Israel and Hamas played down chances of a breakthrough in ceasefire talks soon, a day after US President Joe Biden said it was imminent.
Here’s how things stand on Tuesday, February 28, 2024:
Fighting and humanitarian crisis
- Gaza’s Ministry of Health said 96 people were killed and 172 wounded over the past 24 hours, in its most recent daily update.
- The Palestine Red Crescent Society also released footage of its ambulance teams searching for survivors under the rubble at the scene of an Israeli air attack in the city of Deir el-Balah in central Gaza.
- Meanwhile, a two-year-old Palestinian child called Khaled died after eating bread made from animal feed in the northern Gaza Strip.
- The UN Population Fund said Al-Helal Al-Emairati Maternity Hospital in Gaza’s southernmost town of Rafah reported that newborns were dying because mothers were unable to get prenatal or postnatal care.
- Now the prospect of an invasion of Rafah has prompted global alarm over the fate of nearly 1.4 million civilians trapped there. [I’m afraid we’ve been oscillating between 1.4 and 1.5 million]
Regional tensions and diplomacy
- On Tuesday, Israel and Hamas played down chances of an imminent breakthrough in talks for a ceasefire in Gaza, after US President Joe Biden said Israel had agreed to pause its offensive during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan if a deal is reached to release some captives.
- Negotiators from the US, Egypt and Qatar have been working to broker a ceasefire that would see Hamas free some of the captives it holds in exchange for the release of Palestinian prisoners.
- And as the war continues, with UN truck deliveries of aid hampered by the lack of safe corridors, Egypt, Jordan, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and France airdropped food, medical supplies and other aid into Gaza on Tuesday.
- At a beach in southern Gaza, boxes of supplies dropped from military aircraft drifted down on parachutes as thousands of Palestinians ran along the sand to retrieve them.
- Separately, in the US, President Joe Biden renewed his call for legislators to approve a foreign aid bill that includes $14bn for Israel as well as assistance for Ukraine and Taiwan.
Violence in the occupied West Bank
- In the West Bank, the Israeli military stormed the city of Jenin and the Jenin refugee camp, the Wafa news agency reported.
- Wafa said that Israeli forces, supported by military vehicles and bulldozers, have destroyed infrastructure including roads in both the city and the camp.