WHO team calls al-Shifa ‘death-zone’; Iran asks Muslim states to snap ties with Israel

Challenges to Israel-Hamas hostage deal are ‘logistical’, says Qatar

Israel al-Shifa hospital attack A humanitarian assessment team led by the WHO visits Al Shifa Hospital in Gaza; Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei / Reuters | AFP

A joint United Nations team led by WHO visited Gaza’s al-Shifa hospital and assessed the situation of the hospital amid ‘evacuation’ orders by Israeli troops. WHO described the biggest hospital in Gaza as a “death zone”.

The team said they saw evidence of shelling and gunfire at the hospital’s entrance. Around 300 critically ill patients are still stranded at the hospital, said WHO officials.

Meanwhile, Gaza’s Health Ministry said 30 premature babies were evacuated from the hospital. The babies will be transferred to hospitals in Egypt.

Amid discussions on the hostage deal, Qatari prime minister, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Abdulrahman al-Thani said the challenges that remained in the deal “very minor”. “The challenges facing the agreement are just practical and logistical,” said Sheikh Mohammed at a joint press conference with the EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell in Doha.

Qatar has been engaged in mediation with Hamas for the release of hostages captured by them during the October 7 attacks. Reportedly, Qatar had been seeking Israel-Hamas deal to exchange 50 hostages for a three-day ceasefire. With Israel intensifying its attacks and spreading its military to south of Gaza, a ceasefire seems not an option.

"The deal is going through ups and downs from time to time throughout the last few weeks. But I think that you know I'm now more confident that we are close enough to reach a deal that can bring the people safely back to their home," added Sheikh Mohammed.

Meanwhile, Jordan’s King Abdullah said on Sunday called on the international community to push for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza to end Israel’s “ugly war against civilians”.

Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei urged Muslim states to "at least cut off political ties with Israel for a limited period of time", the semi-official Tasnim news agency reported.

Iran President Ebrahim Raisi's call to impose wide-ranging sanctions on Israel during the joint summit of the Arab nations in Saudi was not agreed by the Muslim states.

In another Israeli attack, many as 15 Palestinians were killed in an Israeli air bombardments of the central and southern Gaza Strip. Thirteen were killed in an attack on a home in Nuseirat camp in central Gaza, while a woman and her child were killed in southern Khan Younis city, WAFA reported. 

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