US Navy Thwarts Houthi Missile, Gaza Hostage Release Talks Progress
A US Navy destroyer intercepted and shot down a ballistic missile fired by Yemen’s Houthi rebels at the USS Laboon in the Red Sea. The incident occurred in the Southern Red Sea. It marks the first attempt on a US destroyer by the Houthi forces, according to the US Central Command. The missile interception reported no injuries or damage.
This latest provocation follows warnings from the Houthis and their allies of retaliation for the US-UK bombing of rebel-held areas in Yemen on Friday. The bombing destroyed only about a quarter of the Houthi missile and drone attack capability.
Houthi supporter Hussain al-Bukhaiti declared a state of war with Israel, vowing to continue attacks on merchant shipping in the waterway south of the Suez Canal. Al-Bukhaiti warned of attacks on Western warships using hundreds of drones and missiles if the US and UK continue to attack Yemen.
UK Foreign Secretary David Cameron stated that the West is prepared to take action if Houthi attacks continue. Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah warned that the US bombing could turn the southern Red Sea into a battleground with missiles, drones, and warships.
Gaza hostage negotiations
Israel has killed over 24,000 Palestinians, predominantly women and children, and displaced 1.9 million. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stated that the war will continue until Hamas is eliminated and hostages are freed.
A new round of negotiations between Israel and Hamas is showing progress in the release of Israeli hostages held in Gaza, Israeli Prime Minister’s office confirmed the agreement on Friday. The implementation is due this week. The discussions between negotiators involve the logistics of delivering medications and aid, with the involvement of both Israel and Hamas.
Hamas took approximately 250 hostages, with at least 130 still in captivity. Hamas and Israel expressed willingness to allow the delivery of vital medicine to the hostages. However, Hamas insists on a temporary ceasefire to move captives from strategically essential locations. Israel has no plans to halt its offensive and believes senior Hamas leaders keep hostages to avoid Israeli airstrikes.
WHO reveals critical shortages
A recent visit by the World Health Organization (WHO) to two major health facilities in Gaza uncovered severe conditions. Al-Aqsa Hospital saw the withdrawal of Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) and two other aid organisations earlier this month. The hospital is now understaffed, with only 12 health workers remaining. It constitutes 10% of its workforce. The emergency department has only two doctors, which led to the suspension of maternity services.
The WHO’s inspection also highlighted the strain on the 360-bed Nasser Medical Complex in Khan Younis. The medical complex accommodates 700 patients, double its standard capacity. Approximately 7,000 displaced Palestinians seek shelter from Israeli bombing at the Nasser Medical Complex.
Palestinian PM appeals to ICJ for urgent action
Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh has called for urgent intervention from the International Court of Justice (ICJ). He urged the court to order Israel to halt its military campaign in Gaza. Shtayyeh asserted that Israel must bear full responsibility for the destruction in Gaza and the lives lost.
The ICJ recently heard arguments accusing Israel of committing genocidal acts against Palestinians in Gaza. The court is expected to decide whether to order Israel to take provisional measures to protect Palestinians, which could lead to a cessation of the 101-day military campaign. While a final ruling on the genocide case may take years, a decision on provisional measures could be anticipated as soon as possible, according to ICJ President Judge Joan Donoghue.
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