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Key posts

  • Red Cross resumes operations after coming under fire
  • Antisemitism and Islamophobia arrests prolific
  • Assault continues in Gaza City
  • Israel agrees to four-hour pauses in Gaza assault
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Red Cross resumes operations after coming under fire

The Red Cross has resumed patient escorts to the Gaza border after it temporarily halted operations after its convoy came under fire earlier this week, the head of its Gaza office said on Thursday, describing the incident as “deeply alarming” and calling for safety guarantees.

The International Committee of the Red Cross, a neutral organisation based in Geneva, has escorted patients and freed hostages out of Gaza since the Israel-Hamas conflict began more than a month ago and is protected under international humanitarian law.

“The ICRC was targeted the day before yesterday, and that is unacceptable,” William Schomburg, the head of the ICRC delegation in Gaza told Reuters.

“We took a pause yesterday,” he added, saying it had resumed patient transfers from Gaza City to the Egypt border crossing on Thursday.

Antisemitism and Islamophobia arrests prolific

Locally, Victoria Police have arrested at least 10 people over alleged antisemitism and Islamophobia since October 7, according to figures obtained by The Age.

Of the 84 reports made in Victoria since Hamas’ deadly attack on southern Israel and the Netanyahu government’s subsequent decision to launch airstrikes and a ground invasion in Gaza, 72 were for antisemitism and 12 were for Islamophobia.

Premier Jacinta Allan has called for empathy amid a spate of arrests relating to antisemitism and Islamophobia.Credit: The Age

Premier Jacinta Allan has urged people to provide love and support to everyone grieving over the violence in the Middle East.

Read more here.

Assault continues in Gaza City

Israeli forces fought Hamas militants among ruined buildings in the north of the Gaza Strip, inching their way closer to two big hospitals as the plight of civilians in the besieged Palestinian territory worsened, Reuters reports.

Thousands more Palestinians were fleeing from the embattled north to the south along a perilous frontline path littered with bodies after Israel told them to evacuate, people on the route said.

But many are staying in the north, packed into the Al Shifa Hospital and al-Quds Hospital as ground battles rage around them and more Israeli air strikes rain down from above.

Smoke rises following Israeli airstrikes on Gaza City, Thursday.Credit: AP

Israel says its Hamas foes have command centres embedded in the hospitals.

In Doha, the heads of the CIA and Israel’s Mossad intelligence agency met with the prime minister of Qatar to discuss a possible deal over hostages, a US official said, speaking on condition of anonymity. Qatar has served as a mediator with Hamas in the past.

In Paris, officials from about 80 countries and organisations were meeting to coordinate humanitarian aid to Gaza and find ways to help wounded civilians escape the siege, now in its second month.

“Without a ceasefire, lifting of siege and indiscriminate bombarding and warfare, the haemorrhage of human lives will continue,” Jan Egeland, Secretary General of the Norwegian Refugee Council, said before the White House announcement.

Islamic Jihad group in Gaza shows new hostage video

The armed wing of the Palestinian group Islamic Jihad in Gaza released a video on Thursday showing an elderly woman and a young boy who were among about 240 hostages seized by militant gunmen who attacked Israel on October 7.

It said it was prepared to release the two for humanitarian and medical reasons once appropriate conditions were met. It did not give further details. Israel made no immediate comment.

The vast majority of hostages are believed to be in the hands of Hamas, but Islamic Jihad, a smaller militant group in Gaza that is allied to the territory’s ruling movement, has said previously it held at least 30 captives.

In the video, the elderly woman said she missed her children. “I hope I will manage to see you next week. We are happy and healthy and we want everyone to be happy,” she said, seated in a wheelchair.

The video is the third film of hostages to be released by Gaza militants, who have so far freed four captives – the last couple a pair of 85-year-old women who returned to Israel on October 23.

With Reuters

Israel agrees to four-hour pauses in Gaza assault

Good morning. I’m Adam Carey and I’ll be running our live blog on the ongoing conflict in Gaza until about midday. In news in this morning, Israel has agreed to pause its operations in Gaza’s north for four hours a day, according to the United States.

The pauses will allow people to flee along two humanitarian corridors into the enclave’s south, the White House said.

Palestinian officials say more than 10,000 residents of Gaza have been killed since Israel retaliated against terror group Hamas’ deadly incursion into southern Israel on October 7, in which gunmen killed about 1400 Israelis.

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