GAZA STRIP: Deadly airstrikes pounded the Gaza Strip as talks towards a truce between Israel and Hamas resumed in Cairo on Sunday, according to Egyptian state television.

As heavy fighting raged on in the besieged Palestinian territory, including in or around several hospitals, the humanitarian crisis deepened despite a UN Security Council resolution last Monday that demanded an “immediate ceasefire”.

To help alleviate the suffering of Gaza’s 2.4 million people, another aid ship was sailing from the Mediterranean island-nation of Cyprus to bring 400 tonnes of food relief, as part of a small flotilla. Foreign powers have ramped up aid airdrops, although UN agencies and charities warn this falls far short of the dire need.

At least 77 people were killed overnight in new Israeli bombardment and ground combat, most of them women and children, pushing the death toll of Palestinians to 32,782, according to the health ministry.

Netanyahu to undergo hernia surgery; 200 killed in 13 days in battles near Gaza hospitals

Tensions have risen over the spiralling civilian death toll between Israel and its chief backer the US, especially over Israeli threats to send ground forces into Gaza’s far-southern city of Rafah.

Washington has nonetheless approved billions of dollars worth of bombs and fighter jets for Israel in recent days, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing unnamed officials.

Under intense pressure for ceasefire, Netanyahu on Friday approved a new round of ceasefire talks to take place in Doha and Cairo.

Egyptian TV station Al-Qahera said the talks would resume in Cairo on Sunday. An anchor said, “an Egyptian security source confirmed to Al-Qahera News the resumption of negotiations on a truce between Israel and Hamas in the Egyptian capital Cairo.”

Israeli demonstrators rallied against Netanyahu government again on Sunday evening outside the Knesset in Jerusalem, and planned to hold rally every night until Wednesday, the organisers said.

Netanyahu’s surgery

On the other hand, Israeli Prime Minister office announced on Sunday that Netanyahu is to undergo hernia surgery, noting he will be put under full anaesthesia.

Deputy Prime Minister and Justice Minister Yariv Levin will stand in as prime minister during the 74-year-old’s operation, the premier’s office said.

Doctors discovered the hernia on Saturday during a routine checkup, and after consultations the decision was made for the premier to undergo surgery after completing his daily schedule, his office said.

Battles near hospitals

Meanwhile, heavy shelling and gun attacks rocked areas around several Gaza hospitals, as Israel forces alleged Hamas was hiding inside and in tunnels beneath the medical facilities. The IDF said it had continued to eliminate Hamas members around the largest hospital, Al-Shifa in Gaza City, with around 200 reported killed in past 13 days.

The Gaza health ministry said 107 patients remained inside Al-Shifa, including 30 with disabilities, and that the army had stopped attempts to evacuate them.

The WHO has warned that Gaza now has just 10 “minimally functioning” hospitals, down from 36 last year. WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that 9,000 patients need to leave Gaza for emergency care.

Published in Dawn, April 1st, 2024

Opinion

Editorial

Debt trap
Updated 30 May, 2024

Debt trap

The task before the government is to boost its tax-to-GDP ratio to the global average by taxing the economy’s untaxed and undertaxed sectors.
Foregone times
30 May, 2024

Foregone times

THE past, as they say, is a foreign country. It seems that the PML-N’s leadership has chosen to live there. Nawaz...
Margalla fires
30 May, 2024

Margalla fires

THE Margalla Hills — the sprawling 12,605-hectare national park — were once again engulfed in flames, with 15...
First steps
Updated 29 May, 2024

First steps

One hopes that this small change will pave the way for bigger things.
Rafah inferno
29 May, 2024

Rafah inferno

THE level of barbarity witnessed in Sunday’s Israeli air strike targeting a refugee camp in Rafah is shocking even...
On a whim
29 May, 2024

On a whim

THE sudden declaration of May 28 as a public holiday to observe Youm-i-Takbeer — the anniversary of Pakistan’s...