Israel-Hamas war live: Israeli troops ‘order evacuation of al-Shifa hospital’ | Israel-Hamas war

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Israeli troops order evacuation of hospital ‘in the next hour’ over loudspeakers – AFP

Israeli troops ordered the evacuation of Al-Shifa hospital “in the next hour” over loudspeakers on Saturday, an AFP journalist at the scene reported, as troops combed the facility for Hamas hideouts.

Al-Shifa hospital – Gaza’s biggest – has become the focus of the Israel-Hamas war, now entering its seventh week after the October 7 attacks on southern Israel.

Israel claims Hamas operates a base underneath Al-Shifa, a charge the militants deny. The United Nations estimated 2,300 patients, staff and displaced Palestinians were sheltering at Al-Shifa before Israeli troops moved in on Wednesday.

The Hamas health ministry in Gaza has announced dozens of deaths there as a result of power cuts caused by fuel shortages amid intense combat. Israel has made repeated calls for the hospital to be evacuated to the south, however medical professionals say the patients cannot be moved.

Hospital director Mohammed Abu Salmiya told AFP Israeli troops instructed him to ensure “the evacuation of patients, wounded, the displaced and medical staff, and that they should move on foot towards the seafront”.

Key events

Only the Palestinian Authority can run Gaza after the Israel-Hamas war is over, European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said on Saturday.

“Hamas cannot be in control of Gaza any longer,” Borrell told the Manama Dialogue, an annual conference on foreign and security policy in Bahrain.

“So who will be in control of Gaza? I think only one could do that – the Palestinian Authority,” he said.

Jordanian foreign minister casts doubt on wiping out Hamas

Jordan’s foreign minister has said he does not understand how Israel’s goal of obliterating the Palestinian militant group Hamas could be achieved, Reuters reports.

Ayman Safadi said on Saturday:

Israel says it wants to wipe out Hamas. There’s a lot of military people here, I just don’t understand how this objective can be realised.

He warned that Jordan would do “whatever it takes to stop” the displacement of Palestinians, amid heavy Israeli bombardment of the Hamas-run Gaza Strip in retaliation for Hamas attack on southern Israel on 7 October.

“We will never allow that to happen,” Safadi told at the IISS Manama Dialogue security summit in Bahrain.

In addition to it being a war crime, it would be a direct threat to our national security. We’ll do whatever it takes to stop it.

Jordanian foreign minister Ayman Safadi speaks at the forum in Bahrain
The Jordanian foreign minister, Ayman Safadi, speaks at the forum in Bahrain. Photograph: Hamad I Mohammed/Reuters

The Israel-Hamas war has reawakened longstanding fears in Jordan, home to a large population of Palestinian refugees and their descendants. They fear that Israel could expel Palestinians en masse from the Israeli-occupied West Bank, where Israeli settler attacks on Palestinians have surged since 7 October attack.

Safadi said:

This war is not taking us anywhere but towards more conflict, more suffering and the threat of expanding into regional wars.

The US president’s top adviser on the Middle East said on Saturday that the release of hostages held by Hamas would lead to a surge in the delivery of humanitarian aid and significant pause in fighting in Gaza.

“The hostages are released, you will see a significant, significant change,” Brett McGurk said at the IISS Manama Dialogue security summit in Bahrain.

Reuters also reports that Bahrain’s crown prince, speaking at the summit on Friday, called on Hamas to release Israeli women and children held hostage and for Israel in exchange to release from its prisons Palestinian women and children who he said were non-combatants.

Israeli strike on southern Gaza house kills six – report

Six Palestinians were killed on Saturday in an Israeli air strike on a house in Deir al-Balah in the southern Gaza Strip, Reuters has just quoted health officials as saying.

Attack on Khan Younis residential building kills 26, says hospital chief

Twenty-six people were killed in a strike in the southern Gaza city of Khan Younis, a hospital director said on Saturday.

Agence France-Presse quotes the director of the Nasser hospital as saying on Saturday it had received the bodies of 26 people, as well as 23 people with serious injuries, after an airstrike on a residential building in the region’s Hamad Town.

The Israeli military did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the report.

Palestinians inspect the damage to a building after the deadly strike on Hamad Town in Khan Younis
Palestinians inspect the damage to a building after the deadly strike on Hamad Town in Khan Younis. Photograph: Mahmud Hams/AFP/Getty Images

Israel reiterates warning to leave Khan Younis

Israel issued a fresh warning to Palestinians in the southern city of Khan Younis to move out of the line of fire and closer to humanitarian aid, in the latest indication that it plans to attack Hamas in south Gaza after subduing the north, Reuters reports.

“We’re asking people to relocate. I know it’s not easy for many of them, but we don’t want to see civilians caught up in the crossfire,” Mark Regev, an aide to the Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, told MSNBC on Friday.

Such a move could compel hundreds of thousands of Palestinians who fled south from the Israeli assault on Gaza City to relocate again, along with residents of Khan Younis, a city of more than 400,000, worsening a dire humanitarian crisis.

Israel dropped leaflets over Khan Younis telling people to evacuate to shelters, suggesting military operations there were imminent.

Regev said Israeli troops would have to advance into the city to oust Hamas fighters from underground tunnels and bunkers but that no such “enormous infrastructure” exists in less built-up areas to the west.

“I’m pretty sure that they won’t have to move again” if they moved west, he said, referring to people in the area.

We’re asking them to move to an area where hopefully there will be tents and a field hospital.

Because the western areas are closer to the Rafah border crossing with Egypt, humanitarian aid could be brought in “as quickly as possible”, Regev said.

Opening summary

Welcome to our rolling live coverage of the Israel-Hamas war. I’m Adam Fulton and here’s a look at the latest to bring you up to speed.

Israel has issued a fresh warning to Palestinians in the southern city of Khan Younis to relocate west to avoid crossfire and be closer to humanitarian aid amid indications that Israeli military operations there could be imminent.

The warning, from an aide to the Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, could compel hundreds of thousands of Palestinians who fled south from the Israeli assault on Gaza City to relocate again, worsening a humanitarian crisis.

Meanwhile, a hospital director said 26 people had been killed in a strike on a residential building in Hamad, a neighbourhood in the Khan Younis area.

A man among the rubble of buildings destroyed in Israeli operations in Khan Younis, southern Gaza
A man among the rubble of buildings destroyed in Israeli operations in Khan Younis, southern Gaza. Photograph: Xinhua/Shutterstock

More on those stories shorty. In other news as it turns 8.15am in Gaza City and Tel Aviv:

  • A first consignment of fuel has entered Gaza after Israel bowed to US pressure for limited deliveries to allow wastewater treatment and the resumption of communications after a two-day blackout. Israel’s national security adviser, Tzachi Hanegbi, said on Friday the country’s war cabinet had agreed to allow two tanker trucks of fuel to enter the Gaza Strip each day, a quantity he described as “very minimal”.

  • The White House said fuel should be allowed into the Gaza Strip “on a regular basis and in larger quantities”, while welcoming the Israeli move.

  • A top UN official has renewed calls for a “humanitarian ceasefire” to allow aid to reach the 2.2 million people trapped in the Israel-Hamas war, saying: “We are not asking for the moon.”

  • Israeli troops will advance to anywhere Hamas exists, including the southern part of the Gaza Strip, Israel Defence Forces (IDF) spokesperson Daniel Hagari has said. It comes amid mounting concerns about Israeli plans to expand military operations in parts of the south where people have sought refuge from fighting. Civilians in parts of south-east Gaza were told in leaflets dropped by Israeli aircraft to move into a smaller “safe zone” in the coastal town of Mawasi, which covers just 14 sq km (5.4 sq miles), prompting warnings from the heads of 18 UN agencies and international aid groups.

  • At least 12,000 Palestinians, including 5,000 children, have been killed in Israeli strikes on Gaza since 7 October, according to Hamas officials on Friday.

  • Doctors Without Borders (MSF) said it has been trying to evacuate some of its staff and their families currently trapped inside the organisation’s facilities near al-Shifa hospital in Gaza City. Since last Saturday, MSF staff and families – 137 people, 65 of them children – have not been able to go outside because of ongoing fighting, it said.

Israeli soldiers walk in the al-Shifa hospital area in Gaza City, in footage released by Israel’s military on Tuesday
Israeli soldiers walk in the Shifa hospital area in Gaza City, in footage released by Israel’s military on Tuesday. Photograph: Israel Defense Forces/AP
  • Gaza’s main telecommunications companies, Paltel and Jawwal, have confirmed the “partial restoration” of telecom services in various parts of Gaza.

  • At least five Palestinians were killed and two others injured in a blast at a building in a refugee camp in the occupied West Bank city of Nablus, the Palestinian Red Crescent ambulance service said early on Saturday.

  • A UN human rights official has urged Israel to stop using water as a “weapon of war” and allow clean water and fuel into Gaza to restart the water supply network. Pedro Arrojo-Agudo, UN special rapporteur on water and sanitation, said consciously preventing supplies of safe water from entering Gaza “violates both international humanitarian and human rights law”. The UN says Gaza’s civilians face the “immediate possibility” of starvation.

  • An Israeli police investigation into the Hamas attacks at a music festival on 7 October has updated the death toll to 364, according to Israeli media reports. Earlier counts had placed the death count from the attack at Supernova music festival in Kibbutz Re’im at 270.

  • The Israeli military has said it has retrieved the body of a soldier, Noa Marciano, who had been held captive by Hamas in a building near Gaza’s al-Shifa hospital. It comes after the Israel Defence Forces said on Thursday they had found the body of Yehudit Weiss, one of about 240 hostages taken on 7 October, in a building near the hospital.

  • Bahrain’s crown prince says a “hostage trade” between Hamas and Israel could achieve a break in hostilities he believes might end the conflict in Gaza. Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa also said security in the region would not realised without a two-state solution, in which he described the US as “indispensable” in achieving.

  • The deputy head of Israel’s legislature has criticised the decision to allow a limited amount of fuel into Gaza for humanitarian needs. Nissim Vaturi, deputy speaker of the Knesset and a member of the ruling Likud party, said Israel was being “too humane” and that it should “burn Gaza now”.

  • Five countries have submitted a referral to the international criminal court (ICC) for an investigation of “the situation in the state of Palestine”, ICC chief prosecutor Karim Khan said. Khan confirmed his office was already conducting an investigation into the situation in the state of Palestine which began in March 2021.

  • The Vatican has confirmed that Pope Francis will meet next week with relatives of hostages held by Hamas militants in Gaza. The pope will separately meet with a delegation of Palestinians with family members in Gaza, Vatican spokesperson Matteo Bruni said.

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