UN report says ‘famine is imminent’ in north Gaza; IDF raids al-Shifa hospital again

Hamas calls the IDF raids a ‘war crime’

Israel Gaza war Humanitarian aid falls through the sky towards the Gaza Strip after being dropped from an aircraft, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, as seen from Israel's border with Gaza, in southern Israel | Reuters

As Israel gears for the Rafah offensive, Gaza is inching closer to famine and hospitals are still reeling under shortage of supplies. Recently, humanitarian charity Oxfam has alleged that Israeli authorities conducting checks on aid before it enters Gaza have rejected a warehouse of supplies that included oxygen, incubators and water.

Though the reasons for the rejection were unclear, Oxfam alleged that Israel's checks were "unpredictable and chaotic.” “It keeps aid snarled up, subjected to onerous, repetitive and unpredictable bureaucratic procedures," Oxfam said in a statement.

Meanwhile, Philippe Lazzarini, UN's Palestinian refugee agency, said the hunger in the Gaza Strip was “man-made” and could be reversed through “proper political will”.

"We are engaged in a race against the clock to try to reverse the impact of the spreading hunger and the looming famine in the Gaza Strip," Lazzarini said in Egypt.

While speaking to the reporters, EU's foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said Israel is provoking famine in Gaza and is using starvation as a weapon of war.

"In Gaza, we are no longer on the brink of famine, we are in a state of famine, affecting thousands of people," Borrell tells a conference in Brussels.

"This is unacceptable. Starvation is used as a weapon of war. Israel is provoking famine," he added.

Amid the intensifying Israel-Hamas war, the IDF conducted raids on al-Shifa Hospital, the largest hospital in northern Gaza, once again. IDF said that they receive “concrete intelligence” requiring immediate action at the hospital.

In a video message, IDF chief spokesperson Rear Adm Daniel Hagari said "senior Hamas terrorists” had “regrouped" inside the hospital. IDF would ensure the hospital continued its functions while the military conducted its operation, he added.

Hagari also said that patients and medical staff would not be forced to evacuate from the hospital.

Meanwhile, the Israeli military has told Gazans to leave the area around the al-Shifa hospital. The hospital is being used as a shelter for displaced people, as well as patients.

Meanwhile, Hamas had condemned Israel's 'new crime' at al-Shifa hospital.

Israel “directly targeted” the hospital buildings “with no regard for the patients, medical crews and the displaced people inside,” said Hamas in a statement in Telegram.

Earlier in November 2023, al-Shifa Hospital was raided by the Israeli military. IDF has claimed that it found a network of tunnels under the hospital used by Hamas when it raided al-Shifa.

Meanwhile, a UN-backed report on Monday said that famine is expected between now and May in north Gaza.

"Famine is now projected and imminent in the North Gaza and Gaza Governorates and is expected to become manifest during the projection period from mid-March 2024 to May 2024," it said.


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