Israel strikes senior citizens home in Gaza; Palestinian death toll over 12,000, including 8,800 women & children - Day 42 as it happened

Ahram Online , Friday 17 Nov 2023

Israel continued its deadly airstrikes and ground invasion of the Gaza Strip for the 42nd straight day. Israeli bombardment left more dead and more injured. Some fuel entered Gaza and communications started to gradually return in the strip. Still, a deteriorating humanitarian situation worsened.

Gaza 17 November
Palestinians line up for food during the ongoing Israeli bombardment of the Gaza Strip in Rafah on Monday, Nov. 13, 2023. AP


23:00 An Israeli airstrike on the Dar Al-Wafaa Home for the Senior Citizens in Al-Zahraa district in the southern part of Gaza City has killed the home's director and injured a number of doctors and providers, according to Al Jazeera.

The home has been sending S.O.S messages in the last several to the Palestinian health ministry asking for water for its residents, according to a ministry spokesperson.

22:45 In a recorded message aired by Al Jazeera, Abu Obeida, the spokesperson for Ezz Eddin Al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of Hamas, said Qassam fighters are continuing to engage with the Israeli army in different parts of the Gaza Strip, destroying or disabling 62 Israeli armored vehicles in the last four days.

Abu Obeida said that the world was able to see the farcical nature of the Israeli claims about a Hamas command center under Al-Shifa Medical Complex as a pretext for the attack on the hospital.

He added that Qassam killed nine Israeli soldiers and destroyed two Israeli armored vehicles after attacking a unit hiding in an apartment in Beit Hanoun in the northern part of the strip.

22:30 Al Arabiya reported that communications and internet services have started returning gradually to the Gaza Strip after a number of trucks carrying fuel entered the strip from the Rafah border crossing on Friday.

22:00 A Likud MK who also serves as deputy speaker of the Knesset calls for burning down Gaza, the Times of Israel said Friday. 

“All of this preoccupation with whether or not there is internet in Gaza shows that we have learned nothing. We are too humane. Burn Gaza now no less!” Nissim Vaturi tweeted after the war cabinet approved the entry of two trucks of fuel per day to prevent the collapse of the sewage treatment system, which risked a mass-disease outbreak.

“Don’t allow fuel in, don’t allow water in until the hostages are returned back!” he adds.

21:45  Israeli ex-PM Ehud Olmert claimed on Friday that the Hamas command center is in Khan Younis in the south of Gaza, not Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City.

Olmert's claims came after the Israeli army used its allegations for weeks that the Hamas command center was under Al-Shifa as a pretext for attacking the hospital on Wednesday, but failed to show that the hospital was anything else but a hospital.

In an ironic twist of fate, the BBC, invited by the Israeli army to witness documentation of evidence of traces of Hamas presence under Al-Shifa, aired a report examining the videos released by the IDF to prove "hideouts", which raised questions about the Israeli narrative and showed clear manipulation in editing and outright lies.

Since Wednesday, Israel has failed to produce any credible evidence for its rich claims of a Hamas command center under Al-Shifa Medical Complex, the largest hospital in the under-bombardment Gaza Strip, which had treated thousands of patients and wounded before Israeli bombing and raid sent it out of service.

For the third straight day, Israeli troops have continued their rampage through the different wards in search of "Hamas hideouts."

On their way, troops ransacked and destroyed vital medical equipment, including MRI, CT scan, and X-ray units, while terrorizing thousands of patients, staff, and displaced civilians under its mercy in the hospital.

Palestinian sources confirmed that 24 patients in Al-Shifa died in the last 48 hours amid the Israeli raid and siege of the hospital, amid regional and international condemnation of another Israeli war crime.

21:15 Trucks carrying 17,000 litres of diesel fuel crossed from the Rafah border crossing between Egypt and the Gaza Strip to be delivered to Paltel, the telecommunication company operating in Gaza, according to Palestinian sources on the crossing.

Earlier on Friday, a 10-truck convoy carrying 150,000 litres of fuel entered Gaza from the Rafah crossing, in the first major delivery of fuel since the start of the Israeli blockade on the strip on 7 October.

Gaza has been under a complete communications and internet blackout after the minimum amount of fuel needed to generate any electricity ran out 72 hours ago.

25 hospitals in Gaza have gone out of service due to Israeli bombing and/or after running out of fuel.

Meanwhile, a World Health Organization spokeswoman urged the entry of enough fuel to the strip to aid hospitals struggling to provide care to many in need.

20:15 The death toll among Palestinians from Israeli airstrikes and bombardment on the Gaza Strip since 7 October has climbed over 12,000, including 5,000 children and 3,300 women, according to the latest Palestinian official figures. 

The number of those wounded in the bombardment has climbed to over 30,000 and those missing under the rubble of homes destroyed in the bombing has reached 3,750, including 1,800 children.

At least 25 hospitals and 52 medical facilities have gone out of service.

At least 200 medical workers have been killed.

At least 95 government buildings and 63 schools have gone out of service.

19:15 Egypt received on Friday a number of Palestinian patients and wounded at the Rafah border crossing out of the under-bombardment Gaza Strip for treatment in Egyptian hospitals.

This brings the number of Palestinians received by Egypt for treatment since the start of the war in Gaza to 45.

Egypt also received a number of foreign nationals who are leaving the Gaza Strip.

This brings the number of foreign nationals who were allowed to cross from Gaza into Egypt to 600.

Earlier on Friday, a 10-truck convoy carrying 150,000 litres of fuel entered the Gaza Strip through the Rafah crossing.

It was the first major delivery of fuel to the strip since the start of an all-out Israel blockade on entry of water, food, and fuel to 2.4 million Palestinians in Gaza following the start of its war on the strip on 7 October.

Egyptian paramedics transferred an injured Palestinian boy to an ambulance after being transported from the Gaza Strip via the Rafah border crossing on November 17, 2023. AFP

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18:15 The Palestinian health ministry said that 24 patients at a hospital in the under-bombardment Gaza Strip had died within 48 hours due to power outages,

The news came as Israeli forces continued occupying and blockading the largest hospital in the strip, with several thousand civilians - including hundreds of patients, wounded patients, premature babies, medical staff, and displaced Palestinians - trapped inside without any supplies, under the guise of "searching for evidence of a Hamas hideout."

The announcement came shortly after Israel agreed to a US request to allow two fuel trucks a day into Gaza, following a UN warning that the shortages had halted aid deliveries and put people at risk of starvation.

17:30 In an interview with Democracy Now, a leading independent TV channel in the US which is anchored by veteran journalist Amy Goodman, Ruth Ben-Artzi, the niece of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, called on Thursday for the Netanyahu government to focus efforts on releasing Israeli hostages and to stop the bombing of Gaza.

Ben-Artzi, a professor of political science at Providence College who holds both Israeli and US citizenship, had recently joined prominent Rhode Island rabbis, Jewish leaders, and Israelis demanding a ceasefire in Gaza.

"A ceasefire is really the only way that any solution can be achieved,” says Ben-Artzi, who explains why military actions will never resolve this conflict and that “finding a political solution … is really the only way that the roughly 7 million Jews and 7 million Palestinians who live between the river and the sea will ever be able to find peace."

Watch the full interview here

16:30 The Palestinian news agency WAFA reported on Friday that since the beginning of the Israeli war on October 7, more than 11,500 Palestinians - including 4,700 children, 3,155 women, and 700 elderly - have been killed, and more than 29,000 others wounded.

Nearly 3,000 people remain missing under the rubble of homes destroyed in Israeli airstrikes and bombardment, many of them children.

On Friday, four civilians were killed in an Israeli bombardment that rained down on a house in Khan Younis in the south of the strip, a WAFA correspondent confirmed.

Several people were killed and injured in the Israeli shelling of a home in Bani Suhaila, east of Khan Younis.

In central Gaza, at least 18 civilians, including children and women, were killed in an airstrike that targeted a home in the Nuseirat refugee camp.

In the northern region, dozens of civilians were killed and injured in relentless bombardment on civilian-packed residential squares in the Jabalia refugee camp.

WAFA noted that among the targets were areas in the vicinity of the Indonesian Hospital, with the Israeli army intensifying its bombardment near the under-siege facility.

Demonstrators in support of Palestinians carry signs during a protest to call for a ceasefire, in Washington, DC, on November 17, 2023. AFP

15:12 The World Health Organization called for a regular flow of patients to be allowed out of Gaza for treatment in Egypt, to relieve the pressure on overwhelmed hospitals.

Twenty-five out of 36 hospitals in the Gaza Strip are not functioning and the remainder are struggling to provide services.

"This is clearly not enough to support the endless needs arising due to the hostilities," Richard Peeperkorn, the WHO representative in the occupied Palestinian territories said.

Speaking via video link from Jerusalem, Peeperkorn, said 50 to 60 patients a day ought to be transferred into Egypt, "where they will get -- and they deserve -- the right treatment and care".

15:07 Israel's war cabinet has allowed the delivery of two tankers of diesel fuel daily to the embattled Gaza Strip, Israeli officials said, as hospitals and aid schemes shut down over fuel shortages.

In response to a US request, the war cabinet had unanimously approved "the entry of two diesel fuel tankers per day for the needs of the UN to support water and sewer infrastructure... provided that it does not reach Hamas", the officials said in a statement.

14:00 Ten fuel trucks carrying 150,000 litres of diesel entered the Gaza Strip from Egypt through the Rafah border crossing, Sky News Arabia reported. 

Earlier on Wednesday, a truck carrying 24,000 litres of fuel entered Gaza from Egypt, in the first such delivery since the Israeli war on Gaza began on 7 October. 

Egypt exerted diplomatic pressure on all parties involved, resulting in a notable increase in the volume of much-needed assistance reaching the Gaza Strip, Al-Qahera news reported.

Fuel shortages in the Gaza Strip have resulted in the death of dozens, including children, with the Palestinian health minister saying on Sunday that 23 out of 35 hospitals in Gaza have completely stopped working due to the depletion of fuel that generates electricity.

Mobile phone and internet services have also gone down on Thursday across the Gaza Strip due to a lack of fuel for backup generators.

13:15  Some 5,000 Israeli forces have been deployed in the Old City of Jerusalem in the occupied West Bank, an Al Qahera News correspondent reported. 

13:00 German and Turkish leaders to meet as Israel bombards Gaza. German leaders host Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan for talks in a highly controversial visit made more explosive by Erdogan's rebuke of Israel's war in the Gaza Strip.

Erdogan has been increasingly critical of Israel's war, which has so far killed more than 11,500 people, many of them women and children, according to the Gaza health ministry.

The Turkish leader has accused Israel of committing war crimes with its bombardment and ground incursion in the Palestinian territory.

While Chancellor Olaf Scholz travelled to Israel to offer Germany's unconditional and unwavering support, Erdogan has doubled down on his defence of the Palestinian Hamas as "liberators" fighting for their land.

Erdogan's stance has sparked questions in Germany about hosting the Turkish leader, with the opposition conservatives and even the liberal FDP, a member of Scholz's coalition, urging Scholz to scrap the invitation.

But the centre-left-led government said it was all the more important to keep talking in the toughest of times.

"We have always had difficult partners whom we have to deal with," said Scholz's spokesman Steffen Hebestreit, acknowledging that it is a visit "that will be challenging given the current circumstances".

"But it's not just about telling each other what we think, it's about moving forward on numerous issues... and for that, we need these talks."

12:30 The World Health Organization (WHO) has expressed alarm over the escalating disease transmission in the Gaza Strip, attributing it to the devastating impact of Israel's ongoing conflict on the region.

With hundreds of thousands of people displaced and compelled to seek refuge in crowded shelters, the availability of essential resources such as food, medicine, and water has been severely limited.

Richard Peeperkorn, the WHO Representative in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, emphasized the imminent threat posed by the upcoming winter season. He voiced deep concern regarding the potential surge in disease transmission, citing distressing statistics.

Since the commencement of the war, the Palestinian territory has witnessed an alarming rise in cases of acute respiratory infections, surpassing 70,000, as well as over 44,000 cases of diarrhea, figures that exceed initial projections.

11:30 The Israeli occupation army said it killed at least five fighters in the occupied West Bank, as Hamas admitted a number of its fighters were killed in the overnight raid.

Israeli forces carried out an operation overnight Thursday-Friday in a refugee camp in the West Bank city of Jenin. "An armed terrorist cell that fired at Israeli security forces was struck by a (military) aircraft," a statement said. 

"Terrorists who fired and hurled explosive devices at the security forces were neutralized," it added.

"In total, at least five terrorists were killed."

The Palestinian health ministry in Ramallah said three people had been killed in the Jenin raid, with 15 more wounded, four in critical condition.

9:00 Israel said its forces were searching Al-Shifa "one building at a time," and the army announced that troops had recovered the remains of kidnapped woman soldier Noa Marciano, 19, "from a structure adjacent to Al-Shifa hospital."

The occupation army had confirmed earlier in the week the death of Marciano, without giving the cause. Hamas said she had been killed in an Israeli bombardment.

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