Is­rael’s war on Gaza: List of key events, day 169

At least three patients at al-Shifa Hospital have died amid a five-day blockade on the facility by Israel.

Smoke rises following an Israeli airstrike in the central Gaza Strip
Smoke rises following an Israeli air strike in the central Gaza Strip, on Friday, March 22, 2024 [Abdel Kareem Hana/AP]

Here’s how things stand on Saturday, March 23 2024:

Fighting and humanitarian crisis

  • Israeli air strikes are continuing to pound the besieged al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City, according to the Wafa News agency. Israeli troops also clashed with Palestinian fighters around the hospital complex.
  • At least three patients have died in the hospital from a lack of medical supplies, sources in the hospital told Wafa, as Israel has blocked supply inflows for five days.
  • Al-Shifa was first raided last November amid heavy criticism from the international community. Israeli forces said they had uncovered tunnels, which they claimed had been used as command and control centres by Hamas. Hamas and medical staff deny that the hospital has been used for military purposes or to shelter fighters.
  • The bodies of five Palestinians, including four children, were recovered from the rubble of a two-storey house located between the cities of Rafah and Khan Younis. The house was bombed early on Friday.
  • At least 10 people have died as shelling hit a family home northwest of Gaza City. Three people were also killed in targeted missile attacks that hit az-Zanna neighbourhood in Khan Younis.
  • Attacks continue on Rafah in southern Gaza, the last refuge for 1.5 million displaced people in the enclave. Air strikes on residential homes in the Nassr neighbourhood north of the city killed at least eight people early on Friday.
  • At least 82 people were killed in the Gaza Strip in the past day, and 110 were injured. Gaza’s Health Ministry puts the death toll at 32,070, with 74,298 people injured since October 7, according to Wafa.

Diplomacy and regional tensions

  • A United Nations Security Council vote on a new resolution that demands Israel halt its deadly attacks on Gaza, has been postponed until Monday.
  • Russia and China vetoed an earlier document drafted by the US that called for a six-week pause in fighting that could potentially be extended, but did not explicitly demand a ceasefire. The new draft will call for an immediate ceasefire through the holy month of Ramadan.
  • UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres will visit Rafah on Saturday to reiterate his call for an urgent humanitarian truce in the war.
  • Meanwhile, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken left the Middle East without securing promises to halt operations in Rafah as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rejected Washington’s appeals to shelve a planned ground invasion.
  • Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has called on the United States to suspend weapons transfers to Israel. In a speech on the floor of the House of Representatives, the progressive Democrat condemned Israel’s attacks and its refusal to allow more aid into Gaza. She called the situation in Gaza an “unfolding genocide”.
  • The US military has said it targeted storage facilities belonging to Yemen’s Houthi rebels. The Houthis said the raids took place in Yemen’s capital, Sanaa, but that the bombings would not stop their attacks on US and Israeli ships in the Red Sea. The Houthis say they are targeting these ships in retaliation against Israel’s war on Gaza.
  • An opposition MP in the United Kingdom has urged British Foreign Secretary David Cameron to publish any legal advice he has received on Israel’s compliance with international humanitarian law in Gaza. Cameron is obliged to advise the country’s business and trade department which would have to stop trade with Israel if it is found to be violating international humanitarian law.

Violence, land grab in the occupied West Bank

  • Israel has appropriated 800 hectares (1977 acres) of the occupied West Bank as “state land”, the country’s Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich declared on Friday, paving the way for government-backed settlements to be built there. All settlements in the West Bank, and land takeovers like the one announced by Smotrich, are illegal under international law.
  • Ameed al-Jaghoub, an unarmed young Palestinian man who was shot in the back of his head by Israeli forces last August, has died of his wounds. His death has spurred widespread outrage in the West Bank.
  • Israeli forces are carrying out engineering surveys in preparation for the destruction of a house owned by a Palestinian man – Mujahid Barakat Mansour, who is accused of shooting at a bus carrying Israeli settlers.
  • Demolishing the homes of Palestinians “suspected of carrying out attacks” on Israelis is a long-held practice of Israel. Thousands of Palestinian people have lost their homes to demolitions in what human rights groups say is a policy by Israel of “collective punishment” that may amount to war crimes.
Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies