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Wed. Apr 17th, 2024

Israeli forces launched a relentless bombardment on the besieged Gaza Strip, engaging in clashes with Hamas militants around several hospitals despite a recent UN Security Council resolution calling for an immediate ceasefire. Efforts towards a truce and the release of hostages, mediated by the US and Egypt in Qatar, have yielded no tangible results as both Israel and Hamas continue to blame each other for the escalation of hostilities.

Tensions between Israel and the United States, its primary ally, have heightened due to the rising civilian casualties and severe shortages of essential supplies in Gaza. Israeli intentions to extend their ground offensive into the densely populated city of Rafah, which currently shelters a large number of displaced civilians, have exacerbated the situation.

Overnight airstrikes targeted Gaza City and Rafah, with the latter witnessing a massive fireball illuminating the sky in an area housing up to 1.5 million displaced individuals. According to the Gaza health ministry under Hamas control, the overnight bombardment and ensuing combat resulted in the death of 66 people.

Israeli forces have engaged in confrontations with militants in and around three Gaza hospitals, raising concerns for the safety of patients, medical personnel, and displaced individuals seeking refuge within these facilities. The Israeli army, however, maintains that its operations aim to eliminate terrorists and locate their infrastructure and weapons while minimizing harm to civilians and medical facilities.

The situation is particularly dire around Gaza City’s Al-Shifa Hospital, the largest medical facility in the territory, and two hospitals in Khan Yunis, Al-Amal, and Nasser. While the Israeli military asserts that its operations are precise and targeted, humanitarian organizations express concerns over the safety of thousands trapped inside these hospitals, with the Palestinian Red Crescent warning of imminent danger to their lives.

Amid the ongoing conflict, the United Nations has issued warnings of a looming “man-made famine” in Gaza, where approximately 2.4 million people are grappling with the consequences of prolonged warfare and a blockade limiting access to essential resources. International efforts to deliver aid have been hampered by the hostilities, with donor governments resorting to airdrops as a means of providing assistance amidst the dire humanitarian situation.

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