An undercover Israeli military team infiltrated a hospital in the West Bank city of Jenin and killed three militants Tuesday in an attack Hamas leaders described as an execution and war crime that “will not pass without a response.”
Muhammad Jalamana, 27, had been using Ibn Sina Hospital as a hideout while planning a major attack “in the immediate time frame,” the Israeli military said in a statement. Also killed were brothers Muhammad and Bassel Azawi, who the military said also had been involved in terrorist activities.
The Palestinian Health Ministry released video showing gunmen dressed in scrubs and other civilian garb sweeping through the hospital, guns drawn. The Israeli statement reiterated the claim that large numbers of militants use hospitals and other civilian space “as a shelter and human shield.” Hamas again rejected the claim.
“The resistance that promised our people to jihad until the occupation was defeated … will not be intimidated by the assassinations or the cowardly enemy crimes,” Hamas leaders said in a statement.
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∎ Iran condemned the hospital shootings, saying such attacks pave the way for normalizing “organized terrorism” in the world. “It is expected that the countries of the world will not be indifferent to Israel’s act of terrorism,” Iran Foreign Ministry spokesperson Nasser Kanaani said.
∎ Canada, one of several nations including the U.S. to suspend funding to the embattled U.N. Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees, said it will provide $40 million to the World Food Program, UNICEF and other agencies to aid the humanitarian crisis in Gaza.
∎ Hamas political leader Ismail Haniyeh said he was studying the latest proposal aimed at pausing the fighting and freeing more hostages “in order to achieve the interests of our people.” He said he was considering an invitation to visit Cairo to discuss the framework agreement.
∎ Over 1,000 Swedish singers, dancers and other artists have signed a letter urging Eurovision to ban Israel from the 2024 singing competition. Allowing Israel to participate sends the signal that governments can commit war crimes without consequences, the letter says.
∎ The Islamic cemetery and mosque in southern Gaza were destroyed by Israeli forces that said they found part of a Hamas tunnel network underneath, the Associated Press reported from the site. A skull with no teeth was found atop a pile of rubble, AP said.
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Britain might be willing to provide formal diplomatic recognition to a Palestinian state prior to a final peace deal involving Israel, British Foreign Minister David Cameron said Tuesday. Recognition would give Palestinians a “political horizon” and reflect irreversible progress to a two-state solution and establishment of a Palestinian state − a plan that has been repeatedly rejected by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Cameron said Israel’s resistance to a two-state solution has fueled 30 years of failed security policy, the BBC reports.
One of Netanyahu’s complaints has been U.S. and British support for the state’s leadership to fall to the Palestinian Authority, which in the past has called for the destruction of Israel. Cameron said a revamped authority with strong leadership would be a prerequisite for recognition.
“We should be starting to set out what a Palestinian state would look like, what it would comprise, how it would work,” Camerson said. “That could be one of the things that helps to make this process irreversible.”
Israel will not pull its troops out of Gaza and won’t release thousands of Palestinians from Israeli jails as part of any deal for the return of more than 100 militant-held hostages, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Tuesday. Both actions have been crucial to talks surrounding a multi-month cease-fire the U.S. and other nations have been laboring to broker for weeks. Netanyahu, speaking at a pre-military academy in the occupied West Bank, said he remains committed to “total victory” over Hamas.
“I am committed to it, our fighters are committed to it, and the absolute majority of the (Israeli) people are committed to it,” Netanyahu said.
Israeli and global media have reported on a “framework” for a cease-fire deal that could free 100 or more Palestinians currently detained in Israeli jails for each hostage released by militants in Gaza. And a two-state solution has been viewed globally as a long-term answer to douse the tinderbox that is the Middle East.
“We will not end this war with less than the achievement of all its goals,” Netanyahu said. “We will not remove the Israeli military from the Gaza Strip and we will not release thousands of terrorists. None of this will happen. What will happen? Absolute victory.”
Palestinian Minister of Health Mai al-Alkaila called on the U.N. General Assembly, international institutions and human rights organizations to help bring an end to crimes she said are committed by Israelis against Palestinian people and health centers in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. Alkaila said international support is desperately needed to protect treatment centers and ambulance crews.
AlKaila said the assault in Ibn Sina Hospital is just the lastest of dozens of crimes committed by the occupation forces against hospitals, patients and medical staff. She cited international law that provides protections for civilian sites, including hospitals.
Israel will maintain military control of postwar Gaza similar to the security control Israel exercises in the West Bank, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said Tuesday. Gallant said the attack in the Jenin hospital was an example of the control and access Israel would retain after the war.
“I think it’s completely clear that Hamas won’t control Gaza,” Gallant said at a briefing in Tel Aviv. “Israel will control militarily but won’t control it in a civilian sense.”
The Department of Defense on Monday identified the three U.S. Army Reserve soldiers who were killed over the weekend at a base in Jordan near the Syrian border in what officials said was a drone attack by Iran-backed militants. The three soldiers were identified as Sgt. William Rivers, 46, of Willingboro, New Jersey; Spc. Kennedy Sanders, 24, of Waycross, Georgia.; and Spc. Breonna Moffett, 23, of Savannah, Georgia., according to the Army Reserve. They died Sunday after a one-way, unmanned attack drone struck their housing units.
The soldiers are the first U.S. troops killed by enemy fire in the Middle East since the start of the Israel-Hamas war on Oct. 7. On Monday, the number of troops wounded in the attack rose to 40 and deputy Pentagon press secretary Sabrina Singh noted that number may increase as troops continue to report symptoms. Read more here.
− Thao Nguyen
Contributing: The Associated Press
Read More: 3 killed in West Bank hospital raid