Israel ‘hits militants’ at hospital, PM to have surgery

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Palestinian health officials say an Israeli air strike has killed four people in al-Maghazi camp.
Palestinian health officials say an Israeli air strike has killed four people in al-Maghazi camp.

Israeli strikes have killed 77 Palestinians in Gaza in the past 24 hours, health authorities say, as Egypt hosted an Israeli delegation for a new round of talks in a bid to secure a truce with Gaza’s Hamas rulers.

The Israeli military said it killed a senior Islamic Jihad militant in a strike on a command centre in the courtyard of the al-Aqsa Hospital in the centre of the Gaza Strip.

“The command centre and terrorists were struck precisely, intended on minimising harm to uninvolved civilians in the area of the hospital,” the military said.

“The al-Aqsa Hospital building was not damaged and its functioning was not affected.”

Palestinians carry a wounded person
Several people were hurt in an Israeli strike near the al-Aqsa hospital in Deir al-Balah. (AP PHOTO)

There was no immediate comment from Islamic Jihad, a militant group and ally of Hamas.

An Associated Press reporter filmed the strike and aftermath at al-Aqsa Hospital in Deir al-Balah, where thousands of people have sheltered after fleeing their homes elsewhere in the war-ravaged territory. 

People including women and children scattered and cried out.

Palestinian health officials and Hamas media said the strike hit several tents inside the al-Aqsa Hospital, killing four people and wounding several, including five journalists.

Meanwhile, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was set to undergo surgery on Sunday for a hernia his doctors had discovered, a statement from his office said.

Netanyahu will be fully sedated after his doctors discovered the hernia “during a routine examination”.

“During this time, Deputy Prime Minister and Justice Minister Yariv Levin will serve as acting prime minister,” the statement said.

Signalling his condition was not serious, Netanyahu told a news conference: “I assure you that I will get through this treatment successfully and return to action very quickly.” 

Last year, the 74-year-old underwent surgery to have a pacemaker implanted.

Benjamin Netanyahu
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will undergo surgery for a hernia, his office says. (AP PHOTO)

More than 32,000 Palestinians have been killed in Israel’s military offensive in Gaza since October 7, according to the health authorities.

The war erupted after Hamas militants broke through the border and rampaged through communities in southern Israel, killing 1200 people and abducting 253 hostages, according to Israeli tallies.

The two sides have stepped up negotiations, mediated by Qatar and Egypt, on a six-week suspension of Israel’s offensive in return for the proposed release of 40 of 130 hostages still held by Hamas militants in Gaza after their October 7 attack on southern Israel.

Hamas has sought to parlay any deal into an end to the fighting and withdrawal of Israeli forces. 

Israel has ruled this out, saying it would eventually resume efforts to dismantle the governing and military capabilities of Hamas.

Hamas would not be present at the talks in Cairo, an official told Reuters on Sunday, as it waited to hear from mediators on whether a new Israeli offer was on the table.

In the southern Gaza Strip city of Khan Younis, Israeli forces continued to blockade the two main hospitals, and tanks shelled areas in the middle and eastern areas of the territory.

Palestinian health officials said an Israeli air strike killed nine people in Bani Suhaila near Khan Younis while another air strike killed four people in al-Maghazi camp in the central Gaza Strip.

In Gaza City, Israeli forces continued to operate inside al-Shifa Hospital, the territory’s biggest, the health ministry said. 

Residents living nearby said residential districts had been destroyed by Israeli forces near al-Shifa.

The Israeli military (IAF) said forces operating in al-Shifa killed gunmen barricading the area and had found weapons.

“Several compounds used to launch anti-tank missiles and where snipers operated were struck by IAF aircraft” in the Rimal neighbourhood near Shifa, the military said.

It added that forces killed 15 gunmen in the central Gaza Strip and several in Khan Younis, including near al-Amal hospital.

Israel said it killed and detained hundreds of Hamas and Islamic Jihad gunmen at al-Shifa during a raid.

Hamas and medical staff deny any armed presence inside medical facilities, accusing Israel of killing and arresting civilians.

with AP

Reuters