The United States announced that Israel will implement temporary humanitarian pauses in fighting in parts of Gaza starting Friday. According to US National Security Council spokesman John Kirby, Israel will enact four-hour daily ceasefires in northern Gaza. However, the Israeli Defense Minister stressed these are localized measures and will not impede Israel’s military campaign.
President Biden announced the establishment of two daily “humanitarian corridors” aimed at facilitating the evacuation of civilians from regions experiencing active combat. Heavy fighting was reported Thursday around two major hospitals in Gaza City as thousands continue fleeing south.
Biden said the US is trying to increase humanitarian aid to Gaza with a goal of 150 truckloads per day. But the UN said current aid is only meeting a fraction of needs, calling the situation “intolerable.” Earlier, a conference in Paris heard repeated calls for a ceasefire.
Israel has bombarded Gaza for over a month after beginning a significant ground offensive nearly two weeks ago. Israel aims to destroy Hamas, considered a terrorist group by Israel, the US, and others.
The conflict began after an unprecedented Hamas attack in southern Israel on October 7 that killed 1,400 and took 240 hostages. Gaza’s health ministry says 10,800 have died in Gaza since, and 1.5 million have been displaced.
Biden said Israel is “fighting an enemy embedded in the civilian population,” putting innocents at risk, but must follow international law. Thursday, the IDF said it raided Hamas’ military complex near Al-Shifa Hospital, killing 50. Tanks also allegedly fired near Al-Quds Hospital.
Al-Shifa’s director said Israeli troops were 2 miles away and conditions were “disastrous.” Video inside showed a man recounting his family being fired on while fleeing. The unverified video also showed people injured by shrapnel near Al-Shifa.
Israel previously alleged Hamas operations below Al-Shifa. Hamas denies this. Fierce fighting was also reported around Al-Quds Hospital. Some civilians escaped after seeing tanks advance from the north.
Wednesday, Al-Quds said nearby strikes injured patients, damaged buildings, and forced it to close sections. The US ceasefire offers temporary relief, but the situation remains dangerous for Gaza civilians.