Netanyahu establishes emergency unity government and war cabinet

Netanyahu establishes emergency unity government and war cabinet

Shafaq News / The Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, has announced an emergency wartime government, as pressure mounts for the establishment of corridors to allow aid and medicine into the Gaza Strip and to allow civilians to leave.

Benny Gantz, a senior opposition figure and former defence minister, joined the government for the duration of the conflict.

Netanyahu, Gantz and Yoav Gallant, the defence minister, are forming a “war cabinet” as Israeli troops continued to build in the south of the country in preparation for an expected ground invasion.

Netanyahu’s extreme rightwing coalition partners will continue to serve in the government. The country’s chief opposition leader, Yair Lapid, was invited to join the new cabinet but did not immediately respond to the offer.

Inside Gaza, the enclave’s sole power station ran out of fuel, adding to the looming catastrophe particularly for hospitals. “Soon all services vital for the survival of the population, including hospitals, will no longer function,” said the Mezan centre for human rights in Gaza.

Mahmoud Matar, a surgeon in Gaza, said hospitals were “completely overwhelmed with the number of injuries and the number of dead”.

He told the BBC: “The smell of death is all around now in Gaza. There is no water, there will be no electricity, and we have very bad network connection. I am currently looking for water to drink.”

The UN humanitarian agency OCHA described a “mass displacement” in the Gaza Strip, with more than 263,000 people fleeing their homes. It said that number was expected to rise further.

The death toll that began in Saturday’s carnage, carried out by Hamas militants and airstrikes on Gaza by Israeli forces, rose again.

Israel said 1,200 people had been killed and more than 2,700 injured as bodies were still being recovered from towns and communities near the Gaza border. Israel believes Hamas is holding about 150 Israeli hostages inside Gaza.

(The Guardian)

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