Chairman and Chief Editor
Bedour Ibrahim

Evacuations of foreign-passport holders and the injured from the Gaza Strip to Egypt appear to have stalled

Gaza Crossings Risk Collapse Amid Hamas Push-Back

Sunday 05/November/2023 - 03:46 PM
أصول مصر

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken is due to meet Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank. It’s the latest part of a Middle Eastern tour that’s seen him clash with key Arab allies who’re demanding an immediate cease-fire in the Israel-Hamas war.

Evacuations of foreign-passport holders and the injured from the Gaza Strip to Egypt appear to have stalled after more than 1،000 people crossed earlier this month. Hamas and Israel accused each other of undermining a deal.

Israel suspended its heritage minister from cabinet meetings after his comments on the possibility of using an atomic bomb in the conflict. Israeli attacks have killed nearly 9،500 people in the besieged territory، according to the Gaza health ministry run by Hamas، which is designated a terrorist organization by the US and European Union.

Ground troops found rocket launchers a few meters from a children’s swimming pool and about 20 to 30 meters from residential buildings in the northern Gaza Strip town of Bet Hanoun، the Israel Defense Forces said on Sunday. Another launch site was identified in an old children’s playground. 

Deliberate use of civilian infrastructure

“This is further proof of Hamas’ deliberate use of civilian infrastructure and civilians - including children - as human shields for its military operations،” military says.

Israel’s military says it intercepted a UAV over Lebanon after identifying it flying toward Israel from deep inside the neighboring country. 

Earlier، several launches from Lebanon toward northern Israel were identified. The Israel Defense Forces responded with artillery fire toward the sources of the launches. Hezbollah said it targeted two Israeli army posts near the Lebanese border with missiles.

Israel denied a reported by the state-run Lebanese National News Agency that Hezbollah downed an Israeli drone over the southern Lebanese town of Nabatieh with an anti-aircraft missile.

Israeli army practices in Gaza are complicating hostage negotiations، Qatari Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani said in a televised briefing after meeting France’s foreign minister.

The minister also criticized what he said were the international community’s “double standards.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu barred Minister of Heritage Amihai Eliyahu from cabinet meetings after his comments on the possibility of using nuclear weapons in the war against Hamas in Gaza.

Powerful response

Eliyahu، a member of Israel’s far-right Otzma Yehudit party، responded to a question in a radio interview with the suggestion that dropping a nuclear bomb on Gaza was a possibility. He later said on social media platform X that the statement was “metaphorical،” but “we definitely need a powerful and disproportionate response to terrorism.”

Israel’s military said it would allow people in Gaza to move to the southern sector of the besieged territory Sunday via the Salaheddine road between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.

Avichay Adraee، the Israel Defense Forces’ Arabic spokesman، said Hamas had shelled troops Saturday despite a previous announcement of a temporary safe corridor.

“If you care about yourselves and your loved ones، then move south according to our instructions. And know that Hamas leadership is effectively looking after their own،” Adraee said on X early Sunday.

Blinken is set to meet with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank city of Ramallah on Sunday، the Palestinian leader’s office told Bloomberg. 

Israeli troops are killing Hamas militants in close-quarter combat and using airstrikes against Hamas infrastructure، weapons depots، observation posts and command and control centers in Gaza، the Israel Defense Forces said.

Troops directed aircraft to strike a Hamas military compound overnight، the military said. Israel has struck over 2،500 Hamas targets since the beginning of the ground operation about a week ago.

Evacuations are stalling

The Rafah Crossing Authority in Gaza hasn’t published any list of people allowed to cross into Egypt today، suggesting evacuations are stalling as Hamas and Israel trade blame on the implementation of a deal.

The United Nations’ Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said in an update that no movement of “dual nationals، internationals، or patients” from Gaza to Egypt was reported on Nov. 4. More than 1،100 crossed on Nov. 2 and Nov. 3، it said.

The UN’s humanitarian affairs office said the fighting in Gaza has left a total of 9،488 people dead، including 3،900 children. Another 2،000 are missing، presumably under rubble. The agency said the tolls were reported by the Hamas-run health ministry. Four Israeli soldiers were reported killed in Gaza on Saturday، for a total of 28 since the start of the ground war. 

No foreigners، people with dual nationalities or patients left Gaza on Saturday، the agency said. Thirty trucks with humanitarian supplies entered the strip through Egypt to the south، for a total of 451 aid trucks since Oct. 21.

US President Joe Biden said efforts to organize a “humanitarian pause” in the Israel-Hamas war are moving forward. In a brief comment to reporters near his private home in Delaware، Biden said “yes” when asked whether there’s progress. He didn’t elaborate.

A Jewish woman was stabbed at her home in Lyon، and an “antisemitic inscription” was found on her door، the city’s mayor، Gregory Doucet، said on X، formerly Twitter. “Such a surge in violence is unacceptable،” he wrote. 

A probe for attempted murder was opened، and her injuries aren’t life threatening، AFP reported، citing the local prosecutor’s office. 

Killing Hamas leader 

Israel’s defense minister called on Palestinians in Gaza to kill Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar، saying it would spare them suffering.

“We will get to Yahya Sinwar، and we’ll eliminate him،” Yoav Gallant said in a televised news conference Saturday evening. “I say here to the people of Gaza — if you get to him before us، it will shorten the war.”

Gallant، who spoke after the IDF chief of staff visited Gaza for a situation assessment earlier Saturday، said the army completed the encirclement of Gaza City from north and south in the past few days and is waging fierce battles in built-up areas. 

A deal to allow foreigners and dual nationals to start leaving the Gaza Strip is at risk of collapse، as Hamas and Israel accuse each other of undermining its terms.

Osama Hamdan، the militant group’s representative in Lebanon، said in Beirut that Israel is targeting ambulances and blocking Palestinians wounded in Israeli airstrikes from seeking treatment in neighboring Egypt. 

The Israeli military said its planes bombed an ambulance that was identified as being used by Hamas militants that was in a “battle zone،” while a US official said Hamas had been trying to use the deal to evacuate some of its injured fighters.