Israel tanks reach heart of Khan Younis; Qatar says hostage deal window narrowing

Netanyahu spoke with Russia’s Putin on Sunday amid intensifying conflict

Israel Qatar Hamas mediation Smoke rises after Israeli strikes, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip | Reuters

With the Israel intensifying its attacks against Gaza, a renewed hostage deal with Hamas was becoming tough for Qatar. Qatar PM Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani told that the Israel bombardment of Gaza 'narrowing the window' for renewed hostage deal.

Though the mediation efforts had hit a road block, Qatar is still pursuing new terms for the hostage deal to free those captured by the Hamas.

“Our efforts as the state of Qatar along with our partners are continuing. We are not going to give up,” Abdulrahman al-Thani told the Doha Forum, adding that “the continuation of the bombardment is just narrowing this window for us”.

“We are going to continue, we are committed to have hostages released, but we are also committed to stop the war,” Qatar’s prime minister said.

Meanwhile, WHO chief said that resupplying health facilities in Gaza would be

“extremely difficult”.

A WHO database has revealed that there have been 449 attacks on healthcare facilities in Palestinian territories since 7 October.

Given the security situation, WHO director general, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said that it would be hard to meet the board’s requests. “Resupplying health facilities has become extremely difficult and is deeply compromised by the security situation on the ground and inadequate resupply from outside Gaza,” he said.

Netanyahu’s 50-minute call with Putin

Benjamin Netanyahu spent 50 minutes on the phone with the Russian President Vladimir Putin on Sunday.

During the 50-minute call Netanyahu strongly criticised what he termed "dangerous co-operation" between Russia and Iran.

“The prime minister emphasized that any country that would suffer an attack such as Israel experienced would act with no less force than the one with which Israel operates,” his office said.

"Any country that had been struck with a criminal terrorist assault such as Israel experienced would have reacted with no less force than Israel is using," he told Vladimir Putin.

Netanyahu also requested Russia to pressurise the Red Cross to visit and provide medicine for the estimated 137 hostages still held by Hamas.

“The war is continuing, intensively, in both northern and southern Gaza, in order to achieve all of our goals: Eliminating Hamas, returning all of our hostages and ensuring that Gaza will never go back to being a threat to Israel, said Netanyahu while briefing the state cabinet.

Netanyahu also commented on the antisemitism issues flaring up at universities and campuses. “The important thing that is now happening is that friends and leaders in the Jewish community are finally standing up. They are standing up against this antisemitism. This is the only way to fight it: With pride and honour, not with bowed heads, but to take the fight back to them. On behalf of all of you, I commend them,” he added.

Amid US vetoing the ceasefire resolution, UN secretary general Antonio Guterres vowed that he will not give up seeking a ceasefire in Gaza. “I urged the security council to press to avert a humanitarian catastrophe and I reiterated my appeal for a humanitarian ceasefire to be declared.

“Regrettably, the security council failed to do it, but that does not make it less necessary,” he said. “I will not give up," he said.

Israeli tanks reach Khan Younis

Israeli tanks reached the heart of main city Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip, where hundreds of civilians are sheltered.

Reportedly, warplanes were pounding the area west of the assault and snipers took positions on buildings in the area as well.

Israeli troops were pushing into militant strongholds and meeting fierce resistance in Jabaliya and the Shejjaiya district of Gaza City, areas that are still inhabited despite orders weeks ago to clear out of the entire north.

According to the Gaza Health Ministry, about 18,000 Palestinians have been killed and 49,500 injured in Israeli attacks in Gaza since October 7. 

Meanwhile, Lebanon's Hezbollah said it had launched explosive drones at an Israeli command position on Sunday. The Israeli army said "suspicious aerial targets" had crossed from Lebanon and two were intercepted. 

The exchanges of fire between Israel and Hezbollah, Iran backed militant group, have marked their worst since 2006 war.


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