Israeli forces Friday closed in on Gaza City’s main hospital
30،000 More People Left Northern Gaza for South
A further 30،000 people left areas in northern Gaza for the south on Friday while only 30 more aid trucks managed to cross the border from Egypt، the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said.
French President Emmanuel Macron told the BBC there was “no justification” for the bombing of Gaza and urged a cease-fire. Israel revised down its death toll from the Hamas attack on Oct. 7 that set off the latest crisis، putting the figure at about 1،200 instead of the earlier 1،400.
Hamas command center
Israeli forces Friday closed in on Gaza City’s main hospital، which they’ve said hides a Hamas command center in tunnels below. According to the Gaza Health Ministry، the death toll in Gaza since the war began now exceeds 11،000. The agency is run by Hamas، which the US and EU have designated a terrorist group.
About 30،000 people left areas in northern Gaza to the south through a “corridor” opened by the Israeli military on Friday، the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said in a statement. There were several explosions along the “corridor” causing deaths and injuries، the agency said، citing initial reports.
Thirty trucks carrying aid for Gaza crossed over from Egypt on Friday، taking the total since Oct. 21 to 861، the agency said. “This is far below the quantities needed to meet the needs of over two million people besieged in Gaza،” OCHA said. The Egyptian border was closed Friday for the evacuation of foreign nationals and dual citizens، and injured people، the agency said.
French President Emmanuel Macron told the BBC there was “no justification” for the bombing of Gaza and a cease-fire would be in the interests of Israel. He also condemned the actions of Hamas، which France considers a terror group، and said he hoped the US and UK would join France’s calls for a cease-fire.
“De facto - today، civilians are bombed - de facto،” the BBC reported him as saying in an interview in Paris. “These babies، these ladies، these old people are bombed and killed. So there is no reason for that and no legitimacy. So we do urge Israel to stop.”
A handful of US colleges، including Columbia University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology، have started to take action against pro-Palestinian protests deemed to be against school rules or hostile to Jewish students.
Columbia University on Friday temporarily suspended two student groups supporting the Palestinian cause that it said repeatedly violated university policy after an unauthorized event proceeded “despite warnings and included threatening rhetoric and intimidation،” the Ivy League school said in a statement.
A joint Arab Islamic meeting
A joint Arab Islamic extraordinary meeting will take place in Riyadh on Saturday and replace two existing summits planned for the same day، according to a statement carried by the state-run Saudi Press Agency.
“The decision came in realization of the leaders of member states of the need for unified efforts to come up with a collective Arab and Islamic position to address the dangerous and unprecedented developments witnessed in Gaza and the Palestinian territories and contain their repercussions.”
US President Joe Biden and Oman Sultan Haitham bin Tariq Al Said emphasized the importance of deterring threats by any actor seeking to expand the current Israel-Hamas conflict and ensuring durable and sustained peace in the Middle East during their call today، the White House says in a statement.
Stepping up pressure on Israel
Israel’s Foreign Ministry revised down its death toll from the Oct. 7 attack to 1،200 from the 1،400 reported earlier، according to spokesman Lior Haiat.
The change came as Israel identified more of the bodies found after the attack and believes some of them belong to Hamas fighters، he told AFP.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken stepped up pressure on Israel to do more to reduce civilian deaths in the assault on Gaza.
“Much more needs to be done to protect civilians and to make sure that humanitarian assistance reaches them،” he told reporters in New Delhi. “Far too many Palestinians have been killed.”
Earlier in the week، a senior US official said the death toll in Gaza may be higher than the figures cited by the Hamas-controlled health ministry there، but didn’t provide a specific estimate.
The number of United Nations workers killed in the month since the war started has now reached 101، the UN agency for Palestinian refugees said Friday. At least 27 staff have been injured.
That marks the highest number of UN aid workers killed in a conflict in the history of the organization.