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

X post facto
Updated 19 Apr, 2024

X post facto

Our decision-makers should realise the harm they are causing.
Insufficient inquiry
19 Apr, 2024

Insufficient inquiry

UNLESS the state is honest about the mistakes its functionaries have made, we will be doomed to repeat our follies....
Melting glaciers
19 Apr, 2024

Melting glaciers

AFTER several rain-related deaths in KP in recent days, the Provincial Disaster Management Authority has sprung into...
IMF’s projections
Updated 18 Apr, 2024

IMF’s projections

The problems are well-known and the country is aware of what is needed to stabilise the economy; the challenge is follow-through and implementation.
Hepatitis crisis
18 Apr, 2024

Hepatitis crisis

THE sheer scale of the crisis is staggering. A new WHO report flags Pakistan as the country with the highest number...
Never-ending suffering
18 Apr, 2024

Never-ending suffering

OVER the weekend, the world witnessed an intense spectacle when Iran launched its drone-and-missile barrage against...