Gaza health ministry says war deaths near 30,000 as famine looms | World News


Children have died from malnutrition in Gaza The hospital, the Hamas-ruled territory's health ministry, said the total number of Palestinians killed in the nearly five-month war is nearing 30,000.
While mediators say a ceasefire agreement between Israel and Hamas could be days away, aid agencies have warned of dire humanitarian conditions and the imminent threat Draught North of Gaza.
Health Ministry spokesman Ashraf al-Qudra said two children died of “dehydration and malnutrition” in Gaza City's al-Shifa hospital, calling for “immediate action” from international institutions to prevent more such deaths. .
“The number of child deaths from famine has risen to six,” he said, adding that at least five of them were martyred in the north of the besieged area in recent days. was unable to independently confirm the deaths.
Citing deteriorating conditions in Gaza, USAID head Samantha Power said Israel needed to open more crossings to “dramatically increase much-needed humanitarian assistance”.
“This is a matter of life and death,” Power said in a video posted on social media platform X.
Mediators from Egypt, Qatar and the United States are seeking a six-week pause in the war that began after Hamas attacked Israel on October 7, which in response vowed to eliminate the Palestinian Islamist group that rules Gaza. Was.
Negotiators hope a ceasefire could begin by the start of the holy Muslim month of Ramadan, which begins on March 10 or 11, depending on the lunar calendar.
The proposals reportedly include the release of some Israeli hostages held in Gaza in exchange for several hundred Palestinian detainees held by Israel.
Shortly after the full withdrawal that Hamas has called for, a source within the group said that under the agreement Israeli forces could leave “cities and populated areas”, allowing the return of some displaced Palestinians and humanitarian relief. Permission may be granted.
US President Joe Biden, along with his Secretary of State Antony Blinken, said, “We are pressing everyone to get this deal across the finish line.”
famine 'imminent'
The important southern Gaza city of Rafah is the main entry point for aided border crossings from neighboring Egypt.
But the World Food Program said no humanitarian group has been able to deliver aid to the north for more than a month, and accused Israel of blocking access.
Neighboring Jordan has coordinated efforts to drop air supplies on southern Gaza.
“If nothing changes, famine is imminent in northern Gaza,” said Carl Skau, deputy executive director of the World Food Programme.
Israeli officials have denied blocking supplies, and the military said Wednesday that “50 trucks carrying humanitarian aid” had arrived in northern Gaza in recent days.
The war was triggered by an unprecedented Hamas attack on southern Israel, which resulted in the deaths of about 1,160 people, mostly civilians, according to an AFP tally of official Israeli figures.
According to Israel, the militants took about 250 people hostage, 130 of whom are still in Gaza, 31 of whom are presumed dead.
In less than five months, Israel's retaliatory military campaign in Gaza has killed at least 29,954 people, mostly women and children, according to the Hamas-run health ministry.
Hundreds of thousands of Gazans have been displaced, with approximately 1.5 million now gathered in Rafah.
In a sign of growing frustration among Gazans over living conditions, a rare protest was held by residents on Wednesday over rising prices of goods.
“Everyone is suffering inside these tents,” said Amal Zagbar, who was displaced and is taking shelter in a makeshift camp.
“We are slowly dying.”
Israel has repeatedly threatened a ground attack on Rafah, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu saying that a ceasefire would only delay it, as such an operation was needed for a “complete victory” over Hamas.
Egypt – which borders Rafah – says an attack on the crowded city would have “catastrophic consequences”.
No one 'left behind'
While Israel's plans for Gaza after the war do not include any mention of the Palestinian Authority, its top ally the United States and other powers have called for a revived PA to take charge of the territory, which would replace the occupied West Bank. Controls.
Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki said a “technocratic” government without Gaza's ruler Hamas was needed to “stop this crazy war” and facilitate relief efforts and reconstruction.
His government, based in the West Bank, resigned this week, with Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayyeh citing the need for change after the war ends.
A government that includes Hamas – a longtime rival of President Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah party, which controls the PA – would be “boycotted by many countries,” Maliki told a news conference in Geneva.
On Thursday, Palestinian factions including Hamas and Fatah were expected to arrive in Moscow for a meeting at the invitation of Russia.
“The central goal is how to unify the Palestinian ranks,” Mustafa Barghouti of the Palestinian National Initiative – a civilian political party – told Qatar state TV from Moscow.
The pressure on Netanyahu to bring the hostages home has increased in Israel.
Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Galant stressed that the government was “making every possible effort”.
A group of 150 Israelis began a four-day march from Reim, near the Gaza border, to Jerusalem, calling on the government to reach an agreement.
“Nobody should be left behind,” said Ronen Neutra, father of detainee Omar Neutra, an Israeli soldier who is also a U.S. citizen.

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