News, fighting in Gaza, deaths and more

The CIA chief will hold talks with regional leaders about a possible agreement for the release of the hostages. this is the latest news

CIA Director Bill Burns is expected to meet with officials from Israel, Egypt and Qatar to discuss an agreement that would ensure the release of hostages held by Hamas, according to a US official familiar with the plans.

The meetings are taking place amid intense debate over the parameters of a new agreement that would link the release of the hostages to an end to the fighting in Gaza. According to the official, the meetings are expected to be held in Europe.

US officials said they were focused on securing the release of the hostages as the Gulf nation was angered by a leaked recording of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu purportedly criticizing Qatar.

Here’s what you need to know:

Deadly bomb blast: At least 20 people were killed and dozens injured in Israeli bombardment of an area near Gaza City where people were waiting to receive aid, according to the Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry. The Palestinian Health Ministry in Ramallah said Thursday that at least 25,900 Palestinians have been killed and another 64,000 wounded in Israeli strikes in Gaza since October 7.

Growing crisis: According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), citing the World Health Organization, 14 of Gaza’s 36 hospitals are partially functioning, and access to some is impossible due to the conflict. Additionally, according to the United Nations, Rafah in southern Gaza is now home to more than 50% of the enclave’s population, and people are facing deteriorating health conditions and increasing hunger.

“Worst Case”: Surgeons at humanitarian group MedGlobal in Gaza do not have the resources to anesthetize patients while cleaning their wounds, said Dr. John Kahler, the group’s American co-founder. Kahler, who has provided humanitarian aid from Haiti to Yemen, called Gaza a “soul-shattering event” and “by far the worst situation” he has ever seen.

Denial of the leak: Families of Gaza hostages have denied leaking a recording of a meeting in which Netanyahu appears to criticize Qatar, saying its officials record meetings while families should leave their phones at the door. Netanyahu’s office did not immediately respond to CNN’s question about who leaked the audio that angered Doha. The White House on Thursday reiterated its gratitude for Qatar’s role in the mediation.

Genocide Case: Israel declassified more than 30 documents, including summaries of cabinet meetings, as part of its defense against South Africa’s genocide charge before the International Court of Justice, an Israeli official told CNN. The ICJ is due to announce a verdict on the case on Friday, which could lead to a call for a ceasefire in the conflict. The decisions of the International Court of Justice are legally binding, but the court has no mechanism to enforce its decisions. A final decision on whether Israel is committing genocide in Gaza may take months or years.

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