Hamas has “lost control in Gaza”, Israel’s Defence Minister claimed on Monday, over a month after the Palestinian group launched a “surprise” attack on the nation, firing over 500 rockets.
“Hamas has lost control of Gaza. Terrorists are fleeing southward. Civilians are looting Hamas bases,” he said without providing evidence. “They don’t have faith in the government anymore,” Gallant added in a video broadcast on Israel’s main TV stations.
The bloodiest-ever Gaza war broke out after Hamas fighters poured through the militarised border with Israel on October 7, killing around 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and taking about 240 people hostage, according to the most recent Israeli figures.
The deputy health minister in the Hamas-run Gaza Strip, Youssef Abu Rish said that all hospitals in the north of the territory are “out of service” amid energy shortages. Abu Rish said seven premature babies and 27 patients had died in recent days in the Al-Shifa hospital, Gaza’s largest.
Gaza has been under near total Israeli siege and run short of food, fuel and other basic supplies. Palestinian prime minister Mohammad Shtayyeh on Monday called on the European Union and the United Nations to “parachute aid” into Gaza.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told US media a deal could be afoot to free hostages held by Hamas in Gaza, but declined to provide details for fear of scuttling the potential plan.
Asked on NBC show “Meet the Press” whether there was a potential deal, Netanyahu replied: “There could be.”
A Palestinian official in Gaza, however, blamed Netanyahu “for the delay and obstacles in reaching a preliminary agreement on the release of several prisoners”.
Israeli fighter jets pounded Hezbollah hideouts in southern Lebanon with strikes on Sunday after an incoming anti-tank missile wounded Israeli civilians near the border, the army said.
Since October 8, Israel has traded fire with Iran-backed Hezbollah and other groups in southern Lebanon on a near-daily basis, amid heightened fears of a regional conflagration.