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Latest Updates: Israel and Hamas Conflict

The intensifying conflict between Israel and the militant group Hamas has plunged Gaza into a dire humanitarian crisis, leaving its 2.3 million residents without access to necessities like power and pushing critical services such as healthcare and water to collapse. ‘

The fuel reserves for hospital generators are dangerously low, exacerbating the already precarious situation.

U.S. officials have warned that the hostilities between Israel and Hamas could escalate further as the situation worsens. American warships have been dispatched to the region, coinciding with growing clashes on Israel’s northern border with Lebanon.

Notable developments include a significant missile attack launched by the armed wing of Hamas on Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, intensifying the conflict. 

The White House has urged the opening of the Egypt-Gaza border for a brief period, hoping to facilitate the safe departure of Gaza residents before a potential Israeli ground offensive. Unfortunately, the border crossing remains closed at this time.

Russia has also become actively involved, with President Vladimir Putin engaging in discussions with Iran, Egypt, Syria, and the Palestinian Authority leaders. 

They jointly expressed strong disapproval of any form of violence against civilians. There are increasing concerns about the conflict potentially evolving into a regional war, adding to the complexity of the situation.

Iran’s stance on the issue is notable, as the country prioritizes supporting the Palestinian cause. 

However, it’s important to note that Palestinian groups maintain a degree of autonomy in their decision-making. President Ebrahim Raisi communicated this to his Russian counterpart.

The impending Israeli ground offensive and ongoing airstrikes raise grave concerns about the unprecedented suffering in the narrow, impoverished Gaza Strip. 

Heartbreaking stories have emerged, such as that of 4-year-old Fulla Al-Laham, who tragically lost her entire family in an airstrike. 

Additionally, Israeli military forensic teams have uncovered deeply disturbing findings in the bodies of victims of Hamas attacks, including signs of torture, rape, and other atrocities.

On the humanitarian front, Gaza faces severe shortages of water and electricity. Israel has been compelled to evacuate families from areas in close proximity to the Gaza Strip, with half of the nation’s hotel rooms now serving as accommodations for these displaced individuals. 

The representative of Pope Francis in the Holy Land even offered to exchange himself for Israeli children held hostage by Hamas in Gaza. Meanwhile, the Israeli and Palestinian tourism industries are reeling from canceled tours and empty hotels. 

The situation is further complicated by Gaza health officials having to store the bodies of Palestinians killed by Israeli airstrikes in ice-cream freezer trucks due to transportation risks and limited cemetery space.

Internationally, the Chinese and Russian foreign ministers have discussed the Israel-Hamas conflict in Beijing. Additionally, U.S. and Israeli officials are considering the possibility of a visit to Israel by U.S. President Joe Biden. 

Despite international outrage over the group’s unprovoked and deadly attack on Israel, Malaysia has defied Western pressure to condemn Hamas. 

Egypt has reported a lack of Israeli cooperation in delivering aid to Gaza and evacuating foreign passport holders, stranding hundreds of tonnes of supplies. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken has extended his Middle East shuttle diplomacy by a day. 

While a group of U.S. senators plans to travel to the Middle East to encourage talks on normalizing relations between Israel and Saudi Arabia.