Jerusalem, Undefined – AFP
The World Health Organization said it had led an assessment mission to Al-Shifa hospital — Gaza’s largest and the focal point of the war in past days — and determined it was a “death zone”, urging a full evacuation.
The United Nations health agency said it was developing an evacuation plan for nearly 300 remaining patients and 25 health workers after the Israeli military had earlier ordered the evacuation of some 2,500 displaced people sheltering on the hospital grounds.
Columns of sick and injured — some of them amputees — were seen making their way out of Al-Shifa hospital Saturday towards the seafront without ambulances along with displaced people, doctors and nurses, as loud explosions were heard around the complex.
– Talks toward a hostage deal –
The United States said it was still working to secure a deal between Israel and Hamas after a reported tentative agreement to free women and children held hostage in Gaza in exchange for a pause in fighting.
“We have not reached a deal yet, but we continue to work hard to get to a deal,” White House National Security Council spokeswoman Adrienne Watson said on X, formerly Twitter, in response to the Washington Post reporting a deal had been agreed.
Qatar later said the deal hinges on “minor” practical issues, but did not provide details or a timeline.
– Israel march for hostages –
Thousands of Israelis including friends and relatives of hostages taken by Hamas arrived in Jerusalem, capping a four-day march to pressure the government to secure the captives’ release.
Since Hamas fighters surged out of Gaza six weeks ago and, according to Israel, took some 240 people prisoners, their relatives have waged a campaign for their freedom.
A column of thousands of demonstrators draped in white and blue Israeli flags reached Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office chanting: “Bring them home now.”