Israel war 2023
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared that all members of Hamas were “dead men walking,” as an estimated 30,000 people marched in Jerusalem to demand that hostages taken by the terrorist group be brought to the government.
Netanyahu spoke at a press conference Saturday night in Tel Aviv, as demonstrators lined up to protest outside his office an hour away in the holy, ancient city.
Appearing to shame those calling for new elections, the prime minister said he was “appalled” by the political talk “while our soldiers are fighting in Gaza, falling in battle” and insisted there was “no hostage release deal”. The families of the hostages are in for a nightmare.
“There will be time for politics,” he said, according to the Times of Israel.
In other developments in Israel on Saturday:
‘Let’s walk to Gaza’
The five-day march to Jerusalem was cheered by a growing crowd of hostages’ loved ones, many of whom carried signs with photographs of their missing relatives.
“The journey is not over. Forty-three days is too long. We will continue in every possible way until every one of them returns home,” said organizer Yuval Haran, whose family members were abducted during Hamas’ sneak attack. told Haaretz.
“I got back from the US tonight and we had a meeting with Jack Sullivan. I don’t understand how the national security adviser in the US has time to meet with us – but the defense minister in Israel didn’t,” said the father of Itai Chen, a 19-year-old soldier believed to have been abducted by extremists. told Israel’s N12.
Demonstrators called on the War Cabinet to meet the families on Saturday night.
“Now you are responsible for sending them back, stop meeting us and begging – it’s pointless,” Gobi Ben Ami, the brother of hostage Ohad Ben Ami, told N12.
Some relatives proposed to take matters into their own hands.
“We’ve been walking non-stop for five days, my legs hurt, my shoulders hurt and everything, but nothing hurts like my heart hurts,” said the mother of hostage Edan Zakaria. According to the Times of Israel.
“We will walk to Gaza even if we have to walk to Gaza. We will go wherever we have to go and we will not leave our children behind,” he added.
At one point, Israeli opposition leader Yair Lapid joined the demonstration.
Lapid has criticized Netanyahu’s approach to the Israel-Hamas conflict and this week called for him to step down “immediately”.
Hospital in chaos
Chaos prevailed in Gaza City as hundreds of patients and shelter families fled Al-Shifa Hospital on foot in an attempted mass evacuation as authorities continued to investigate the condition of Al-Fakhoura school.
However, six doctors stayed behind to attend to 120 patients.
“Most of the medical staff have left Al Shifa Hospital . . . Many patients cannot leave the hospital because they are in ICU beds or wards,” the facility’s head of plastic surgery, Ahmed El Mogallalati X, wrote on Saturday.
“I along with 5 other doctors will stay at Alshifa Hospital with 120 patients (patients who cannot leave due to their health).
The doctor called on the World Health Organization and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to “take action to protect medical staff and patients at Al Shifa Hospital”.
According to people at the scene, hundreds of people fled on foot Saturday morning, but the Israeli army refused an evacuation order, CNN reported.
The exact cause of the flash floods is still unclear. The hospital became an active battleground on Wednesday when Israeli troops raided the facility as part of their operation against Hamas.
Lt Col Lerner told the BBC that the IDF had been “encouraging people to leave for weeks” and was coordinating departures on Saturday morning.
“It’s a big challenge for any professional army operating in such a hostile environment where terrorists come out and use tunnels to launch RPGs – and they can take advantage of humanitarian and civilian arenas from places like hospitals, schools, mosques,” he stressed.
In addition to the dispute over the refugee camp school and al-Shifa facility, the death toll from IDF attacks on Khan Younis in southern Gaza early Saturday rose from 32 to 64, Haaretz reported, citing medical sources in Gaza.
The outlet did not specify whether or not the sources were linked to Hamas-controlled organizations.
Initial reports said 26 people were killed when the strikes hit a residential block, and another six died six minutes later when a house was bombed in Deir al-Bala.
Area streets were lined with shrouded bodies throughout the day as grieving relatives paid their respects, photos obtained by NBC News show.
Post wire services