Israel Hamas war: Hostage talks via Qatar, al-Shifa hospital raids, protests in Tel Aviv

Smoke rises following an Israeli airstrike in the central Gaza Strip, Friday, March 22, 2024.
Smoke rises following an Israeli airstrike in the central Gaza Strip, Friday, March 22, 2024. Copyright Abdel Kareem Hana/Copyright 2024 The AP. All rights reserved.
By Tamsin Paternoster with AP
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All the latest developments from the Israel Hamas war.

IDF raids Gaza's largest hospital

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Israeli forces claimed to have killed 170 Hamas militants during heavy fighting near Al Shifa hospital in Gaza. 

Palestinian authorities reported the raid resulted in the deaths of five patients at the medical facility in Gaza City. 

The Israeli Defence Force claimed it would only end the operation ''when the last of the terrorists is in our hands – dead or alive."

The IDF says that it has concrete intelligence Hamas fighters are based at the hospital, which provides critical medical care and shelter for Gazans. 

Hamas has denied this, claiming those killed were patients and civilians. 

The armed wing of the Palestinian militant group said its fighters were engaged in battles with Israeli forces around the hospital, along with Islamic Jihad. 

Anti-war movement gains ground in Tel Aviv

Saturdays have become an annual day in Israel for anti-government demonstrations across the country. 

In Tel Aviv, protesters blocked key roundabouts and approached the homes of politicians and military members.

They are demanding a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, in order to free the remaining hostages being held by the militant group in the Gaza Strip. 

There are currently at least 134 hostages that remain in Gaza. 

Associated Press has reported that Israel believes at least 30 of them were killed on 7 October or have died whilst in captivity. 

Some have been killed in Israeli fire or airstrikes. 

Israel and Hamas continue hostage talks via Qatar

Israel has tentatively agreed to release several Palestinian prisoners as part of a compromise encouraged by the US, according to a report by Israel's Channel 12. 

Ongoing indirect talks in Qatar between Israel and Hamas on a hostage release deal and ceasefire in Gaza have so far failed to deliver a major breakthrough.

One major gap is how many Palestinian prisoners should be freed in order to secure the release of female IDF soldiers held hostage in Gaza since 7 October. 

Israel has also insisted on resisting Hamas' demand that any future hostage releases should be subject to a ceasefire, vowing to continue its military campaign in Gaza. 

UN's Guterres calls Gaza aid situation 'heart-breaking'

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres has said he has witnessed long lines of aid trucks waiting on the Egyptian side of the Rafah crossing. 

Posting on X, formerly Twitter, he said ''It’s time to truly flood Gaza with life-saving aid.'.

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Speaking from the Rafah crossing, he made another call for a ceasefire in Gaza, saying that despite the attacks on 7 October, ''nothing justifies the collective punishment of the Palestinian people.''

More than half of Gaza's population are sheltering in the nearby southern city of Rafah, where Israel has planned to launch a new offensive despite warnings from aid agencies that it would cause a humanitarian catastrophe.

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