Israel will pay a “heavy price” if it expands its war on Hamas to assassinate militant leaders living in Turkey or elsewhere outside the Gaza Strip, Turkish President Erdogan says.
Hamas leaders have routinely sought safe havens in Qatar, Lebanon, Iran, Russia and Turkey. Israel has generally refrained from pursuing them to avoid diplomatic upheaval. But since the murderous foray into Israel on Oct. 7, Israel has warned that no place will be safe for Hamas leaders. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu recently said he instructed the Israeli spy agency Mossad to “act against the heads of Hamas wherever they are.”
Erdogan warned that Israel would find Turkish intelligence and security agencies a powerful adversary.
“If they dare to take such a step against Turkey and Turkish people, they will be doomed to pay a price which they cannot recover from,” Erdogan told Turkey’s Anadolu News Agency on Tuesday. “Those who attempt such a thing should not forget that the consequences can be extremely serious.”
∎ The Israeli military said it regretted the incident involving a strike on a Lebanese army base that killed one soldier and wounded several others. Israel has been clashing with Iran-backed Hexbollah militants based in Lebanon but “Lebanese army forces were not the target of the attack,” the Israeli military said in a statement.
∎ The Gaza Health Ministry said the Palestinian death toll has surpassed 16,200; more than 42,000 people have been wounded. The ministry said 70% of the dead were women and children. Israel has not disputed the numbers but says it has killed more than 5,000 militants and accuses Hamas of using civilians as human shields.
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Fuel and medical supplies have reached critically low levels at Al-Aqsa Hospital in the central Gaza Strip due to road closures despite the hundreds of patients needing emergency care due to the Israeli bombardment, Doctors Without Borders warned. The hospital has been receiving on average 150 to 200 war-wounded patients daily. Without electricity, ventilators would cease to function, blood donations would have to stop, the sterilization of surgical instruments would be impossible, the group said.
“There are 700 patients admitted in the hospital now, with new patients arriving all the time,” said Marie-Aure Perreaut Revial, the group’s emergency coordinator. “We are running out of essential supplies to treat them.”
Almost 1.9 million people, or 85% of the Gaza Strip population, have been forced from their homes since the war began two months ago, the U.N. Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees says. About 1.2 million of them are living in United Nations-provided shelters, the agency says. The death toll of UNRWA workers has climbed to 130.
U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Türk once again urged a cease-fire, citing the “utter, deepening horror” in Gaza.
“As an immediate step, I call for an urgent cessation of hostilities and the release of all hostages,” he said. “The international community needs to insist with one voice on a cease-fire, immediately, on human rights and humanitarian grounds.”
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Contributing: The Associated Press