Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel is doing all it can to get civilians out of harm’s way as it battles Hamas in Gaza, including dropping leaflets warning them to flee, but its attempts to minimize casualties were “not successful”.
Gaza faced a collapse in internet and telephone services due to fuel shortages on Thursday. The development came as Israel’s military campaign signals a possible shift towards targeting the southern regions of Gaza, where a substantial portion of the populace has sought refuge.
For two consecutive days, Israeli troops have conducted thorough searches within Shifa Hospital in northern Gaza for evidence of Hamas activity. Though they claimed to have found a tunnel entrance and weaponry in a vehicle on the hospital grounds, no definitive proof of a central Hamas command center was provided. Both Hamas and the hospital’s staff refute these claims.
The Israeli military reported the recovery of the body of Yehudit Weiss, a 65-year-old hostage taken by Hamas in a structure near Shifa Hospital. They claim to have found assault rifles and rocket-propelled grenades alongside her remains, although the cause of her death has not been specified.
The communication outage has effectively isolated Gaza’s 2.3 million inhabitants from one another and the outside world, intensifying the already dire humanitarian crisis in the region. This is occurring against the backdrop of continued Israeli airstrikes in southern Gaza.
The United Nations World Food Program meanwhile issued a warning regarding the imminent risk of starvation in Gaza. The food supply chain has been severely disrupted by Israeli restrictions, and insufficient provisions are being received from Egypt.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke with Benny Gantz, a member of the Israeli war cabinet, on Thursday. Their discussions centered on enhancing and expediting the delivery of vital humanitarian aid to Gaza. They also discussed strategies to prevent the conflict from escalating and to facilitate the release of hostages.