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Israel says Hamas loses control of northern Gaza; thousands of Palestinians flee to south

Israel says Hamas loses control of northern Gaza; thousands of Palestinians flee to south

Latest developments:

  • According to Israel, Hamas has lost control over northern Gaza. 
  • The Israel Defense Forces on Wednesday extended the opening of its evacuation corridors by an hour to allow Palestinians to leave northern Gaza, saying 50,000 people were moving south.
  • The health ministry in Hamas-controlled Gaza said the death toll from Israeli attacks had exceeded 10,500.
  • The G7 backed Israel’s right to self-defense while calling for a moratorium on fighting to allow humanitarian aid to reach Palestinian civilians.

The Israeli military said on Wednesday (November 8) that Hamas militants had lost control of the northern Gaza Strip. The Israeli army also said that tens of thousands of Palestinians were fleeing to southern Gaza to seek safety.

“We saw 50,000 Gazans moving from the north to the south of the Gaza Strip,” Israeli Navy Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari told a televised briefing. “They moved because they knew Hamas had lost control of the Gaza Strip. Control of the north. Hamas has lost and continues to lose control of the north.”

On Sunday, Israel began opening an evacuation corridor along the main road connecting northern and southern Gaza. The passage is open four hours a day to allow civilians to leave the center of the fighting. The Israel Defense Forces said on Wednesday it had extended the corridor’s opening hours by an hour because so many people were using it.

🚨For the 4th day in a row, the @IDF opened an evacuation corridor for civilians in northern Gaza to move southwards. Since 10:00 am today, thousands of Gazans passed through.
The corridor will be open until 14:00 so that Gazans in the north can evacuate for their safety. pic.twitter.com/VTin4VduPW

— COGAT (@cogatonline) November 8, 2023

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), which aids the Palestinians, said at least 40,000 people had moved south since the corridor opened on Sunday, most of them on foot. Those include children, the elderly, and people with disabilities, many of whom have only a few belongings, the agency said. The United Nations and other aid organizations are providing them with water and high-energy biscuits south of the North-South dividing line.

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The situation has become more severe in the north, where aid has been unable to reach the region over the past week. As of Tuesday, no bakeries were open there due to a lack of fuel, water, wheat flour, and damage to their premises, the United Nations said.

The Israeli offensive was in response to a terrorist attack launched by Hamas in southern Israel on October 7. Hamas attacks killed more than 1,400 people, mostly civilians. Hamas also took about 240 people hostage. The United States, the United Kingdom, the European Union, and other Western countries have listed Hamas as a terrorist organization.

The health ministry in Hamas-controlled Gaza said Israeli attacks have killed more than 10,500 people, two-thirds of them women and children. The figures cannot be independently verified, although the United Nations has said the department’s data has been reliable in the past.

Poor conditions

The United Nations has warned that southern Gaza is so overcrowded that shelters are “unable to accommodate new arrivals”. The United Nations says about two-thirds of Gaza’s 2.3 million residents have been displaced and face deteriorating sanitation conditions and a lack of water and fuel. The United Nations says a shelter in Khan Younis houses 22,000 displaced Palestinians, with at least 600 sharing a toilet.

The risk of infectious diseases spreading rapidly in Gaza is increasing, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Wednesday, with bodies rotting under the rubble of buildings and severe damage to medical, water, and sewage systems. Cases of childhood diarrhea have increased dramatically, as have scabies, lice, skin, and upper respiratory tract infections.

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Limited aid has arrived in Gaza via Egypt over the past two and a half weeks, with 81 trucks delivering food, medicine, hygiene products, bottled water, and hygiene products on Tuesday. The United Nations says that before the conflict began, an average of 500 commercial and aid trucks were entering Gaza every day. The total number of trucks entering Gaza since October 21 is only 650.

WHO and UNRWA said on Wednesday they were assisting in the delivery of emergency medical supplies to Gaza City’s Shifa hospital despite the bombing “posing significant risks to our staff and health partners”. This is only the second time supplies have been delivered to the hospital since the war began, and WHO and UNRWA say it is not enough to meet the huge need. Israel accuses Hamas of hiding its command center in Shifa Hospital.

The United Nations said about 600 foreigners and dual nationals left Gaza on Tuesday through the Rafah crossing with Egypt. The Philippine government said that about 40 Filipino nationals are on their way back home. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said the first group of Ukrainians to flee Gaza, as well as 36 citizens from neighboring Moldova, have now arrived safely in Egypt.

UN human rights commissioner Volker Türk visited the Rafah crossing on Wednesday, calling it “a doorway to a living nightmare.”

He said: “Israel’s collective punishment of Palestinian civilians also constitutes a war crime, as does the illegal and forcible evacuation of civilians. Israel’s large-scale bombing resulted in the death, maiming, and injury of women and children.” He also condemned Hamas’s

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October 7 atrocities, claiming that their terrorist attacks and hostage-taking were also war crimes.

“We have fallen off a cliff. This cannot continue,” he said, calling for a humanitarian ceasefire.

The foreign ministers of the G7 (Group of Seven) countries issued a joint statement supporting Israel’s right to self-defense and calling for a humanitarian pause to provide assistance to Palestinian civilians in Gaza.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said those calling for an immediate ceasefire in the conflict “have an obligation to explain how to address the possible unacceptable consequences: Hamas, which is holding more than 200 hostages, has the capacity and Claiming to want to repeat the actions of October 7 again and again.”

He listed several elements that the United States believes are critical to lasting peace and security in the region, including not forcing Palestinians to leave Gaza and not allowing Gaza to be used to serve as the source of attacks, Israel must not reoccupy Gaza after the conflict, must not attempt to blockade Gaza, and ensure that there are no terrorist threats in the West Bank.

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