Israel-Hamas war live: 15 dead in central and southern Gaza attacks, say Palestinians | Israel-Hamas war

Key events

Ministers from Arab and Islamic countries will visit China on Monday, the first stop of a tour aimed at ending the war in Gaza, Saudi Foreign minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan said.

The tour will be the first step in carrying out decisions reached at a joint Arab and Islamic summit held in Riyadh this month, Prince Faisal said on the sidelines of a conference in Bahrain in comments posted by his ministry on the social media platform X on Friday.

“The first stop will be in China, then we will move to other capitals to convey a clear message that a ceasefire must be announced immediately, and let in aid,” the minister said. “We have to work on ending this crisis and the war on Gaza as soon as possible.”

Foreign Minister HH Prince @FaisalbinFarhan announces the start of the work of the ministerial committee in charge of the Arab-Islamic summit concerned with formulating an international action to stop the war on Gaza and the first stop is China.

— Foreign Ministry 🇸🇦 (@KSAmofaEN) November 18, 2023

Here is some more detail from the World Health Organisation’s statement, released overnight, about the situation for patients who remain at Al-Shifa Hospital.

There are now 25 health workers and 291 patients at Al-Shifa, according to the WHO. Patients include 32 babies in “extremely critical condition”, two people in intensive care without ventilation, and 22 dialysis patients whose access to life-saving treatment has been severely compromised.

The vast majority of patients are victims of war trauma, WHO said, including many with complex fractures and amputations, head injuries, burns, chest and abdominal trauma, and 29 patients with serious spinal injuries who are unable to move without medical assistance.

Many trauma patients have severely infected wounds due to lack of infection control measures in the hospital and unavailability of antibiotics. WHO’s team described the corridors as being filled with medical and solid waste, due to the collapse of basic services.

Several patients have died over the past two to three days due to the shutting down of medical services, WHO said. Its team reported seeing a mass grave at the entrance of the hospital, where they were told more than 80 people were buried.

WHO and its partners are forming plans to move these patients to other hospitals in the south of Gaza over the next 24–72 hours, “pending guarantees of safe passage by parties to the conflict”.

About 2,500 displaced people who were sheltering at the hospital had already moved by the time WHO’s team arrived on Saturday, after the Israeli military issued a evacuation order.

Opening summary

This is the Guardian’s continuing coverage of Israel’s war against Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

As we open this blog, there has been a Washington Post report that a tentative deal has been struck for Israel to pause its attacks for five days, in return for Hamas releasing hostages. The Post cites unnamed sources familiar with the supposed deal.

At the moment, there has been no official confirmation from any of the parties involved in negotiations. The White House said there is no deal yet, but work continues towards producing one. The Israeli president Benjamin Netanyahu said a few hours before the Post’s story was published that “as of now there has been no deal”.

We will continue to monitor the situation closely; in the meantime here is a summary of recent developments.

  • Fifteen Palestinians were killed early on Sunday in Israeli air bombardments of the central and southern Gaza strip, the Palestinian news agency WAFA reported. Thirteen were killed in an attack on a home in Nuseirat camp in central Gaza, while a woman and her child were killed in southern Khan Younis city, WAFA said.

  • The World Health Organization has described Al-Shifa hospital – once the largest, most advanced, referral hospital in Gaza – as a “death zone” following a visit on Saturday. Lack of clean water, fuel, medicine, food and other essentials means it was no longer functioning as a medical facility, WHO said, adding that corridors and the hospital grounds were filled with medical and solid waste. The WHO’s team also reported signs of shelling and gunfire, and a mass grave at the entrance of the hospital, where they were told more than 80 people were buried.

  • There are 25 health workers and 291 patients still in Al-Shifa, including 32 babies “in extremely critical condition”, WHO said. It is urgently developing plans for the evacuation of the patients, staff and families who remain at Al-Shifa Hospital within the next 24–72 hours. However, Nasser Medical Complex and European Gaza Hospital in the south of Gaza, where they will be transferred, are already working beyond capacity.

  • Israeli PM, Benjamin Netanyahu, said on Saturday evening that he rejected what he described as “increasingly heavy pressure” from the international community, including some in the US, saying Israel refused to agree to a “full ceasefire”. He said: “Many people around the world demanded that we not enter the Gaza Strip – we did so… They warned us not to enter [Al-Shifa hospital] even though it served as a central terrorist base for Hamas – we did so. They pressured us to agree to a full ceasefire – we refused. And I have made it clear: we will only agree to a temporary ceasefire and only in exchange for the return of our hostages.”

  • Netanyahu also rejected what he described as “unsubstantiated rumours” and “incorrect reports” regarding a possible deal to release hostages in exchange for a pause in fighting during the press conference on Saturday night.

  • US National Security Council spokeswoman Adrienne Watson said US officials “continue to work hard to get to a deal”, but said no agreement had yet been made. She said this in response to a Washington Post report saying Israel, the US and Hamas were close to reaching an agreement that would free dozens of hostages, in exchange for a five-day pause in fighting that could allow greater flow of humanitarian assistance.

  • The head of UNRWA, the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, earlier warned that Israel’s approval of “only half of the daily minimum requirements for fuel for humanitarian operations in Gaza … is far from enough.” In a statement on Saturday, UNRWA chief Philippe Lazzarini said: “This is far from enough to cover the needs for desalination plants, sewage pumps, hospitals, water pumps in shelters, aid trucks, ambulances, bakeries and communications networks to work without interruption.”

  • More than 80 people were killed on Saturday by double Israeli strikes on the Jabalia refugee camp, Gaza’s health ministry said. “At least 50 people” were killed in an Israeli strike on early Saturday morning at the UNRWA-run al-Fakhouri school in the Jabalia refugee camp a Gaza health ministry official said. Another strike on a separate building in the camp killed 32 people of the same family, 19 of them children, according to the official.

  • Médecins Sans Frontières strongly condemned a “deliberate attack” on a convoy evacuating its staff members and their families, which it said had resulted in one death and one injury. The convoy was attacked on Saturday, as it was trying to evacuate 137 people, from MSF premises located near Al-Shifa hospital.

  • Thousands of demonstrators, including family members of hostages kidnapped by Hamas, marched into Jerusalem on Saturday in angry calls for the Israeli government to do more to bring their relatives home. The march capped a five-day trek from Tel Aviv and represented the largest protest on behalf of the hostages since they were dragged into Gaza by Hamas on 7 October.

  • In an op-ed in the Washington Post on Saturday, US president Joe Biden said that the Palestinian Authority should govern Gaza and the West Bank following the war between Israel and Hamas. “Gaza and the West Bank should be reunited under a single governance structure, ultimately under a revitalized Palestinian Authority, as we all work toward a two-state solution,” he wrote. He also said that “extremist violence against Palestinians in the West Bank must stop.”


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