Gaza: Israel said its troops had ringed Gaza City, and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken was back in Tel Aviv to meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
The United States was going to put pressure on Netanyahu to agree to stop fighting so that help could get into the besieged Palestinian area.
An official in charge of health care in Gaza says that at least 9,061 people have died since Israel started its brutal attack on the enclave of 2.3 million people in response to Hamas strikes on southern Israel.
As the fourth week of the war came to a close, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken visited Israel for the second time in a month to meet with Netanyahu. Hamas fighters were fighting back from underground tunnels with hit-and-run attacks.
“The battle has reached its peak. We’ve had a lot of progress and are now on the edge of Gaza City. “We are moving forward,” Netanyahu said in a statement after the military said it had surrounded the main city of the seaside region.
Before Blinken left for the Middle East, he said he would talk about specific moves that could be taken to protect civilians in Gaza. The White House said that any breaks in the fighting should only last for a short time and be limited to certain areas. They also said that Israel would still be able to protect itself.
As more Palestinian civilians are killed and there are severe shortages of food, water, medicine, and fuel, world leaders are calling for a stop to the killing or a ceasefire.
Israeli officials have denied the calls, saying that they are only after Hamas fighters, who they say are hiding among civilians and people. Calls for a truce have also been turned down by the White House.
A group of UN experts from different countries said that the Palestinians in Gaza are in “grave danger of genocide.”
“We want Israel and its allies to agree to end the fighting right away.” “Time is running out,” the UN special rapporteurs said in a statement.
Israel’s mission to the UN in Geneva deemed the report’s contents “deplorable and deeply concerning,” and it blamed Hamas for the deaths of civilians. A spokesman for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, Stéphane Dujarric, said that only an appropriate UN judicial body could decide if there had been genocide.
On Thursday, the White House said it was looking into a number of breaks in the fighting.
US national security spokesman John Kirby told reporters, “What we’re trying to do is look into the idea of as many pauses as might be necessary to continue to get aid out and to continue to work to get people out safely, including hostages.”
In Amman on Saturday, Blinken was also set to meet with Ayman Safadi, who is the foreign minister of Jordan. Safadi said in a statement that Israel needed to end its war in Gaza because it was killing people with bombs and putting a siege on the area.
According to the United Arab Emirates (UAE), a major Gulf Arab country, tensions in the Middle East were “approaching a boiling point” on Friday. The UAE said it was working “relentlessly” to bring about an instant and full humanitarian ceasefire.
Noura al-Kaabi, a minister of state for foreign affairs, told a conference in Abu Dhabi, “There is a real risk of regional spillover and further escalation. There is also a real risk that extremist groups will use the situation to advance ideas that will keep us locked in cycles of violence.”
Hamas soldiers come out of the tunnels.
While there were loud explosions in Gaza, Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari, a spokesman for the Israeli military, told reporters that his country’s “troops completed the encirclement of Gaza City, which is the center of the Hamas terror organization.”
The head of Israel’s military engineers, Brigadier General Iddo Mizrahi, said that troops were running into mines and booby traps.
“Hamas has learned and prepared itself well,” he stated.
Abu Ubaida, a spokesman for the armed side of Hamas, said on TV on Thursday that the number of Israeli deaths in Gaza was much higher than what the military had said. “Your soldiers will return in black bags,” he stated.
Jerusalem says 18 troops have died and dozens of Palestinian fighters have been killed since ground operations began last Friday.
Residents and videos from both groups showed that Hamas and Islamic Jihad soldiers came out of tunnels to fire at tanks and then went back into the network.
According to two anonymous US officials, the country was using drones to gather information about Gaza to help find prisoners. A government worker said that the drone flights had been going on for more than a week.
More foreigners are going to leave.
The Rafah crossing from Gaza to Egypt was set to open for a third day on Friday for limited evacuations. This was a component of a Qatar-mediated agreement that allowed some Gazans with foreign passports, their dependents, and some injured Gazans to leave the region.
Officials at the crossing say that over 700 foreigners left for Egypt through Rafah over the past two days. Dozens of seriously hurt Palestinians were also going to cross. Israel asked other countries to send hospital ships.
Thailand told the UN that it is in touch with Iran and other countries that can talk to Hamas to free the nearly twenty Thai citizens who are being held hostage.
On Friday, Thailand’s Foreign Minister Parnpree Bahiddha-Nukara said that Iran, which is friendly with Hamas, had agreed to help with talks.
More than a third of Gaza’s 35 hospitals aren’t working, and many have been turned into makeshift refugee homes.
“The situation is beyond catastrophic,” the charity Medical Aid for Palestinians said, describing crowded hallways and a lot of doctors and nurses who had lost their homes and loved ones.