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Israel-Hamas War: Aid Delivery To Gaza Set To Be Delayed, Gazan Hospital On Final Power Reserves, Israel Planning Hostage Rescue — Latest Updates

The humanitarian crises in Gaza Strip and the multi-front attacks on Israel by Hamas and Hezbollah have continued as the Israel-Hamas War enters its 14th day on Friday. US President Joe Biden is expected to seek $14 billion in aid for Israel for war against Hamas.

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Israel-Palestine War
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Even though an international agreement has been reached regarding the humanitarian aid to Gaza Strip, the delivery of aid may not take place on Friday as outstanding issue on the Egyptian side are yet to be resolved, according to a report. 

The report of the delay coincided with a warning from Doctors Without Borders (MSF) that Gaza's main hospital is down to its last 24 hours of power supply. 

Meanwhile, the attacks from Hamas in Gaza and Hezbollah in Lebanon on Israel have continued. Rockets launched by Hamas continued to target southern and central Israel whereas Hezbollah continued to hit northern Israel. Several thousands of Israelis have been evacuated from both the regions amid continuing fighting. 

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The Israel-Hamas War on Friday entered its 14th day, which began with the all-out Hamas offensive on Israel on October 7. At least 1,400 Israelis were killed, around 4,600 were injured, and at least 203 were abducted and taken to Gaza as hostages, according to Israeli authorities. In response, Israel laid a complete siege of Gaza and began airstrikes to target Hamas facilities and leaders, which have also led to widespread civilian casualties and displacement of hundreds of thousands of Palestinian civilians. At least 3,470 have been killed in Gaza, several hundreds of them civilians and children, and over 13,000 have been injured, according to Gaza's Hamas-run health ministry. 

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In a separate but related development, even as the Israeli military has given no timeframe for its anticipated ground offensive into Gaza, it appears to be preparing to rescue more than 200 Israeli and foreign nationals held in Gaza as hostages by Hamas and other Palestinian groups, according to a report.

Rafah crossing unlikely to open today: Report

Even though an agreement has been reached regarding relief supplies to Gaza Strip and trucks full of aid are lined up at the Rafah crossing at the Egypt-Gaza border, the crossing may not open on Friday, according to CNN. 

The CNN further reported that the first tranche of aid could be delayed to Saturday as there are outstanding issues on the Egyptian side. 

"Road repairs are needed on the Egyptian side of the crossing and there are concerns about making sure the deliveries can be sustained, and are not a one-off," reported CNN.

"I would not put money on those trucks going through tomorrow [Friday]," said an official to the network. 

While the report says up to 20 trucks would enter at first, the United Nations (UN) hopes to provide 100 trucks-full of aid every day and is also urging for fuel to be included in the aid material. 

Moreover, it has been reported that the agreement to open the Rafah crossing is just for the delivery of aid and not for the evacuation of refugees.

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Gaza's main hospital running out of fuel: Doctors Without Borders

The Al-Shifa Hospital at Gaza City, the mainstay healthcare facility in the region, could run out of fuel in a day, according to Doctors Without Borders (MSF).

So far, the Al-Shifa Hospital is one of the few places in Gaza with running electricity. Most of the Gaza is out of electricity after Israel laid a complete siege on the region a week ago and cut off water, fuel, and electricity supplies. Later, water supply was opened to southern Israel where hundreds of thousands of Palestinians have relocated to at the orders of the Israeli military. Gaza depends on Israel for around a third of water supply. 

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"Without electricity many patients will die...I believe that these people are in serious danger of dying in the next few hours, because it’s becoming impossible to get medical attention...Patients with chronic illnesses, such as diabetes and cancer, and pregnant women are also at risk due to a general shortage of medicines," said Guillemette Thomas, MSF’s Medical Coordinator for Palestine, to CNN.

Israel preparing for rescue operations: Report

Even as the Israeli officials publicly say they will not exercise restraint in their all-out offensive into Gaza Strip against Hamas, The Jerusalem Post reported that hostages remain central to Israeli planning and plans are in the making for tackling hostage situations. 

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When Hamas attacked Israel on October 7 and killed over 1,400 people, it also abducted more than 200 Israeli and foreign nationals and took them to Gaza as hostages. The issue of hostages has been central as Israeli government does not want to compromise their safety with a rushed operation. The Hamas has already threatened their execution and has already mistreated hostages. 

In widely circulated and condemned footage, Hamas showed its fighters parading injured women hostages in Gaza. In one video, Hamas fighters paraded a seemingly dead woman hostage, identified as a German national, in the back of a truck in a semi-naked state in Gaza amid celebratory cheering. 

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The Israeli government has said that there are at least 203 hostages in Gaza. 

The Post reported that intelligence is being collected and passed onto the internal security services and intelligence agency Mossad to make operational plans. 

Despite statements that hostage rescue efforts would not affect the ongoing bombardment or the anticipated land invasion, top IDF commanders in the field are absolutely not giving up on trying to rescue Israeli hostages, even as they hit Hamas hard, reported The Post.

Of the 203 hostages, there are around 30 children and 10-20 elderlies, as per the report.

Israeli hostage recovery apparatus chief Maj. Gen. (res.) Nitzan Alon told The Post, "All of my soul and brain are committed to this, with hundreds of people. We will not stop for a moment until we find any way possible to return our dear ones to us. Our efforts are complex, difficult and challenging. It includes intelligence and operational challenges, during which we analyse and extrapolate every piece of information."

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Biden calls support to Israel 'vital', set to seek $14 billion in aid

In an address to the nation from Oval Office of the White House, US President Joe Biden on Thursday night termed the US support to Israel "vital" to US national security interests. 

Biden is set to seek $14 billion in aid from the Congress to support Israeli defensive and offensive efforts. 

In all, Biden is set to seek over $100 billion aid collectively for Ukraine War, Israel-Hamas War, Indo-Pacific, and border security, according to reports. 

Biden and much of the US government have stood staunchly with Israel in the face of the worst massacres since the Holocaust. While Biden continues to stand with the Israel against Hamas, he has also clearly drawn a distinction between Hamas and common Palestinians and it is his push that led to the opening of water supply to southern Israel and an agreement for the delivery of aid through the Rafah crossing, according to reports. 

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100-300 killed in Gaza hospital blast: US assessment 

A US intelligence assessment has concluded that 100-300 Palestinians died in the blast at the Al Ahli Hospital in Gaza City as against the Hamas-run Gaza health ministry's claim that at least 471 people were killed, according to The New York Times. 

The Gaza authorities claimed that an Israeli airstrike at the hospital led to the deaths of people at the hospital, but the claim has been rejected by Israeli and US assessments. Israel has said it was a failed rocket of the militant group Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) that fell in the area and led to the blast. The US assessment also says that it was a rocket by one of the Palestinian groups involved in the ongoing fighting. 

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"The U.S. intelligence agencies’ assessment that Israel was not responsible for the explosion was based on videos collected by civilians, satellite imagery, missile activity tracked by infrared sensors and other data...The United States has infrared sensors, which are both satellite and aircraft based, that can determine the launch sites of a variety of rockets and missiles. That technology has proved critical to the U.S. assessment, which does not lay blame for the blast on Israel," reported NYT.

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