News, hostage release and more

It’s morning in Gaza. This is what you need to know

The head of the World Health Organization said he is “gravely concerned” after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu approved plans for a military offensive into Gaza’s southernmost city, Rafah.

Netanyahu’s office said the army was preparing to evacuate an estimated 1.4 million people trapped there, many of whom have been displaced from other parts of the enclave. Aid agencies have warned that civilians have nowhere to go.

The operation will last “several weeks,” Netanyahu said this Sunday.

“I repeat: We will work in Rafah. It will take several weeks and it will happen,” Netanyahu said before an interview on CNN’s State of the Union program.

The White House said it had not yet seen any “credible” plan from the Israeli government on how it would protect civilians. CNN previously reported on Gazans who heeded evacuation warnings and were killed in Israeli strikes in areas considered safe by the Israeli Defense Forces.

Here are the latest headlines:

Reaction to Schumer’s speech: US Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer’s warning that Israel risks becoming a “pariah” for its war in Gaza, and his call for new elections in the country sent shock waves from Washington to Jerusalem. Netanyahu called the speech “completely inappropriate” in his interview with CNN. Republican critics echoed this claim, while leading Democrats defended Schumer.

Hostage and ceasefire negotiations: Netanyahu told CNN that despite “extraordinary” demands from Hamas, Israel would continue to try to secure an agreement that would include the release of hostages in exchange for a six-week pause in fighting. A Hamas official said the group’s latest proposal for a ceasefire was “logical”. Mossad Director David Barnia is expected to travel to Doha from Monday for new ceasefire talks with mediators, according to a diplomat familiar with the talks.

protests in israel: Thousands of protesters blocked the streets of Tel Aviv and Jerusalem on Saturday night, demanding the return of hostages in Gaza and the resignation of the Israeli government. Some people called for an election near one of Netanyahu’s homes.

humanitarian aid in gaza: A first aid ship carrying 200 tonnes of desperately needed food has set off for Gaza in new efforts to ease the dire humanitarian crisis. According to the non-profit organization World Central Kitchen, a second ship is being prepared with about 240 tons of food aid. But the shipments and airstrikes resumed Sunday by the United States may not stop aid agencies warning of impending famine in Gaza. Israel’s siege has prevented ground shipments from reaching hungry Gazans.

Arrests in the West Bank: Israeli forces arrested at least 25 Palestinians in the occupied West Bank between Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning, according to the Palestinian Prisoners Society. The IDF denied the group’s claims that prisoners were beaten and otherwise mistreated and said that only six people were arrested.

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