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Israel bombards Gaza, with biggest functioning hospital under siege

Israel bombards Gaza, with biggest functioning hospital under siege

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Israel bombards Gaza, with biggest functioning hospital under siege

Gaza’s largest functioning hospital was under siege on Friday in Israel’s war with Islamist group Hamas, leaving patients and doctors helpless in the chaos, as warplanes struck Rafah, the last refuge for Palestinians in the enclave, officials said.

Israeli forces said on Thursday they had raided the medical complex as footage showed shouting and gunfire in dark corridors in an incursion that raised fresh alarm over the fate of hundreds of patients and medical workers and the many displaced Palestinians who had sought shelter there from the fighting.

Israel’s military called the raid on Nasser Hospital “precise and limited” and said it was based on information that Hamas fighters were hiding and had kept hostages in the facility, with some bodies of captives possibly there.

The Health Ministry in Gaza said on Friday that five patients at the hospital died in intensive care as a result of power outages and the cessation of oxygen supply.

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The World Health Organization (WHO) said on Friday it was trying to reach Nasser Hospital, after the Israeli raid.

“There are still critically injured and sick patients that are inside the hospital,” WHO spokesperson Tarik Jasarevic said.

“There is an urgent need to deliver fuel to ensure the continuation of the provision of life-saving services… We are trying to get access because people who are still in Nasser medical complex need assistance.”

The Israeli military said troops had detained more than 20 Palestinians it said had been involved in the Oct. 7 attack in the raid and detained dozens of others for questioning. It said soldiers had also found ammunition and weapons in the hospital.

The Gaza Health Ministry said earlier this week that there were 10,000 people sheltering at the hospital but many had left because they feared the Israeli raid was imminent.

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The war began when Iran-backed Hamas sent fighters into Israel, killing 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and seizing 253 hostages, according to Israeli tallies.

Israel’s air and ground offensive has since devastated tiny, Gaza, killing 28,775 people, also mostly civilian, according to Palestinian health authorities, and forcing nearly all of its more than 2 million inhabitants from their homes.

ALL EYES ON HOSPITAL
Officials and witnesses say Israel has hit schools, universities, state institutions and mosques in its bombardment of Hamas, the Palestinian group that runs the enclave where its leaders — whom Israel has vowed to hunt down — are believed to be hiding, possibly in a complex underground tunnel network.

Gaza’s health authorities said Israel had forced out dozens of staff, patients, displaced people and families of medical staff sheltering in the Nasser hospital.

Power generators have stopped, and electricity has been completely cut off from the compound.

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Two pregnant women had given birth “under tough conditions, no water, no food and no way of warming them up,” in such cold weather, said ministry spokesman Ashraf Al-Qidra.

The Gaza health ministry said Israeli forces inside Nasser Hospital forced women and children to go into the maternity department, which it had turned into a military area. Women were not allowed to take in any of their belongings.

There is mounting international concern the humanitarian crisis in Gaza could worsen sharply if the Israeli military decides to storm the southern border city of Rafah, where more than half of the densely populated enclave’s people are taking shelter in anticipation of a major attack.

An Israeli air strike hit two houses in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, killing 10 people and wounding several others, health officials said.

Rida Sobh, mourning the death of her sister in one of the Rafah strikes, said the house had been totally destroyed in the midnight attack, which also killed all her sister’s children, her aunt, husband and cousin.

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“Rafah is not safe, everywhere in the Gaza Strip is a target, don’t say that Rafah is safe, from Beit Hanoun to Rafah, it is all dangerous, there is no safety at all, don’t say that there is – safety is only with God, but here there is no security at all.”

In Khan Younis, Israeli planes and tanks continued to bomb areas across the city.

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Thai court accepts complaint seeking PM’s removal over minister’s appointment

Thai court accepts complaint seeking PM’s removal over minister’s appointment

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Thai court accepts complaint seeking PM's removal over minister's appointment

Thailand’s Constitutional Court accepted a complaint on Thursday seeking to remove Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin over his cabinet appointment of a lawyer who served jail time, in a new legal setback for the government.

The decision comes after three ministers quit in recent weeks as the government battles to jumpstart an underperforming economy and find funds to deliver on a delayed election promise of cash handouts for 50 million people.

The court chose not to suspend Srettha from duty pending a verdict, as was sought by 40 senators who had complained Pichit Chuenban fell short of moral and ethical standards for ministers set out in the constitution.

Srettha has 15 days to file his defence in court. “The prime minister is focused and determined, this will not affect his work,” said government spokesperson Chai Wacharonke.

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Pichit’s qualifications prior to becoming a minister in the prime minister’s office had been carefully vetted and the appointment was in line with the law, he added.

For decades a close aide of the politically influential Shinawatra family, Pichit resigned on Tuesday in an effort to insulate Srettha from the court case.

He had been jailed for six months in 2008 for contempt of court after being accused of a bid to bribe court officials with 2 million baht ($55,218) placed in a grocery paper bag, which he denied. His law license was suspended for five years.

INFLUENTIAL CLIENTS

As a lawyer, Pichit fought, and lost, big court cases against former premiers Yingluck Shinawatra and billionaire Thaksin Shinawatra, who has been a towering figure in Thailand for more than two decades.

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Thaksin is a close ally of Srettha and founder of his ruling Pheu Thai party, which together with its predecessors has won all but one Thai election since 2001.

The court gave no timeframe for a decision in the case.

If it dismisses Srettha, a new government must be formed and Pheu Thai would need to put forward a new candidate for premier to be voted on by a parliament in which it is not the biggest party.

VReal estate mogul Srettha was elected by the legislature in August last year after weeks of political deadlock, following a deal with parties and lawmakers allied with the royalist military, which staged coups against Shinawatra-backed governments in 2006 and 2014.

Government critics say Pichit got the job thanks to his close ties with Thaksin. The tycoon still holds significant sway in politics, despite officially being retired and having spent 15 years in self-imposed exile until his return last year.

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The government has said Pichit was picked because he was suitable.

Thaksin, who was convicted of conflicts of interest and abuse of power and was released from detention on parole in February, will learn next week if he is to be prosecuted for an alleged insult to the powerful monarchy.

He has denied wrongdoing in the case over comments made in an interview a decade ago.

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Putin to hold two-day talks with Lukashenko in Belarus, says Kremlin

Putin to hold two-day talks with Lukashenko in Belarus, says Kremlin

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Putin to hold two-day talks with Lukashenko in Belarus, says Kremlin

 Russian President Vladimir Putin will hold wide-ranging talks with his Belarusian counterpart Alexander Lukashenko in Minsk on Thursday and Friday, the Kremlin said.

Russia and Belarus are close allies, with Minsk set to take part in exercises aimed at simulating preparations for the launch of tactical nuclear weapons this month.

Belarus has offered Russia logistical support during its conflict with Ukraine, with Russian forces entering Ukraine from Belarusian territory during their initial offensive against Kyiv in February 2022.

Separately, Belarusian state news agency Belta reported on Thursday that Lukashenko had appointed Pavel Muraveyko as the new chief of the Belarusian army’s general staff. 

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Thai hospital says 20 people from Singapore Airlines flight remain in intensive care

Thai hospital says 20 people from Singapore Airlines flight remain in intensive care

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Thai hospital says 20 people from Singapore Airlines flight remain in intensive care

Twenty people who were aboard a Singapore Airlines flight that hit severe turbulence and diverted to Bangkok for an emergency landing on Tuesday remain in intensive care, a hospital official said on Thursday.

Of the 40 people on the flight still under treatment, 22 patients have spinal cord injuries and six have brain and skull injuries, Adinun Kittiratanapaibool, Director of Bangkok’s Samitivej Srinakarin Hospital told reporters.

Adinun had said 41 people were still under treatment, but later said one person had been discharged. One passenger died of a suspected heart attack and dozens were injured after Singapore Airlines flight SQ321 encountered what the airline described as sudden, extreme turbulence while flying over Myanmar on Tuesday. 

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