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15 June, 2024
 
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Babies among 12 dead in Israel-Hamas fuel dispute

Israel accuses Hamas of blocking Gaza hospital fuel aid

Source: Sky News

Hamas has denied refusing an offer of fuel from Israel for Gaza's biggest hospital, which the World Health Organisation says is "not functioning" due to bombing and gunfire.

The al Shifa hospital's last generator ran out of fuel at the weekend, leading to the deaths of three premature babies and nine other patients, according to the Hamas-run Gaza health ministry.

Israel's military said it had coordinated the delivery of 300 litres (79 gallons) of fuel with hospital officials, but claimed Hamas prevented the hospital from receiving it.

Hamas denied the claim, saying in a statement: "The offer belittles the pain and suffering of the patients who are trapped inside without water, food, or electricity. This quantity is not enough to operate hospital generators for more than 30 minutes."

Israel has claimed that a Hamas control centre is situated under the hospital, which both medical staff at the hospital and Hamas have repeatedly denied.

A second hospital in Gaza, al Quds, closed to new patients on Sunday.

Three UN agencies have expressed horror at the situation facing Gaza's hospitals, saying they had recorded at least 137 attacks on healthcare facilities in 36 days resulting in 521 deaths and 686 injuries.

The director-general of the World Health Organisation, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said the situation in al Shifa hospital was "dire and perilous" with constant gunfire and bombing exacerbating the already critical circumstances.

"Tragically, the number of patient fatalities has increased significantly," he said in a post on X, formerly known as Twitter. "Regrettably, the hospital is not functioning as a hospital anymore."

Dr Ahmed El Mokhallalati, a plastic surgeon in al Shifa hospital, said the bombing of the building that houses incubators had forced medics to line up premature babies on ordinary beds, using the little power available to turn the air conditioning to warm.

A spokesperson for the health ministry in Gaza said the three premature babies who had died were among a total of 45 being kept in incubators at al Shifa.

"We are expecting to lose more of them day by day," said Dr El Mokhallalati.

Hamas said earlier on Sunday that it had suspended hostage negotiations with Israel over the country's handling of the worsening situation at al Shifa hospital.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Sky News' US partner network NBC News that Israel will not agree to a ceasefire unless all 239 Israeli hostages believed to be trapped in Gaza are released.

"We have set a specific target and that is to destroy Hamas's military capabilities and its governance capabilities," Mr Netanyahu said.

"That is something we are achieving step by step."

He also said a "great deal" is known about the location of the hostages - but he would not reveal any further details.

Mr Netanyahu continued to outline Israel's post-war plans for Gaza - which are starkly at odds with its closest ally, the US.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the US opposes an Israeli reoccupation of Gaza and envisions a unified Palestinian government in Gaza and the West Bank as a step toward a Palestinian state - long opposed by Netanyahu's government.

In France and the UK, protests relating to the Israel-Hamas conflict have sparked controversy over the weekend.

More than 180,000 people across France, including 100,000 in Paris, protested against rising antisemitism in the country.

Family members of some of the 40 French citizens killed in the initial Hamas attack, and of those missing or held hostage, also took part in the march.

Authorities in France, which has the largest Jewish population in Europe, have counted 1,247 antisemitic acts since 7 October - nearly three times as many as in the whole of 2022, according to the interior ministry.

The country has banned several pro-Palestinian demonstrations, although supporters have marched in several French cities in recent weeks.

The fallout from the Armistice Day protests in London on Saturday also continued with Israeli government spokesperson Eylon Levy saying: "I don't think London has ever seen such a large demonstration of rape apologists before."

More than 300,000 people marched in the pro-Palestinian demonstration.

The main protest was largely peaceful but violent skirmishes broke out between the Metropolitan Police and counter-protesters from various right-wing groups.

Seven people were charged with various offences on Sunday following the protests.

Meanwhile, the Israeli military has said seven IDF soldiers were "lightly injured" following mortar shell launches by Hezbollah in northern Israel on Sunday.

Ten other people were also wounded by rocket blasts and shrapnel, with two in critical condition, Israeli rescue services said.

The Israeli Defence Forces said it had identified 15 launches in an hour from Lebanon - where the powerful militant group Hezbollah is based - and had intercepted four.

The rest fell into open areas, it said.

Israeli officials earlier said Hezbollah had fired anti-tank missiles at an Israeli community just over the border, badly wounding utility workers.

The Israeli military said it was responding by striking the origin of the launch with artillery fire.

The UN peacekeeping force in Lebanon also said one of its members near the town of al Qawzah in southern Lebanon had been wounded in a shooting.

TAGS
Cyprus  |  Hamas  |  UN  |  Israel  |  Gaza

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