- Recent Developments:
- There was no immediate Israeli military confirmation of the report; The Palestinian News Agency reported that the hospital was hit by artillery fire
- At least 14 Palestinians were killed in two Israeli airstrikes on homes in the southern city of Rafah near the Egyptian border.
Gaza/Jerusalem, Nov. 20 (Reuters) – Israeli tanks have been positioned around a hospital complex in northern Gaza, killing 12 Palestinians and wounding dozens, the enclave’s health ministry said on Monday.
There was no immediate confirmation from the Israeli military on the reports from the Indonesian hospital, but Palestinian news agency WAFA said the facility had been hit by artillery fire.
The Indonesian hospital, which was set up in 2016 with funding from Indonesian organizations, has ceased operations, as have many health facilities in Gaza. But Health Ministry spokesman Ashraf al-Qitra said about 700 people, including medical teams and the wounded, were inside the facility.
At the other end of the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip, health officials said at least 14 Palestinians were killed in two Israeli airstrikes on homes in the town of Rafah near the border with Egypt.
The Israeli military issued a statement with airstrikes and video of troops going door-to-door, saying they killed three Hamas company commanders and a group of Palestinian militants, without giving specific locations.
Despite continued fighting between Hamas militants and Israeli forces, US and Israeli officials said a deal to free some hostages in the Palestinian territories was nearing.
A statement from Gaza’s General Authority for Crossings and Borders said that 40 trucks carrying equipment for an Emirati field hospital were getting some aid through the Rafah trade crossing with Egypt.
About 240 hostages were taken on October 7 during a deadly cross-border attack into Israel by Hamas militants, prompting Israel to occupy the tiny Palestinian territory to destroy the Islamist movement after several endless wars since 2007.
About 1,200 Israelis, mostly civilians, were killed in the Hamas attack, according to Israeli calculations, the worst day in the country’s 75-year history.
Since then, Israeli bombing and airstrikes have killed at least 13,000 Palestinians, including at least 5,500 children, according to Gaza’s Hamas-run government.
Israeli tanks and troops entered Gaza late last month, the Israeli military says, capturing large swathes of territory north and northwest and east of Gaza City.
But Hamas and local witnesses say the militants are waging a guerrilla-style war in the crowded, urbanized north, including parts of Gaza City and the sprawling Jabaliya and coastal refugee camps.
The armed wing of the militant group Islamic Jihad, a Hamas ally, said its fighters attacked seven Israeli military vehicles during clashes in the northern areas of Beit Hanoun, Beit Lahia and Al-Saftawi and the western areas of Jabaliya.
In Beijing, Arab and Muslim ministers joined international calls for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza, allowing their delegations to visit major world capitals to end the fighting and provide humanitarian aid to affected civilians.
Israel said Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthis seized a British-owned and Japanese-operated cargo ship in the southern Red Sea, describing the incident as an “Iranian act of terrorism” with ramifications for international maritime security.
Houthi forces have been firing long-range missiles and drones at Israel in support of Hamas.
Confidence in the contract
Even as fighting continues on the ground in Gaza, Michael Herzog, Israel’s ambassador to the United States, told ABC’s “This Week” that Israel hopes Hamas will be able to release a significant number of hostages “in the coming days.”
On Sunday, Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani told a news conference in Doha that the main obstacles to the deal were now “very minor”, with mainly “practical and logistical” issues remaining.
A White House official said “very complex, very sensitive” negotiations were moving forward.
They coincide with Israel preparing to expand its offensive against Hamas into southern Gaza, signaled by an increase in airstrikes on targets Israel sees as dens of armed militants.
However, Israel’s main ally, the United States, warned on Sunday against launching military operations in the south until military planners take into account the safety of Palestinian civilians.
Gaza’s traumatized population has been on the move since the start of the war, staying in hospitals or fleeing from north to south, sometimes in desperate efforts to stay out of the line of fire again.
The civilian death toll in Gaza is “shocking and unacceptable,” UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said, renewing his appeal on Sunday for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire.
Witnesses said heavy fighting broke out between Hamas gunmen and Israeli forces as they tried to advance into Jabalia, home to 100,000 people.
Palestinian doctors say Israel’s repeated bombardment of Jabalia, an urban sprawl of Gaza City that grew out of a Palestinian refugee camp from the 1948 Israeli-Arab War, has killed scores of civilians.
Via social media in Arabic, Israel’s military on Sunday urged residents of several Jabaliya neighborhoods to leave the south to “protect your safety,” saying it would suspend military operations from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
After the “truce” expired, 11 Palestinians were killed in an Israeli airstrike on a house in Jabaliya, the enclave’s health ministry said.
Palestinians say Israel’s continued bombardment of southern Gaza makes Israel’s security promises absurd.
According to the latest military count, a total of 64 Israeli soldiers have died in the conflict.
Reporting by Clauda Tanios, James Mackenzie; Written by Raju Gopalakrishnan; Editing by Mark Heinrich
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