself for two decades

PARIS: The helicopter in the crash that killed Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi was a US-made Bell 212, a model introduced in 1968 during the Vietnam War and last produced in 1998.
Here is what we know about the Bell 212:

Brought into service in 1971, the civilian helicopter had a military version known as Twin Huey, which was used by US troops during the Vietnam conflict.
One of its variants, the Huey UH-1 Iroquois, gained notoriety in an iconic scene in the film “Apocalypse Now” during which US troops play Richard Wagner’s The Ride of the Valkyries on loudspeakers during a raid on a Vietnamese village.
The Bell 212 can carry 13 passengers plus two pilots and fly at more than 250 kilometers (156 miles) per hour, with a range of more than 400 kilometers.
It features a two-blade propeller and is equipped with two Pratt and Whitney engines of 900 horsepower each.
The helicopter was first manufactured in Fort Worth, Texas, before production moved to Mirabel, outside Montreal, from 1988 until 1998, the last year it wast built. It was also made under license in Italy by Agusta.
As of last year, 704 Bell 212 or Bell 412 — its four-blade version — were still in service among armed forces, including in Angola, Argentina, Morocco, Turkiye and Zambia, according to the most recent annual report of industry publication FlightGlobal.

As of 2023, Iran operated 10 Bell 212 helicopters — two used by the air force and the remainder by the navy, according to FlightGlobal.
Tehran was an important client for the American civilian and military aircraft industry under the shah of Iran, a close US ally, until his ouster by the Islamic revolution in 1979.
Iran has sought to keep its aging fleet in the air despite US sanctions that have it made very difficult for Tehran to obtain spare parts.
It still has around 40 F-14 Tomcat fighter jets, which became famous in the Tom Cruise film “Top Gun” in the 1980s and have been used by the US Air Force itself for two decades.
Iran also has a number of F5 fighters, purchased from the United States four decades ago and which first came into service 60 years ago.

The Bell company, which was founded in 1935 and became a subsidiary of industrial group Textron in 1960, still produces helicopters.
The firm prides itself on having been the first to certify a helicopter intended for civilian use, in 1946.
A year later it was an experimental Bell X-1 aircraft that Chuck Yeager piloted as he became the first man to surpass the speed of sound in 1947.
 

 

 


Israel has addressed many of Biden’s concerns over widescale Rafah operation, US official says

Israel has addressed many of Biden’s concerns over widescale Rafah operation, US official says
Updated 22 May 2024
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Israel has addressed many of Biden’s concerns over widescale Rafah operation, US official says

Israel has addressed many of Biden’s concerns over widescale Rafah operation, US official says
  • Israel has killed more than 35,000 Palestinians, according to Gaza’s Health Ministry

CAIRO: Israel has addressed many of President Joe Biden’s concerns over its long-simmering plan to carry out a widescale military operation in the southern Gaza city of Rafah aimed at rooting out Hamas, a senior Biden administration official said Tuesday.
The official, who was not authorized to comment publicly and requested anonymity, said that in talks over the weekend with White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan, Israeli officials incorporated many changes into their planning that seem to meet concerns about deepening an operation in an area that has been flooded with Palestinian refugees during the seven-month war.
Biden had previously said he opposed a widescale operation in Rafah that did not prioritize the safety of innocent Palestinian civilians.
The official said the administration stopped short of greenlighting the Israeli plan but said Israeli officials’ altered planning suggested they were taking the American administration’s concerns seriously.
About 900,000 Palestinians have fled Rafah in recent weeks after the population swelled to about 1.5 million.

The United Nations suspended food distribution in the southern Gaza city of Rafah on Tuesday due to a lack of supplies and an untenable security situation caused by Israel’s expanding military operation. It warned that humanitarian operations across the territory were nearing collapse.
Along with closed and chaotic land crossings, problems also plagued the US military’s floating pier meant to provide an alternative route for aid into Gaza by sea. Over the weekend, hungry Palestinians took aid from a UN vehicle convoy coming from the pier, and the UN said since then it had been unable to receive trucks there.
Pentagon press secretary Maj. Gen. Pat Ryder told reporters in Washington that for the past few days, forward movement of aid from the pier was paused but it resumed Tuesday. There was no confirmation from the UN
The UN has not specified how many people stayed in Rafah since the Israeli military began its intensified ground and air campaign there two weeks ago, but apparently several hundred thousand Palestinians remain. The UN’s World Food Program said it was also running out of food for central Gaza, where hundreds of thousands of people sought shelter in a chaotic exodus after fleeing Rafah, setting up new tent camps or crowding into areas already devastated by previous Israeli offensives.
“Humanitarian operations in Gaza are near collapse,” said Abeer Etefa, a WFP spokesperson. If food and other supplies don’t resume entering Gaza “in massive quantities, famine-like conditions will spread,” she said.
The warning came as Israel seeks to contain the international fallout from a request at the world’s top war crimes court for arrest warrants targeting both Israeli and Hamas leaders. The move garnered support from three European countries, including Israel’s key ally France.
The chief prosecutor at the International Criminal Court cited Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant for alleged “use of starvation as a method of warfare,” a charge they and other Israeli officials angrily deny. The prosecutor accused three Hamas leaders of war crimes over killings of civilians in the group’s Oct. 7 attack.
The UN says some 1.1 million people in Gaza — nearly half the population — face catastrophic levels of hunger and that the territory is on the brink of famine. The humanitarian crisis deepened after Israeli forces pushed into Rafah on May 6, vowing to root out Hamas fighters. Tanks and troops seized the Rafah crossing into Egypt, closing it ever since. After May 10, only about three dozen trucks made it into Gaza via the nearby Kerem Shalom crossing from Israel because fighting makes it dangerous for aid workers to reach it, the UN says.
Israel insists it puts no restriction on the number of trucks entering Gaza. COGAT, the Israeli military office in charge of coordinating aid, said 450 trucks entered Tuesday from its side to Kerem Shalom and a small crossing in northern Gaza. It said more than 650 trucks are waiting on the Gaza side of Kerem Shalom to be retrieved, blaming “lack of logistical capabilities and manpower gaps” among aid groups.
For months, the UN has warned that an Israeli assault on Rafah could wreck the effort to get food, medicine and other supplies to Palestinians across Gaza. Throughout the war, Rafah has been filled with scenes of hungry children holding out pots and plastic containers at makeshift soup kitchens, with many families reduced to eating only one meal a day. The city’s population had swelled at one point to some 1.3 million people, most of whom fled fighting elsewhere.
Around 810,000 people have streamed out of Rafah, although Israel says its operations in Rafah are not the full-scale invasion of the city it had planned. The US says Israel never presented “credible” plan for evacuating the population or keeping it safe.
The main agency for Palestinian refugees, UNRWA, announced the suspension of distribution in Rafah in a post on X, without elaborating beyond citing the lack of supplies. UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said the UNRWA distribution center and the WFP’s warehouses in Rafah were “inaccessible due to ongoing military operations.”
Asked about the ramifications of suspending aid, Dujarric said simply: “People don’t eat.”
Etefa said the WFP had also stopped distribution in Rafah after exhausting its stocks. It is still passing out hot meals and “limited distributions” of reduced food packages in central Gaza, but “food parcel stocks will run out within days,” she said.
The US depicted the floating aid pier as a potential route for accelerated deliveries. The first 10 trucks rolled off a ship onto the pier on Friday and were taken to a WFP warehouse. But a second shipment of 11 trucks on Saturday was met by Palestinian crowds who took supplies, and only five trucks made it to the warehouse, Etefa said.
No further deliveries came from the pier on Sunday or Monday, she said.
“The responsibility of ensuring aid reaches those in need does not end at the crossings and other points of entry into Gaza — it extends throughout Gaza itself,” she said.
At the same time, battles have escalated in northern Gaza as Israeli troops conduct operations against Hamas fighters, who the military says regrouped in areas already targeted in offensives months ago.
One of the main hospitals still operating in the north, Kamal Adwan, was forced to evacuate after it was “targeted” by Israeli troops, the Gaza Health Ministry said. Around 150 staff and dozens of patients fled the facility, including intensive care patients and infants in incubators “under fire from shelling,” it said. The Israeli military did not immediately reply to requests for comment.
The nearby Awda hospital has been surrounded by troops the past three days, and an artillery shell hit its fifth floor, the hospital administration said Tuesday. A day earlier, the international medical aid group Doctors Without Borders said Awda had run out of drinking water.
The war between began on Oct. 7, when Hamas-led militants crossed into Israel and killed some 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and took 250 hostage. ICC prosecutor Karim Khan accused Hamas leaders Yahya Sinwar, Mohammed Deif and Ismail Haniyeh of crimes against humanity, including extermination, murder and sexual violence.
Israel responded to the Oct. 7 with an offensive that has laid waste to Gaza and killed more than 35,000 Palestinians, according to Gaza’s Health Ministry, which does not distinguish between noncombatants and fighters in its count.
Monday’s call by Khan for arrest warrants deepens Israel’s global isolation at a time when it is facing growing criticism from even its closest allies over the war. France, Belgium, and Slovenia each said they backed Khan’ decision.
Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz headed to France on Tuesday in response, urging it to “declare loud and clear” that the request for warrants against Netanyahu and Gallant “is unacceptable to you and to the French government.”
His meetings there could set the tone for how countries navigate the warrants — if they are eventually issued — and whether they could pose a threat to Israeli leaders. A panel of three ICC judges will decide whether to issue the arrest warrants and allow a case to proceed. The judges typically take two months to make such decisions.
Israel still has the support of its top ally, the United States, as well as other Western countries that spoke out against the decision. But if the warrants are issued, they could complicate international travel for Netanyahu and his defense minister, even if they do not face any immediate risk of prosecution because Israel itself is not a member of the court.