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Qatar and France ship medication for hostages in Gaza as warfare rages on and regional tensions spike

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RAFAH, Gaza Strip — A cargo of drugs for dozens of hostages held by Hamas was en path to Gaza on Wednesday after France and Qatar mediated the primary settlement between Israel and the militant group since a weeklong cease-fire broke down in November.

The medicines will likely be shipped by Egypt and delivered to the Worldwide Committee of the Pink Cross, which is able to then hand them over to Hamas. Qatar mentioned the deal additionally consists of the supply of further medication and humanitarian help to Palestinians within the besieged coastal enclave.

The deal got here greater than 100 days right into a battle that reveals no signal of ending and which has sparked tensions throughout the Center East, with a dizzying array of strikes and counterstrikes in latest days from northern Iraq to the Pink Sea and from southern Lebanon to Pakistan.

In Gaza, Palestinian militants are nonetheless placing up resistance throughout the slender coastal strip within the face of one of many deadliest navy campaigns in latest historical past. Some 85% of the territory’s inhabitants of two.3 million folks have fled their properties and the U.N. says 1 / 4 of the inhabitants is ravenous.

Israel has vowed to dismantle Hamas’ navy and governing skills to make sure that it may well by no means repeat the Oct. 7 assault that triggered the warfare. Militants burst by Israel’s border defenses and stormed by a number of communities, killing some 1,200 folks, principally civilians, and capturing round 250.

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Israel has additionally vowed to return the greater than 100 hostages nonetheless held inside Gaza after Hamas launched many of the relaxation in November in alternate for Palestinians imprisoned in Israel. Israel says solely navy strain will convey in regards to the launch of extra captives, however because the combating grinds on they’re at elevated danger of being killed in Israeli strikes or throughout rescue operations.

Hamas has mentioned it is not going to launch any extra hostages till there’s a everlasting cease-fire, one thing Israel and the U.S., its high ally, have dominated out.

In simply the previous couple of days, a U.S.-led coalition has carried out strikes towards Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen, Iran has struck what it described as an Israeli spy headquarters in northern Iraq and militant bases in Pakistan and Syria, and Israel and Lebanon’s Hezbollah have escalated the depth of their combating throughout the border.

Iran-backed militant teams throughout the area say they’re putting U.S. and Israeli targets to strain them to halt the Gaza offensive. Iran itself has inspired the assaults whereas avoiding direct involvement, however seemed to be flexing its muscle mass with the strikes in Syria and Pakistan.

The Houthis have vowed to proceed attacking worldwide transport within the Pink Sea in what they are saying is a blockade of Israel, with repercussions for world commerce.

Every occasion seems to be looking for some type of deterrence towards its adversaries, however the longer the warfare in Gaza lasts, the extra probably it’s that considered one of them goes a step too far, probably triggering one other warfare.

The largest danger is in Lebanon, the place Israel has vowed to halt Hezbollah assaults in order that tens of 1000’s of Israelis can return to their properties in communities evacuated in October. Hezbollah hopes to take the strain off Gaza by tying down Israeli troops within the north.

Tensions are additionally hovering within the occupied West Financial institution, the place Israeli forces have performed near-daily arrest raids that usually set off shootouts with Palestinian militants. Israel mentioned Wednesday that an airstrike within the city Balata refugee camp within the northern West Financial institution killed a senior militant implicated in latest assaults on Israelis. Over 350 Palestinians have been killed within the West Financial institution since Oct. 7.

Israel mentioned firstly of the yr that it had largely dismantled Hamas in northern Gaza and would reduce operations there, specializing in dense city areas within the heart and south of the territory. However there was little obvious letup in strikes, with scores of Palestinians killed day by day.

Gaza’s Well being Ministry says 24,285 Palestinians have been killed for the reason that begin of the warfare. The ministry doesn’t differentiate between civilian and combatant deaths however says round two-thirds of these killed have been girls and kids. Over 60,000 folks have been wounded, and fewer than half of Gaza’s hospitals are even partially functioning.

Israel blames the excessive civilian loss of life toll on Hamas as a result of it fights in dense residential areas. Israel says its forces have killed roughly 9,000 militants, with out offering proof, and that 190 of its personal troopers have been killed within the Gaza offensive.

Palestinian militants are nonetheless combating in all components of the territory, and Israel seems no nearer to liberating the scores of hostages nonetheless held by Hamas. Two hostages’ deaths have been confirmed on Tuesday after Hamas mentioned they have been killed in Israeli airstrikes.

France mentioned it took months to arrange the cargo of the medicines. Qatar, which has lengthy served as a mediator with Hamas, helped dealer the deal, which is able to present three months’ value of medicine for power diseases for 45 of the hostages in addition to different medication and nutritional vitamins.

A number of aged males are among the many remaining hostages held by Hamas after most ladies and kids have been launched in November.

Qatar mentioned the deal consists of the supply of further humanitarian help to Gaza, with out elaborating.

Senior U.N. officers have warned that Gaza faces widespread famine and illness if extra help just isn’t allowed in.

Israel fully sealed off Gaza after Hamas’ Oct. 7 assault and solely relented underneath U.S. strain. It says there are actually no limits on the entry of humanitarian help and that U.N. businesses may scale back the delays by offering extra employees and vans.

However U.N. officers say help supply is hobbled by the opening of too few border crossings, a sluggish vetting course of, and persevering with combating all through the territory — all of which is essentially underneath Israel’s management.


Magdy reported from Cairo.


Discover extra of AP’s protection at https://apnews.com/hub/israel-hamas-war

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