Gaza faces humanitarian disaster, warns UN
Israeli forces pounded areas in northern and southern Gaza yesterday as UN agency chiefs said a bitter row over the main aid agency for Palestinians could "have catastrophic consequences for the people of Gaza".
The focus of the fighting in recent weeks has been Khan Yunis, the southern Gaza Strip's main city, where an AFP correspondent reported constant air strikes and shelling overnight.
The health ministry recorded at least 125 deaths across the Hamas-ruled territory in the latest Israeli strikes. At least 26,900 Palestinians have been killed and 65,949 injured in Israeli strikes since October 7, it said in a statement yesterday.
Major donors, including Israel's top ally the United States and Germany, have suspended funding to the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, UNRWA, over accusations that several staff members were involved in the October 7 attack that sparked the offensive.
- Shelling continues around Nasser Hospital in Khan Yunis
- Staff, patients at Al-Amal Hospital live in constant fear
- Mediators seek a halt to Israeli offensive
- Death toll in enclave now 26,900
Withholding the funds was "perilous and would result in the collapse of the humanitarian system in Gaza", the heads of the UN agencies said in a joint statement.
Meanwhile mediation efforts gathered pace following a Sunday meeting of top US, Israeli, Egyptian and Qatari officials that produced a proposed framework for a new truce and hostage release.
A Hamas official told AFP that a delegation headed by the group's leader Ismail Haniyeh "will be in Cairo today or tomorrow (yesterday or today)" to discuss the proposal.
But Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu repeated his vow not to pull troops out of Gaza until "total victory.
The Israeli army said yesterday its troops had killed 15 "terrorists" in northern Gaza, and captured 10 others during a raid on a school where they were allegedly hiding, reports Reuters.
In Khan Yunis, where the Hamas government media office said there were "dozens of air raids" overnight, vast areas have been reduced to a muddy wasteland of bombed-out buildings.
According to witnesses, artillery shells hit the area of Nasser Hospital, the city's largest, where the UN humanitarian agency OCHA has said thousands of displaced Palestinians are sheltering.
The Palestinian Red Crescent said on social media platform X that "Israeli shelling and gunfire continue" around another hospital in Khan Yunis.
Staff and patients at the Red Crescent's Al-Amal Hospital "and thousands of displaced people, primarily children and women, live in constant fear and anxiety", it said.
Palestinians in the Gaza Strip said any ceasefire agreement must end the offensive and allow them back into homes they abandoned as Israeli forces advanced.
"We are exhausted. We were happy to learn about the news of a possible agreement. We hope they don't disappoint us by signing any agreement that won't return us to our homes and end the offensive," said Ahmed, a father of six who fled his home in Gaza City in the north of the enclave for the city of Rafah in the south.