Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, made an unannounced visit to Israeli infantrymen stationed on the periphery of the Gaza Strip. In a video shared by his office, Netanyahu posed a question to the troops, “You ready for the next stage? The next stage is coming.” The troops responded with nods of agreement, although the video did not provide specifics about the upcoming actions.
The visit comes at a critical juncture as the deadline for the evacuation of a hospital in Gaza City has passed, and Palestinians were urged to relocate safely to the south. The Palestinian Red Crescent Society received an order from Israeli forces earlier in the day, setting a deadline for the evacuation of Al Quds hospital. The initial deadline of 6 a.m. was later extended, but the hospital could not be evacuated safely. Consequently, the hospital continued its vital role in caring for the sick and wounded.
The passing of this deadline also marked the conclusion of a designated window for ‘safe passage’ determined by the Israeli military. This window allowed Palestinians to travel along two main routes from northern Gaza without being harmed, within the hours of 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. local time.
Israel has maintained a total siege on the Hamas-run Gaza Strip, home to 2.3 million Palestinians, and has subjected it to unprecedented airstrikes. According to Gaza authorities, the conflict has resulted in over 2,200 casualties, with children accounting for a quarter of the total, and nearly 10,000 individuals have been wounded.
Amid the ongoing humanitarian crisis, the United States government encouraged its citizens in Gaza to move south towards the Rafah border crossing with Egypt, preparing for its possible reopening to address the dire conditions in the coastal enclave.
The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Assistance (OCHA) has confirmed that this week witnessed the highest number of casualties in the West Bank since its records began in 2005, following Hamas’s attack on Israel last Saturday. As uncertainties persist, the international community remains deeply concerned about the evolving situation in the region.
Sources By Agencies