Israel’s war on Gaza: List of key events, day 186

PM Netanyahu says a date has been set for a ground offensive in Rafah after Israeli troops withdraw from nearby Khan Younis.

A Palestinian man carries his child on his shoulders
A Palestinian man carries his child on his shoulders as he walks past damaged buildings in Khan Younis [AFP]

Here’s how things stand on Tuesday, April 9, 2024:

Fighting and humanitarian crisis

  • Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Monday that a date has been set for a ground offensive in the southern Gaza city of Rafah, where about 1.4 million displaced Palestinians are sheltering.
  • Israeli troops withdrew on Sunday from Khan Younis, another city in the southern Gaza Strip, ending a key phase of the war. Defence officials said they are regrouping before a push into Rafah.
  • In response, Hamas spokesperson Sami Abu Zahry told Al Jazeera that the invasion threat “raises questions about the purpose of resuming negotiations”.
  • Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City has been left “completely non-functional” after a deadly, weeks-long Israeli siege, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reported in its latest update on Gaza.
  • The Palestinian death toll from the war has surpassed 33,200 with nearly 76,000 people wounded, Gaza’s Ministry of Health said on Monday. Women and children make up two-thirds of the dead.

Diplomacy and geopolitical tensions

  • France’s foreign minister said on Tuesday that pressure, and possibly sanctions, must be imposed on Israel to open crossings to get humanitarian aid to Palestinians in Gaza.

  • “There must be levers of influence, and there are multiple levers, going up to sanctions, to let humanitarian aid cross checkpoints,” Stephane Sejourne told RFI radio and France 24 television.

  • Turkey restricted the export of 54 of its products to Israel after Israel rejected a Turkish request for its military cargo planes to join a humanitarian aid operation for Gaza.
  • Pope Francis met with relatives of captives taken by Hamas on October 7, marking the six-month anniversary of the attacks in southern Israel with an hourlong audience.
  • Germany is facing charges at the top United Nations court for allegedly “facilitating the commission of genocide” against Palestinians in Gaza by providing its ally Israel with military and political help.
  • In Syria, Israeli warplanes targeted military posts and infrastructure on Monday in the Mahaja area.
  • Qatar’s embassy in Washington rejected a statement by James Comer, chairman of the Committee on Oversight and Reform in the United States House of Representatives, that “inaccurately claims” Doha has paid Hamas “$30m per month since 2018”.
  • Also in the US, former President Donald Trump said any Jewish person who votes for the incumbent, Joe Biden, in November’s presidential election “does not love Israel and frankly, should be spoken to”.
  • US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin asked Israeli Defence Minister Yoav Gallant about what the Israeli military is doing to investigate the “tragic strike” that killed seven aid workers in Gaza last week, according to a US Defense Department readout.
  • Disinformation is further compounding Gaza’s crisis, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said in a post on X, calling for international journalists be allowed entry into the enclave.

Violence in the occupied West Bank

  • The Israeli army said its forces shot dead a Palestinian woman in the northern West Bank on Monday after she tried to stab a soldier at a checkpoint.  The army said the incident took place at the Tayasir checkpoint near Tubas.
  • Israeli forces arrested 10 Palestinians in raids across the occupied West Bank on Monday night, the Palestinian news agency Wafa reported.
  • Three young men were arrested and one was injured by Israeli gunfire in the Aqabat Jabr camp east of Jericho, Wafa said. Seven people were also arrested during large Israeli raids in and around Tulkarem, Wafa added.
Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies