Live updates | Hospitals in Gaza are devastated after 5 months of Israel's war against Hamas

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Israeli security forces examine the site hit by a rocket fired from Lebanon, in Safed, northern Israel, Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2024. Israeli media reported 1 killed and eight wounded in the rocket attack. The town, which is around 12 kilometers (7 miles) from the border is farther south than most of the daily border skirmishes with Lebanon's Hezbollah militant group. (AP Photo/Gil Eliyahu)

The war between Israel and Hamas, now in its fifth month, has devastated hospitals in the Gaza Strip, with less than half of them only partially functioning as Israel's daily bombardments kill and wound scores of people. Israel accuses the militants of using hospitals and other civilian buildings as cover.

Palestinians began evacuating the main hospital in the southern Gaza town of Khan Younis, according to videos shared by medics on Wednesday. The Israeli military said it had opened a secure route to allow civilians to leave the hospital, while medics and patients could remain inside.

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The number of Palestinians killed during the war in Gaza has surpassed 28,000 people, according to the Health Ministry in Gaza. A quarter of Gaza’s residents are starving.

The United States, which has provided crucial military and diplomatic support to Israel, has been working with Qatar and Egypt to try and broker a cease-fire and the return of the remaining 130 Israeli hostages held by Hamas in Gaza, around a fourth of whom are believed to be dead.

However, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu blamed Hamas for making unrealistic demands during cease-fire negotiations in Cairo. His remarks late Wednesday came hours after local media reported Netanyahu ordered an Israeli delegation not to return to the talks.

The war began with Hamas’ assault into Israel on Oct. 7, in which militants killed about 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and abducted around 250.


— A look at the arsenals of Israel and Lebanon’s Hezbollah militia as cross-border strikes escalate

— Airstrike during Israeli hostage rescue wipes out an entire Palestinian family in a Gaza border town

Leaders of Turkey and Egypt unite in efforts to stop Israel’s looming offensive in Gaza’s Rafah

— Families of Israeli hostages visit international court to urge the arrest of Hamas leaders

Blasts hit a natural gas pipeline in Iran and an official says it was an act of sabotage

— Find more of AP’s coverage at

Here's the latest:


CANBERRA, Australia — Canada, Australia and New Zealand are warning Israel that a ground offensive in the Gaza border city of Rafah would be catastrophic.

“We are gravely concerned by indications that Israel is planning a ground offensive into Rafah. A military operation into Rafah would be catastrophic,” the prime ministers of the three nations said in a joint statement on Thursday.

With 1.5 million Palestinians taking refuge in the area where there was an already dire humanitarian situation, the impacts on Palestinian civilians from an expanded military operation would be devastating, they said.

“There is growing international consensus. Israel must listen to its friends and it must listen to the international community,” the statement said.


UNITED NATIONS — The 22 Arab countries at the United Nations are urging the U.N. Security Council to demand an immediate cease-fire in Gaza and unhindered humanitarian assistance, and to prevent any transfer of Palestinians out of the territory.

The Arab Group chair this month, Tunisia’s U.N. Ambassador Tarek Ladeb, told U.N. reporters Wednesday that some 1.5 million Palestinians who sought safety in Gaza’s southern city of Rafah face a “catastrophic scenario” if Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu goes ahead with a potential evacuation of civilians and military offensive in the area bordering Egypt.

Algeria, the Arab representative on the Security Council, circulated a draft resolution about two weeks ago demanding an immediate humanitarian cease-fire and unhindered humanitarian access, as well as rejecting the forced displacement of Palestinian civilians, which has been the subject of intense discussions.

U.S. Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield said last week that the resolution could jeopardize “sensitive negotiations” aimed at achieving a pause in the Israel-Hamas war and release of some hostages taken during Hamas’ surprise Oct. 7 attack in southern Israel.

Riyad Mansour, the Palestinian U.N. ambassador, said Wednesday that there is “massive support” for the resolution and Arab diplomats have had “very frank discussions” with the U.S. ambassador, trying to get American support.

“We believe that it is high time now for the Security Council to decide on a humanitarian ceasefire resolution after 131 days,” he said. “The space is narrowing for those who are continuing to ask for more time.”

Some Arab countries were pushing for a vote on the Algerian draft this week, but several Arab and council diplomats said a vote is now likely early next week, giving more time for negotiations with the U.S. to avoid a veto. The diplomats spoke on condition of anonymity because the discussions have been private.


Associated Press writer Edith M. Lederer contributed.


RAMALLAH, West Bank — The leader of the Palestinian Authority, which administers parts of the Israeli-occupied West Bank, has called on his political rivals in Hamas to quickly complete a cease-fire deal with Israel.

International mediators have been trying to broker a deal that would require Hamas to release hostages it is holding captive in Gaza in exchange for a pause in fighting and the release of Palestinian prisoners held by Israel. The sides, however, have not been able to agree on the terms of the deal.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who is widely unpopular among Palestinians even in the West Bank, on Wednesday urged Hamas to finish a cease-fire agreement in order to “spare the Palestinian people the scourge of another catastrophe with ominous consequences, no less dangerous than the Nakba of 1948.”

The “Nakba,” or catastrophe in Arabic, refers to the mass displacement of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians who were forced or fled their homes during the war surrounding Israel’s creation in 1948.

Some Israeli leaders have called for the “voluntary transfer” of large numbers of Palestinians from Gaza, raising fears among Palestinians and members of the international community that this could lead to mass expulsions. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said the comments do not reflect official policy.

Hamas ousted the internationally recognized Palestinian Authority from Gaza 2007. Abbas seeks to restore PA rule over Gaza after the war, but only as part of a broader plan that includes the establishment of an independent Palestinian state.

Abbas accused Israel of “waging an open war on the Gaza Strip” and urged against placing obstacles to a deal. “Things are no longer tolerable, and it is time for everyone to bear responsibility.”


JERUSALEM — The Israeli military is accusing a severely wounded journalist for the Qatar-funded broadcaster Al Jazeera of being a Hamas commander, without providing evidence.

Al Jazeera said Tuesday that two of its journalists, cameraman Ahmad Matar and reporter Ismail Abu Omar, were wounded in an Israeli strike and that Abu Omar had his right foot amputated as a result.

The Israeli military claimed on Wednesday that Abu Omar is a deputy company commander in Hamas’ eastern battalion in the southern city of Khan Younis. It sent a screengrab from a video Abu Omar allegedly took of himself in southern Israel on Oct. 7, as Hamas was staging its deadly assault.

Several journalists crossed into Israel along with Hamas during the attack and some reported live as the fighting was taking place.

Al Jazeera did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment late Wednesday.

Israel has previously accused other journalists of having ties to Hamas.

As of Wednesday, the war has seen at least 85 journalists and media workers killed, according to the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists. They put the number at 78 Palestinians, four Israelis and three Lebanese.


PARIS — French President Emmanuel Macron spoke by phone with Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu on Wednesday, during which Macron expressed France’s “firm opposition to an Israeli offensive in Rafah.”

The city on Gaza's southern border with Egypt is sheltering some 1.4 million displaced people — over half the Gaza Strip's population — who are crammed into tent camps and overflowing apartments and shelters.

According to a statement from the president's office, Macron told Netanyahu that an offensive into Rafah could “only lead to a humanitarian disaster of a new magnitude,” with any forced displacement of a population potentially being a violation of international humanitarian law and increasing the risk of a regional escalation.

He also stressed the urgency of delivering humanitarian aid to Gaza, including opening the Israeli port of Ashdod and establishing a direct land route from Jordan.

However, Macron reiterated French support for Israel’s security and Paris' solidarity with the Israeli people following the “terrorist attack” on Oct. 7.

Macron said the release of all the Israeli hostages, including three French nationals, was a priority for his government.


JERUSALEM — The Israeli military confirmed that a female soldier was killed in a rocket attack from Lebanon on Wednesday that wounded several others in the town of Safed.

Staff Sgt. Omer Sarah Benjo was killed by the attack from Lebanon that struck a military base in northern Israel, the army said.

Israel and Lebanon’s Hezbollah militant group, which supports Hamas, have traded fire along the border nearly every day since the start of the war in Gaza, raising the risk of a wider conflict. Hezbollah did not immediately claim responsibility for the rocket attack.

Israel carried out airstrikes in southern Lebanon in response, killing four people, including a Syrian woman and her two Lebanese children, and wounding at least nine, Lebanese security officials and local media said.

The UN children’s agency, UNICEF, said in a statement that “two innocent children lost their lives due to an air strike attack” in Lebanon on Wednesday, adding, “We urgently call for the protection of children in times of war and at all times.”


SOFIA, Bulgaria — British Foreign Secretary David Cameron says the U.K. will only restore funding to the United Nations’ agency for Palestinian refugees if there is an “absolute guarantee” it won’t employ staff willing to attack Israel.

The U.K. joined the U.S. and several other donor nations countries in suspending funding to UNRWA after Israel alleged a dozen of its employees took part in Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack, which ignited the current war in Gaza. The U.N. is investigating the claims.

During a visit to Bulgaria, Cameron said that Britain was seeking “an absolute guarantee that this can’t happen again.”

He said Britain had paused its funding while “reviews are taking place.”

“We need them to take place quickly, because many UNRWA staff do an absolutely vital job inside Gaza, where they’re the only network for distributing aid to make sure that we get aid to people that need it very, very badly,” he said.


JERUSALEM — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says Hamas has not offered any new proposal during talks in Cairo meant to free Israeli hostages and bring about a cease-fire.

Netanyahu’s remarks in a statement Wednesday came after local media reported that the Israeli leader had told an Israeli delegation not to return to the talks.

In the statement, Netanyahu said Israel “wouldn’t surrender to Hamas’ delusional demands,” and said a change in Hamas’ positions would allow the talks to move forward.

Netanyahu has vowed to continue the war until “total victory” over Hamas and the return of all the roughly 100 hostages. Hamas has said it will not release all the captives until Israel ends its offensive, withdraws from Gaza and releases a large number of Palestinian prisoners, including top militants. Netanyahu has rejected those demands.


NICOSIA, Cyprus — The Palestinian foreign minister said Wednesday efforts were underway to prevent an “imminent” Israeli attack on the city of Rafah in southern Gaza Strip and at the same time accused Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of seeking to extend the war for his political benefit.

The West Bank diplomat, Riyad al-Maliki, urged the international community to “stand firm” and “act responsibly” to end the war. He also said there's “collective responsibility” to prevent the war from either dragging on or expanding to the West Bank or neighboring states like Lebanon.

“We are looking at ways how to prevent that attack on Rafah,” Al-Maliki said after talks with his Cypriot counterpart Constantinos Kombos. “Netanyahu is ... determined that he wants to continue the war for his personal career."

Al-Maliki also said the Palestinian Authority government in the West Bank is responsible for the Palestinian "people both in the West Bank and Gaza.”

Kombos said Cyprus is working closely with the PA to increase humanitarian aid reaching Gaza.

The European Union island nation is also pushing to set up a maritime aid corridor to Gaza, some 250 kilometers (156 miles) miles) away so that more aid could flow to Gaza in a constant stream.


BEIRUT — Israel carried out airstrikes on southern Lebanon on Wednesday after a rocket slammed into a northern Israeli town earlier in the day. Casualties were reported on both sides of the border.

Four people were killed in Lebanon, including a Syrian woman and her two Lebanese children in the village of Souaneh, and at least nine were wounded, Lebanese security officials and local media said. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity in line with regulations.

Hezbollah’s Al-Manar TV reported that another airstrike on the village of Adchit killed one person and wounded nine. It was not immediately clear if the dead person was a civilian or a Hezbollah fighter.

Earlier Wednesday, a projectile hit a home in Israel’s northern town of Safed, wounding at least eight people. Israeli media reported that a woman was killed in that attack, but the military did not immediately confirm the reports. Hezbollah did not claim the attack on Safed.

Israel and Lebanon’s Hezbollah militant group, which supports Gaza's militant Hamas rulers, have traded fire along the border nearly every day since the Israel-Hamas war broke out on Oct. 7.

—By Bassem Mroue


MADRID — Ireland and Spain have sent a letter to European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen expressing deep concern about the deteriorating situation in Gaza and urging the body to “undertake an urgent review” of whether Israel is complying with its obligations regarding human rights in the area.

The letter, signed by Ireland’s premier, Leo Varadkar, and Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez, said that if the Commission deems Israel is in breach of the EU-Israel Association Agreement, “which makes respect for human rights and democratic principles an essential element of the relationship,” it should propose “appropriate measures” to the European Council to consider.

The letter underlines condemnation of Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack on Israel and Israel’s right to defend itself but highlights surging death toll and devastation in Gaza. It said that Israel must respect international human rights.

The two leaders said they shared the concerns of the U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres “about the appalling human suffering, physical destruction and collective trauma of civilians, and the risks to them given his view that nowhere in Gaza is safe.”


JERUSALEM — The Israeli military says a rocket attack on Wednesday wounded eight people in the northern town of Safed, not far from the border with Lebanon. Israeli media reported that a woman was killed in the attack, but the military did not immediately confirm the reports.

The town, around 12 kilometers (7 miles) from the border is farther south than most of the daily border skirmishes with Lebanon’s Hezbollah militant group.

The Israeli army said there were approximately 10 launches towards northern Israel on Wednesday and that a nearby military base was targeted. One of the rockets hit a home in Safed, causing the casualties, while another two were intercepted.

There was no immediate comment from Hezbollah or Palestinian armed groups in Lebanon, which have also fired rockets into northern Israel.

Last month, Hezbollah said it launched a drone strike at the army’s northern headquarters. Israel’s military acknowledged at the time that one of its bases was targeted but said there were no injuries or damage.

The increasing cross-border attacks have led to fears of a wider conflict linked to the ongoing war in Gaza. Hezbollah says that by keeping Israel’s northern front active, it is helping to reduce pressure on Palestinian Hamas in Gaza. Nearly 200 Hezbollah fighters and more than 20 civilians have been killed on the Lebanese side since Oct. 7.

In Israel, 19 people have been killed by rocket attacks from Lebanon, including 10 civilians. More than 180 Israelis have been wounded, including a woman and her son who were critically wounded on Tuesday in a rocket attack in the northern city of Kiryat Shmona.

Tens of thousands of people have fled their homes on both sides of the border.


JERUSALEM — The Israeli military has released a video of what it claims is Hamas leader Yehya Sinwar walking through tunnels underneath Gaza's second-largest city with his family.

The Israeli military says the video was taken under Khan Younis days after Hamas’ Oct. 7 attacks in southern Israel.

In the video, a man identified as Sinwar is seen from the back, with his wife and three children walking ahead of him. He is wearing sandals and carrying a bag. His daughter clutches a doll as the family, led by what the army claims is Sinwar’s brother, makes their way through the tunnels.

The face of the man identified as Sinwar is not visible and the claims could not be independently verified.

The army also released video of a tunnel compound where it claimed Sinwar was recently hiding with his family. The compound had a bathroom and kitchen with stockpiles of food, including bags marked with logos of the U.N. agency that delivers most aid to people in Gaza. Israel has long accused UNRWA of tolerating or collaborating with Hamas — a charge the agency denies.

Another room had a safe with plastic storage bags filled with shekels and dollars. The army did not provide information to support its claim that Sinwar had spent time in that tunnel compound.

Sinwar is Hamas’ top leader inside the Palestinian territory. Israeli officials have vowed to kill him and crush the militant group that has ruled Gaza since 2007.

Israeli military spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari said Tuesday evening that the army was combing through intelligence files seized during operations in the tunnels. He said the army had multiple videos of Sinwar.

“While the people of Gaza are suffering above ground, Sinwar is hiding in tunnels and the ground underneath them, running like the coward that he is,” said Hagari.

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