Officials are reporting that progress is being made in negotiations for the release of the approximately 240 hostages held by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip. However, the details and timing of any potential agreement are still unclear.
As demonstrators call for the return of 40 children among the hostages, a deal could involve the release of Palestinian prisoners and a temporary pause in hostilities. Qatar’s Prime Minister, Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani, described the remaining obstacles to a deal as minor, while the European Union’s foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, expressed cautious optimism.
The negotiations are said to also involve the exchange of women and children from both sides. Any agreement would need approval from Israel’s cabinet, which could take up to 72 hours.
In other news, more than two dozen premature infants from Gaza’s damaged Al-Shifa hospital have been transported to hospitals in Egypt due to a lack of electricity in the incubators. The Palestinian Red Crescent reported that three of the infants were in stable condition and did not require transfer. Local television aired footage of ambulances carrying the infants across the border into Egypt.
Meanwhile, reports have emerged of another hospital being targeted in Israeli shelling in northern Gaza. The health ministry in Gaza claims that at least a dozen people were killed at the Indonesian Hospital, but NPR has been unable to verify the casualties.
The Israeli army stated that its forces were fired upon from within the building and responded accordingly. Israel has faced criticism for targeting medical facilities, with the military releasing video evidence of Hamas using Al-Shifa hospital as a base of operations and claims of hostages being held there.
The situation remains tense, with both sides continuing to exchange fire. Jordan has announced that it will send a field hospital to Gaza to replace those damaged by Israeli airstrikes, and the United Nations Secretary-General, António Guterres, has expressed deep shock at the killing of civilians at schools used as shelters in Gaza.