Israel-Hamas war live: staff report ‘catastrophic’ situation in main Gaza hospital, aid agency says, as fighting intensifies | Israel-Hamas war

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Iranian president says ‘action’ not words needed on Gaza

Iranian president Ebrahim Raisi said on Saturday that time had come for action over the conflict in Gaza rather than talk as he headed to Saudi Arabia to attend a summit on the crisis, Reuters reports.

“Gaza is not an arena for words. It should be for action,” Raisi said at Tehran airport before departing for Riyadh in Saudi Arabia.

Today, the unity of the Islamic countries is very important.”

Opening summary

Welcome back to our continuing live coverage of the Israel Hamas war, now into day 36. I’m Adam Fulton and here’s a snapshot of the latest to bring you up to speed as it just passes 8.15am in Gaza City and Tel Aviv.

Doctors have reported a “catastrophic” situation in the Gaza Strip’s biggest hospital as attacks on the facility “dramatically intensified”.

The Doctors Without Borders aid agency said it was “extremely concerned” about the safety of patients and medical staff at al-Shifa hospital.

“Over the last few hours, the attacks against al-Shifa Hospital have dramatically intensified,” the agency said online on Saturday morning. “Our staff at the hospital have reported a catastrophic situation inside just few hours ago.”

The Hamas government and the hospital’s director said a strike on the key health facility on Friday killed 13 people. They accused Israel of being responsible – a claim that couldn’t be verified.

The World Health Organisation said earlier that al-Shifa Hospital was facing a bombardment. Up to 50,000 people are sheltering there.

People are assisted at al-Shifa hospital in Gaza City last month amid the Israel-Hamas war
People are assisted at al-Shifa hospital in Gaza City last month amid the Israel-Hamas war. Doctors Without Borders has reported a ‘catastrophic’ situation inside the hospital. Photograph: Reuters

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia is to host an extraordinary joint Islamic-Arab summit in Riyadh on Saturday.

The country had been scheduled to host two summits, the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation summit and the Arab League summit, on Saturday but the Saudi foreign ministry said the joint summit would replace the two separate gatherings due to “the exceptional circumstances taking place in the Palestinian Gaza Strip”.

More on those stories later. In other developments:

  • France’s president, Emmanuel Macron, has said there is “no justification” for the Israeli bombing of babies, women and elderly people in Gaza. Macron, speaking to the BBC a day after a humanitarian aid conference in Paris about the war, called for a ceasefire in Gaza, saying it would benefit Israel. In response, the Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, said Hamas was responsible for the civilian deaths in Gaza.

  • Israel launched airstrikes on or near four hospitals and a school on Friday, killing at least 22 people, Palestinian officials said. A World Health Organisation WHO spokesperson said 20 hospitals in Gaza were out of action and that there was “intense violence” at al-Shifa hospital at Gaza City. The Palestinian Red Crescent Society said Israeli forces opened fire on the intensive care unit at al-Quds hospital in the city.

  • Israel has killed a further seven Hezbollah fighters on its northern border with Lebanon, taking the total death toll of Hezbollah fighters to 78 since the Hamas attack on Israel on 7 October. The group’s leader, Hassan Nasrallah, will make his second speech this month on Saturday, setting out his latest thinking.

  • An Israel Defence Forces (IDF) spokesperson has said the Israeli army is aware of the sensitivities of the hospitals in Gaza. “The IDF does not fire on hostages but if we see a Hamas terrorist we will kill him,” Lt Col Richard Hecht said in a press briefing on Friday.

  • The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has urgently called for the protection of patients, healthcare workers and medical facilities in Gaza. An ICRC statement warned that Gaza’s healthcare system had “reached a point of no return” amid escalating violence that had “severely” affected hospitals and ambulances working in the besieged territory.

  • The number of people killed in Gaza by Israeli military actions since the start of the war on 7 October has risen to 11,078, including 4,506 children, according to the Hamas-run health ministry on Friday. Another 27,490 Palestinians in Gaza had been wounded, it said.

  • Israel has revised downwards the death toll from last month’s Hamas attacks in the south of the country from 1,400 to about 1,200, a foreign ministry spokesperson said. The revision was “due to the fact that there were lot of corpses that were not identified and now we think those belong to terrorists … not Israeli casualties”, they said on Friday.

  • Thousands of Palestinians continued to flee south from northern Gaza on Friday a day after the White House announced that Israel would begin to implement four-hour “humanitarian pauses” in parts of the area to allow people to leave. IDF spokesperson Daniel Hagari said on Friday that more than 100,000 residents had fled south from Gaza City during the past two days.

Palestinians fleeing the northern Gaza Strip walk southward through central Gaza on Thursday
Palestinians fleeing the northern Gaza Strip walk southward through central Gaza on Thursday. Photograph: Mohammed Salem/Reuters
  • Despite the US announcement, there have been no immediate reports of a lull in fighting in northern Gaza. The Israeli military has said there would be “tactical, local pauses for humanitarian aid for Gazan civilians” but “no ceasefire”. On the ground, conditions continued to deteriorate as night fell over Gaza City on Friday during a sustained Israeli onslaught with heavy gunfire, explosions and the buzz of Israeli military drones heard.

  • The head of the World Health Organization (WHO) said a child was killed every 10 minutes in Gaza. “Nowhere and no one is safe,” Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told the UN security council on Friday, adding that Gaza’s health system was “on its knees”, with half of its 36 hospitals not functioning.

  • The UN’s human rights chief, Volker Türk, has called for an investigation into what he described as Israel’s “indiscriminate” bombardment and shelling in densely populated areas in the Gaza Strip. “The extensive Israeli bombardment of Gaza, including the use of high-impact explosive weapons in densely populated areas … is clearly having a devastating humanitarian and human rights impact,” Türk told reporters in Jordan.

  • The US secretary of state, Antony Blinken, said “far too many Palestinians had been killed” in the war. He said that while the US “appreciates” Israel’s steps to minimise civilian casualties, it was not enough. Blinken said the US had proposed additional ideas to the Israelis, including longer “humanitarian pauses” and expanding the amount of assistance getting into Gaza.

  • Each recorded fatal Israeli airstrike on Gaza since 7 October has caused an average of 10.1 civilian deaths, a monitoring group has said, amid warnings that reported civilian casualty figures are likely to be an underestimate. The fatality average is far higher than in the three previous Israeli air campaigns in Gaza.

Palestinians stand on the edge of a crater after an Israeli strike on Rafah city in southern Gaza on Thursday
Palestinians stand on the edge of a crater after an Israeli strike on Rafah city in southern Gaza on Thursday. Photograph: AFP/Getty Images
  • Israel is considering a deal for Hamas to release all civilian hostages held in Gaza, according to a report. Under one of the proposals being discussed, Hamas would release 10 to 20 civilian hostages in exchange for a brief pause in fighting, one official said. That could be followed by a release of about 100 civilians if terms were met.

  • Evacuations from the Gaza Strip in to Egypt for foreign passport holders and for injured Palestinians requiring urgent medical treatment were suspended on Friday. The suspension was due to problems bringing medical evacuees to the Rafah crossing from inside Gaza, Reuters reported. The Rafah crossing was also suspended on Wednesday due to what the US state department referred to as unspecified “security circumstance”.

  • The organisers of the pro-Palestine march due to take place in London on Armistice Day believe “hundreds of thousands” of people will turn out for what they say will be one of Britain’s biggest days of mass protest.

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