Famine is said to be imminent in northern Gaza as Israel raids the main hospital again

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NEGATIVE
Eight civilians were killed Monday in “reckless” air strikes by Pakistan’s military in the border regions of Afghanistan, prompting Afghan forces to retaliate against Pakistani military outposts, Taliban officials said.
Pakistan’s Air Force fighter JF-17 fighter jets fly past during the multinational naval exercise ‘AMAN-23’ in the Arabian Sea near Pakistan’s port city of Karachi on February 13, 2023.
Advertising Read moreBorder tensions between the two countries have risen since the Taliban government seized power in 2021, with Islamabad claiming militant groups are carrying out regular attacks from Afghanistan.
Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said Pakistani aircraft “bombed civilian homes” in Khost and Paktika provinces near the border with Pakistan at around 3:00 am (2230 GMT Sunday), adding that all of the dead were women and children.
Afghanistan’s defence ministry said its border forces retaliated in response to the airstrikes, targeting Pakistan’s military points along the disputed border with “heavy weapons”.
“The country’s defense and security forces are ready to respond to any aggressive actions and will defend their territorial integrity at all cost,” spokesman Enayatullah Khwarizmi said on social media platform X.Cross-border skirmishes in the region were reported by both sides into Monday afternoon, the latest in a string of such incidents on the disputed frontier.
The Taliban government “strongly condemns these attacks and calls this reckless action a violation of Afghanistan’s sovereignty”, Mujahid said in his statement.
“Such incidents can have very bad consequences which will be out (of) Pakistan’s control.”
Drones and jetsMalak Noor Khan, a tribal elder in the Sperah district of Khost, said he saw at least four explosives dropped from drones and jets and that multiple homes were destroyed, one with a woman and her children inside.
“When the drone came first, we all, including women and children, left our homes and went into the trees on the mountainside, it was very cold as there was snow on the ground,” he told AFP.
“All those targeted are refugees from Waziristan, they are not militants, they are not terrorists,” he said.
Large numbers of civilians fled Waziristan in 2014 when the Pakistani military launched an operation to wipe out militant bases in the tribal areas, many crossing over the border into Afghanistan.
A local government official in Pakistan’s border regions, who asked not to be named, told AFP residents had been instructed to evacuate the area amid the skirmishes.
“Announcements have been made in mosques to empty some areas in Kurram and North Waziristan as clashes between Pakistan and Afghanistan continue on and off at the border,” he added.
Increasing militancyAreas along the border have long been a stronghold for militant groups such as Pakistan’s home-grown Taliban group Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), which operates across the porous frontier with Afghanistan.
Analysts say militants in the former tribal areas have become emboldened since the Taliban’s return to power, with TTP waging a growing campaign against security officials.
The Taliban deny harbouring Pakistani militants.
In 2022, Taliban authorities said Pakistani military helicopters carried out strikes along the Afghan side of the border that killed at least 47 people, including 20 children.
Monday’s strikes came after seven Pakistani troops were killed in an attack by an armed group inside Pakistan’s territory on Saturday, for which the country’s President Asif Ali Zardari vowed retaliation.
“Pakistan has decided that whoever will enter our borders, homes or country and commit terror, we will respond to them strongly, regardless of who it is or from which country,” he said while attending the funeral prayers of the soldiers, who included a lieutenant colonel.
A Pakistani military statement said security forces also carried out an operation overnight Sunday in North Waziristan district, which borders Khost and Paktika, killing eight militants accused of being in involved in Saturday’s attack.
The TTP issued an official statement denying that Monday’s strikes targeted the group, saying their members operate from within Pakistan.
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RAFAH, Gaza Strip (AP) — A report released on Monday warned that escalation of the conflict could drive half of Gaza’s population to the verge of starvation, citing the impending famine in northern Gaza, where 70% of people are suffering from catastrophic hunger.

Even its closest allies are putting increasing pressure on Israel to open more land crossings and expedite the entry of aid into the Gaza Strip. This is in response to the report released by the international community’s authority on determining the severity of hunger crises. Relief organizations lament that supplies made by the US and other nations via air and sea are too little and too slowly moving.

Since starvation is a weapon of war, the top diplomat for the European Union declared that the upcoming famine was “entirely manmade.”. “.

The largest hospital in the Gaza Strip was the target of another raid by Israeli forces early on Monday. They claimed that Hamas militants had reconvened there and were firing on them from within the Shifa Hospital compound.

Tens of thousands of people have reportedly sought refuge at the hospital, where clashes have persisted throughout the day, according to Palestinian officials.

In addition to killing one of its own soldiers, the Israeli military claimed that it had killed 20 Hamas militants; however, it was not possible to verify the identity of the deceased as militants. Israel claimed that a senior police officer in Gaza, led by Hamas, was hiding in a hospital when he was among those slain. According to Gaza officials, the commander was organizing aid convoy protection.

The army claimed that Hamas kept a sophisticated command center both inside and beneath Shifa Hospital, and it conducted its most recent raid there in November. The military claimed to have discovered weapons inside the hospital and to have unearthed a tunnel leading to several subterranean chambers. The army was accused by critics of carelessly putting civilian lives in danger, but the evidence did not support the earlier claims.

A RAFAH offensive might drive half of Gaza into starvation.

The newest data on hunger in Gaza came from the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification, or IPC, an endeavor that was started in 2004 during the Somali famine and currently involves over a dozen U.S. N. agencies, humanitarian organizations, governments, and other entities to assess the level of food insecurity.

According to the report, almost 677,000 people in Gaza, or roughly one-third of the country’s 2 million inhabitants, suffer from the worst kind of catastrophic hunger, with almost everyone else finding it difficult to obtain enough food. Accordingly, they are at serious risk of acute malnutrition and severe food shortages. About 210,000 people in the north are included in the figure.

It stated that an outright famine is predicted to strike the north at any point between now and May. When 20% of households experience acute malnutrition, 30% of children suffer from it, and at least two adults or four children per 10,000 people perish every day, an area is deemed to be experiencing famine.

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The first requirement has been met, and it is “highly likely” that the second has as well, according to the report. According to it, there will soon be a sharp increase in the death rate, approaching famine levels.

The study issued a warning that over a million people, or half of Gaza’s population, could go hungry as a result of the fighting if Israel expands its offensive to the crowded southern city of Rafah, as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has promised to do. Famine could also result in the south if the fighting continues.

Acting World Food Program country director for the Palestinian territories Matthew Hollingworth stated, “This is the largest number of people facing imminent famine in the world today, and it has only taken five months to occur.”.

A crane is seen in this image, which was submitted by World Central Kitchen, unloading food packages over a temporary port on the Gaza Strip on Saturday, March 16, 2024. A barge pulled by a ship from Cyprus has carried vital supplies to Gaza on behalf of the Spanish NGO Open Arms. Through AP, World Central Kitchen.

John McGoldrick, the U.S. N. The Palestinian territories’ humanitarian coordinator demanded that “all roads” be opened to allow aid to reach Gaza’s north and center. According to the WFP report, relief delivered via airdrop is “negligible” in comparison to that carried on trucks.

The invasion started with the northern part of Gaza, including Gaza City, and destroyed entire neighborhoods. Now that the humanitarian crisis in Gaza has reached its peak, many of its citizens are forced to eat animal feed. According to the Health Ministry, malnutrition and dehydration have claimed the lives of at least 27 people in the north, the majority of whom were children.

Shimon Freeman, a spokesman for the Israeli military unit that handles Palestinian matters, stated that Israel “places no limit on the amount of aid that can enter the Gaza Strip” and urged nations to provide aid. Israel has alleged that the U. Not N. bodies of neglecting to provide aid promptly. Aid organizations claim that the breakdown of law and order, hostilities, and the difficulty of coordinating with the military make distribution impossible in a large portion of Gaza.

World famine expert Alex de Waal, executive director of the World Peace Foundation at Tufts University, stated that Israel has been given “ample warning” that dire consequences would follow if it kept destroying vital infrastructure, uprooting large populations, and impeding relief efforts.

He declared, “It is culpable for these deaths in failing to change course.”.

Israel must make more aid available, according to EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell.

“Israel must take the initiative. It’s not a logistical issue. It’s not because the UN hasn’t offered enough assistance, he clarified. “Tractors have stopped. While the land crossings are closed in an artificial manner, people are dying. “.

“WE’RE CAPTURED IN HERE.”.

Before daybreak, Israeli forces surrounded the Shifa Hospital complex with the help of artillery and tanks, and soldiers broke into several buildings.

After taking refuge in the facility for months, Abdel-Hady Sayed declared, “We’re trapped inside.”. They shoot at any moving object. “.

That night, he reported that he saw three bodies outside the gates and that tanks were still in the hospital yard. “The deceased cannot be retrieved,” he uttered.

According to Gaza’s Health Ministry, the hospital is providing shelter to about 30,000 people, including patients, medical personnel, and those who have fled their homes in search of safety. Approximately 80% of Gaza’s population has been displaced by the conflict.

On Sunday, March 17, 2024, Palestinians race to gather the humanitarian aid that has been airdropped into Gaza City, Gaza Strip. (AP Photo by Mohamed Hajjar).

Back Adm. Chief Israeli military spokesman Daniel Hagari claimed that senior Hamas militants had regrouped inside the hospital and were leading attacks from there.

Faiq Mabhouh, a senior officer in the Gaza police—a body under the control of Hamas in Gaza but separate from the militant group’s armed fighting wing—was among those killed in the raid. According to the Israeli military, he was armed and hiding in Shifa, and there were weapons in a room next door.

Mabhouh was in charge of overseeing the distribution of aid in the north and liaising between relief organizations and the local tribes, according to the Gaza government. Aid organizations claim that one reason for the breakdown of public order and the ensuing Palestinian desperation is that Israeli attacks on police have resulted in an overabundance of aid trucks on the road.

Hagari declared that in addition to providing safe passage for civilians wishing to depart, patients and medical personnel could stay in the medical facility.

Since the beginning of the war, the Israeli military has raided multiple hospitals, claiming that Hamas uses these and other non-military facilities as a shield for its fighters.

At least 31,726 Palestinians have died as a result of Israel’s offensive, according to information released on Monday by the Gaza Health Ministry. The ministry claims that two-thirds of the dead are women and children, but it does not distinguish between combatants and civilians in its tally.

About 1,200 people were killed by Palestinian militants in Hamas in October. 7 attack that started the war in southern Israel and kidnapped an additional 250 people. About a hundred prisoners, plus the bodies of another thirty, are thought to be held by Hamas; the majority of the others were set free during a cease-fire last year.

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