Khan Yunis (Gaza Strip) – Internet and phone service partially returned to the Gaza Strip on Saturday, ending a service outage. Communications interruption This forced the United Nations to stop delivering vital humanitarian aid because it was unable to coordinate its convoys.
Meanwhile, an Israeli airstrike bombed a residential building on the outskirts of the town of Khan Yunis, killing at least 26 Palestinians, according to a doctor at the hospital where the bodies were taken.
Early in the war, the Israeli army asked civilians to flee northern Gaza, the target of its ground offensive, but it also continued its bombing in the southern evacuation zone where Khan Yunis is located.
Israel has indicated Plans to expand its attack south While operations continue in the north, including Gaza City, where forces remain Inspection of the largest hospital in the regionAl-Shifa, searching for traces of the Hamas command center, which Israel claims is located under the building – a claim Hamas and hospital workers deny this.
The Israeli military is urging the hospital to evacuate several thousand people still there, and said on Saturday that the hospital director had asked him to help those who wish to leave via a safe route.
But Medhat Abbas, spokesman for the Ministry of Health in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip, said the army had ordered the facility evacuated, giving the hospital an hour to evacuate people.
The military said it had not ordered any evacuation, and added that medical personnel were allowed to remain at the hospital to support patients who could not be transferred.
In Khan Yunis, the attack early Saturday struck Hamad Town, a middle-class housing project built in recent years with funding from Qatar. Dr. Nihad Toaima at Nasser Hospital said that in addition to the 26 dead, 20 others were injured.
Israel rarely comments on individual attacks, saying only that they target targets agitation And try to avoid harming civilians. In many Israeli raids, women and children were among the dead.
The war, now in its seventh week, has broken out before October 7 Hamas attack in southern IsraelIn which the gunmen killed about 1,200 people, most of them civilians They kidnapped about 240 men, women and children.
More than 11,400 Palestinians were killed in the war, two-thirds of whom were women and minorities, according to Palestinian health authorities. Another 2,700 were reported missing. It is believed to be buried under the rubble. count No difference Between civilians and combatants, and Israel says it has killed thousands of militants.
The United Nations has warned that Gaza’s 2.3 million people are suffering from severe food and water shortages, but it was not immediately clear when the Palestinian refugee agency, known as UNRWA, would be able to wrap up the delivery of humanitarian aid. Aid that was suspended on Friday.
The Palestinian Telecommunications Company said that it was able to restart its generators after UNRWA donated fuel. The end of the communications blackout means the return of news and messages sent by journalists and activists in the besieged sector on social media platforms, as the service began to return late on Friday evening.
Aid is drying up
Gaza’s main power plant closed its doors early in the war and Israel cut off electricity supplies. This makes the fuel necessary to power the generators needed to power not only the communications network, but also water treatment plants, sanitation facilities, hospitals and other critical infrastructure.
Israel has prevented the entry of fuel since the beginning of the war, saying that Hamas would divert it to be used for military purposes. It has also blocked food aid, water and other supplies except for a small amount of aid from Egypt, which aid workers say is far less than needed.
Going forward, Israel said it will allow in 10,000 liters (2,641 gallons) of fuel per day to maintain communications service, according to the US State Department. In addition, Israel agreed on Friday after a US request to allow a “very small” amount of fuel into Gaza each day for humanitarian purposes, Israeli National Security Advisor Tzachi Hanegbi said. The Coordination Body of Government Activities in the Territories, the Israeli military body responsible for Palestinian affairs, said it would reach the United Nations at 60,000 liters (15,850 gallons) per day.
The United Nations said this represents only 37% of the fuel UNRWA needs to support its humanitarian operations, including food distribution and operating generators in hospitals and water and sanitation facilities.
Gaza receives only 10% of the food supplies required each day Shipments from EgyptAccording to the United Nations, the closure of the water system has left most residents abandoned Drinking contaminated watercausing an outbreak of disease.
Drought and malnutrition are on the rise, with almost the entire population in need of food, according to the United Nations World Food Programme.
March for hostages
Israeli officials had previously pledged not to allow fuel to enter until Gaza activists released the hostages. The government is under great public pressure to show that it is doing everything in its power to return people who were kidnapped in the Hamas attack.
Thousands of demonstrators — including the families of more than 50 hostages — set off on Friday in the fourth leg of a five-day march from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, chanting, “Bring them home!” They were marching to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office to call on his warlike government to do more to save their loved ones. They urged the Cabinet to consider a ceasefire or exchange of prisoners in exchange for hostages.
Hamas offered to exchange all the hostages for about 6,000 Palestinians in Israeli prisons, which the Council of Ministers rejected.
Conditions in recovery
with The occupation forces deployed around the Shifa Hospital complexDoctors spoke of the horrific conditions inside. Power was cut off for nearly a week, shutting down baby incubators and ventilators for intensive care unit patients. Nearly 7,000 people are trapped there with little food, including patients, staff and civilian families.
Hospital director Muhammad Abu Salamiya told Al Jazeera satellite channel that Israeli forces must bring them fuel to operate the equipment or allow them to evacuate.
“The hospital has become a giant prison,” he said. “We are surrounded by death.”
The Israeli military said it had delivered 4,000 liters (1,056 gallons) of water and 1,500 ready-made meals to Al-Shifa Hospital, but staff said this amount was very small compared to the numbers of people there.
Israeli army spokesman Colonel Richard Hecht admitted that the forces’ search for traces of Hamas was proceeding slowly. “It will take time,” he said.
Israel faces Pressure to submit its claim Hamas established its main command center inside and under the hospital. So far, Israel has shown photos and videos of weapons caches it says it found inside, as well as what it said was the entrance to a tunnel. The Associated Press was unable to independently verify the Israeli allegations.
These allegations are part of a broader Israeli accusation of Hamas of using Palestinians as human shields throughout the Gaza Strip, considering that this is the reason behind the large numbers of civilian casualties during the weeks of bombing.
The strikes continue
So far, the Israeli ground offensive has focused on northern Gaza in light of its pledge to remove Hamas from power and crush its military capabilities. If the attack moves to the south, it is not clear where the Palestinians could go. Egypt has Refusing to allow mass transportation On its soil.
Most of the Strip’s population is now taking refuge in the south, including hundreds of thousands of people who responded to Israel’s calls to evacuate Gaza City and the north to get away from its ground offensive.
In addition to the attacks on Friday and Saturday in the Khan Yunis area, another 41 people were killed on Friday in an airstrike that hit the Nuseirat refugee camp, reducing a building to rubble, according to nearby hospital staff.
Elsewhere, the Israeli army said on Saturday that its planes bombed what it described as a hideout for militants in the Balata refugee camp in the occupied West Bank. The Palestinian Red Crescent Ambulance Service said that five Palestinians were killed in the raid.
The army claimed that the targets planned to carry out imminent attacks on Israeli civilians and military targets.
Their deaths bring to 210 the number of Palestinians killed in violence in the West Bank since the outbreak of the Gaza war on October 7, making it the bloodiest period in the Strip since the second Palestinian intifada in the early 2000s.
Magdy reports from Cairo, arriving from Bangkok.
Complete AP coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/israel-hamas-war.