GAZA MILITARY ATTACKS: U.S. says Israel agrees to pauses
The White House said on Thursday that Israel agreed to pause military operations in parts of north Gaza for four hours a day, but there was no sign of a let-up in the fighting.
The pauses, which would allow people to flee along two humanitarian corridors and could be used for the release of hostages, were significant first steps, White House national security spokesperson John Kirby said.
But Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu suggested any pauses would be scattered, and there was no official confirmation of a plan for recurring breaks.
Asked if there would be a “stoppage” in fighting, Netanyahu said on the Fox News Channel: “No. The fighting continues against the Hamas enemy, the Hamas terrorists, but in specific locations for a given period of a few hours here or a few hours there, we want to facilitate the safe passage of civilians away from the zone of fight and we’re doing that.”
On the ground in northern Gaza, there were no reports of a lull in fighting. Each side reported inflicting heavy casualties on the other in intense street battles.
Israel says 1,400 people, mostly civilians, were killed and about 240 taken hostage by Hamas in the Oct.7 raid that triggered the Israeli assault. Israel says it has lost 35 soldiers in Gaza.
Palestinian officials said 10,812 Gaza residents had been killed as of Thursday, about 40% of them children, in air and artillery strikes. A humanitarian catastrophe has unfolded as basic supplies like food and water run out and shelling displaces civilians from their homes.
Israel’s military has said it has evidence that Hamas uses Al Shifa and other hospitals such as the Indonesian Hospital to hide command posts and entry points to an extensive tunnel network under Gaza. It says it does not target civilians, and it has allowed some wounded Palestinian civilians to cross into Egypt for treatment.
But Israel’s military advance on central Gaza City, which brought tanks within about 1.2 kilometre (3/4 mile) of Al Shifa, according to residents, has raised questions about how Israel will interpret international laws on protecting medical centres and displaced people sheltering there.
Deadly air strikes on refugee camps, a medical convoy and near hospitals have already prompted fierce arguments among some of Israel’s Western allies over its military’s adherence to international law.
U.S. President Joe Biden said in a post on X on Thursday that Israel has “an obligation to distinguish between terrorists and civilians and fully comply with international law.”
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