Police investigation reveals Hamas had not planned to attack music festival: Israeli report

KHAN YOUNIS, Gaza Strip: The World Health Organization (WHO) said 31 babies have been safely transported from Shifa Hospital to another hospital in southern Gaza.
The evacuation took place on Sunday, and the babies are to be transferred to a third hospital across the border in Egypt.
They were among scores of critically ill and wounded patients stranded at Shifa after Israeli forces fought their way to the hospital and entered it last Wednesday.

The fate of the newborns at Shifa Hospital had captured global attention after the release of images showing doctors trying to keep them warm. A power blackout had shut down incubators and other equipment, and food, water and medical supplies ran out as Israeli forces battled Palestinian militants outside the hospital.
A WHO team that visited the hospital on Saturday said 291 patients were still there, including 32 babies in extremely critical condition, trauma patients with severely infected wounds, and others with spinal injuries who are unable to move.
Medhat Abbas, a spokesman for the ministry, confirmed the evacuation of 30 babies. The Palestinian Red Crescent rescue service said it evacuated 31 babies in coordination with UN bodies. It said they would be transferred to a hospital run by the United Arab Emirates in the Egyptian border city of Rafah. There was no immediate comment from the WHO, and it was not clear if all the babies had been evacuated.
Underscoring the perils of movement inside the coastal enclave, Doctors Without Borders said a convoy of clearly marked vehicles carrying staff and their families was fired upon in Gaza City on Saturday. A relative of a staff member was killed and another person was wounded, the aid group said.
‘Terrified patients’
About 2,500 displaced people, mobile patients and medical staff left Shifa Hospital on Saturday morning, the WHO said. It said 25 medical staff remained, along with the patients.
“Patients and health staff with whom they spoke were terrified for their safety and health, and pleaded for evacuation,” the agency said, describing Shifa as a death zone.
Israel has long alleged that Hamas maintains a sprawling command post inside and under Shifa, part of its wider accusation that the fighters use civilians as cover. It has portrayed the hospital as a key target in its war to end Hamas’ rule in Gaza following the militant group’s wide-ranging attack into southern Israel six weeks ago, which killed over 1,200 people and triggered the war.
Hamas and hospital staff deny the allegations, and critics have held up the hospital as a symbol of what they say is Israel’s reckless endangerment of civilians. Thousands have been killed in Israeli strikes, and there are severe shortages of food, water, medicine and fuel in the besieged territory.
Israeli troops who have been based at the hospital and searching its grounds for days say they have found guns and other weapons, and showed reporters the entrance to a tunnel shaft. The Associated Press couldn’t independently verify Israel’s findings.
Heavy fighting in the north
Heavy clashes were reported in the built-up Jabaliya refugee camp in northern Gaza overnight into Sunday. “There was the constant sound of gunfire and tank shelling,” Yassin Sharif, who is sheltering in a UN-run hospital in the camp, said by phone. “It was another night of horror.”
Dozens of people were killed in what witnesses described as an Israeli airstrike on a crowded UN shelter in the Jabaliya camp the day before, according to witnesses. AP photos from a local hospital showed more than 20 bodies wrapped in bloodstained sheets.
The Israeli military, which has repeatedly called on Palestinians to leave northern Gaza, said only that its troops were active in the area “with the aim of hitting terrorists.”
More than 11,500 Palestinians have been killed, according to Palestinian health authorities. Another 2,700 have been reported missing, believed buried under rubble. The count does not differentiate between civilians and combatants; Israel says it has killed thousands of militants.
Hostages for aid
Around 1,200 people have been killed on the Israeli side, mainly civilians killed during Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack, in which the group dragged some 240 captives back into Gaza and shattered Israel’s sense of security. The military says 52 Israeli soldiers have been killed.
Hamas has released four hostages, Israel has rescued one, and the bodies of two hostages were found near Shifa in an area where there had been heavy fighting.
Israel, the United States and the Arabian Gulf nation of Qatar, which mediates with Hamas, have been negotiating over a hostage release for weeks. On Saturday, a senior White House official suggested it would need to be completed before the entry of large amounts of desperately needed aid.
“A release of a large number of hostages would result in a significant pause in fighting … and a massive surge of humanitarian relief,” Brett McGurk, the White House’s National Security Council coordinator for the Middle East, said at a conference in Bahrain.
Qatar’s prime minister, Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani, said Sunday he was “confident” a deal would soon be reached, telling reporters that the “the sticking points, honestly, at this stage are more practical, logistical.”
Wind, rain hits camp tents
More than two-thirds of Gaza’s population of 2.3 million have fled their homes. The UN agency for Palestinian refugees, known as UNRWA, is struggling to provide basic services to hundreds of thousands of people sheltering in and around schools and other facilities. Their misery has worsened in recent days with the arrival of winter, as cold winds and driving rain buffet tent camps.
Over the weekend, Israel allowed UNRWA to import enough fuel to continue humanitarian operations for another couple of days, and to keep Internet and telephone systems running.
Israel cut off all fuel imports at the start of the war, causing Gaza’s sole power plant and most water treatment systems to shut down, leaving most residents without electricity or running water.
Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said Saturday that Israel’s forces were expanding operations in Gaza City. “With every passing day, there are fewer places where Hamas terrorists can operate,” he said, adding that the militants would learn that in southern Gaza “in the coming days.”
His comments were the clearest indication yet that the military plans to expand its offensive to southern Gaza, where Israel has told Palestinian civilians to seek refuge. Israel has repeatedly struck what it says are militant targets across the south, often killing civilians.
The evacuation zone is already crammed with displaced civilians, and it was not clear where they would go if the offensive moved closer. Egypt has refused to accept any influx of Palestinian refugees, in part because of fears that Israel would not allow them to return.

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