Gaza’s humanitarian crisis deepened Thursday as Israeli jets continued to pound the densely populated enclave in response to Hamas’ attacks on the sixth day of the conflict.
The Palestinian Ministry of Health reported that at least 1,354 people have been killed in Israeli strikes on Gaza since Saturday. Israel has reported at least 1,200 people were killed in Hamas’ attacks over the weekend. Hamas is also holding as many as 150 people hostage in Gaza, according to Israeli authorities.
Gaza hospitals close to collapse: The health infrastructure in Gaza is close to breaking point, Dr. Ashraf Al-Qudra, a spokesperson for the Palestinian Ministry of Health said Thursday. “Even after expansion, all beds are occupied, leaving no room for new patients in critical condition,” Al-Qudra said. Earlier Thursday the International Committee of the Red Cross said hospitals in Gaza “risk turning into morgues” as they lose power amid escalating violence and following Israel’s siege of the enclave.
Hamas warned that it would start executing hostages if Israel targeted people in Gaza without warning.
Israel’s energy minister Israel Katz said Gaza will not be provided with any electricity, water or fuel until the hostages are returned home.
“No electrical switch will be turned on, no water hydrant will be opened, and no fuel truck will enter until the Israeli abductees are returned home. Humanitarian for humanitarian. And no one will preach us morals,” Katz said Thursday.
In other news, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken is in Tel Aviv to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. In a joint news conference, Netanyahu thanked the United States for its “incredible support for Israel” during his country’s “war against the barbarians of Hamas.” Netanyahu repeatedly compared Hamas to ISIS: “Just as ISIS was crushed, so too will Hamas be crushed.”
Blinken confirmed that at least 25 American citizens were killed last weekend’s attacks. During his visit to the country, Blinken is also scheduled to meet with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, leader of the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank.