Chaos spreads across Gaza as Hamas control of services collapses

WHO warns on ‘catastrophic’ impact to Gaza’s health system as Qatari PM says Israeli bombardment is ‘narrowing window’ for new truce

As fighting continued in the north and south of Gaza on the 57th day of the war, there are increasing signs of chaos spreading across the coastal enclave. Hamas control of government services has collapsed and desperate residents have been filmed jumping on humanitarian aid lorries, to steal food, flour and water.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) warned that the impact of the Israel-Hamas conflict on Gaza’s healthcare sector has been “catastrophic”. WHO director general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said conditions were ideal for the spread of deadly diseases but warned that it would be all but impossible for the WHO to improve the situation given the ongoing fighting.

Israel expects to complete the military conquest of all of northern Gaza in the coming week, although mopping up operations and destroying the vast Hamas tunnel network will take weeks. As Israeli troops pushed deeper into Khan Younis, the main city in southern Gaza, residents were told by Israel to leave the city centre in order to avoid the “difficult fighting” there.

The Hamas-run Gaza health ministry says about 18,000 Palestinians have been killed since the war started on October 7th. 1,200 people were killed in Israel and 240 kidnapped in the Hamas attack on southern Israel.


After the United States vetoed a United Nations Security Council resolution calling for an immediate ceasefire, prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu criticised world leaders. “You cannot on the one hand support the elimination of Hamas and on other pressure us to end the war, which would prevent the elimination of Hamas,” he said.

Hamas also claimed that its fighters had partially or fully destroyed 180 Israeli personnel carriers, tanks and bulldozers in 10 days since fighting resumed in Gaza. Hamas claimed that the detainees featured in Israeli video clips in recent days in their underwear, some blindfolded with their hands tied, were not militants. “Showing pictures of defenceless citizens after their arrest and placing weapons next to them are intended to create a false victory over the resistance,” a Hamas statement said.

Israeli military sources claimed that 30 per cent of the men shown in the images were Hamas members and that to date about 700 Hamas fighters had been captured in Gaza. “In the past few days, dozens of Hamas terrorists have surrendered to our forces,” said Mr Netanyahu. “I say to the Hamas terrorists: It’s over. Don’t die for [Hamas leader Yahya] Sinwar. Surrender – now!”

Qatari prime minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani said Doha would continue its efforts to pressure both sides into a ceasefire but warned that Israel’s bombardment of Gaza is “narrowing the window” for a new truce. Israel said on Sunday that security agencies in Cyprus and the Mossad foiled a plan by Iranian terrorists to carry out attacks against Israeli and Jewish targets in Cyprus.

On Israel’s northern border, Israeli jets attacked Hizbullah targets in south Lebanon, including a command centre, rocket launchers and military compounds, and a militant squad that tried to launch anti-tank missiles was hit close to the border. A number of Hizbullah drones were intercepted over the Galilee.

Serious differences of opinion emerged in a 50-minute phone call Sunday between Mr Netanyahu and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin. Mr Netanyahu criticised what he termed the “dangerous co-operation” between Russia and Iran. The Houthis, Shia allies of Iran in Yemen, announced a maritime blockade against Israel, threatening to attack any ships destined for Israeli ports for as long as Gaza’s supply of food and medicine is hampered by the war. Israeli officials say that the Houthis’ threat is against the West as a whole.

  • Sign up for push alerts and have the best news, analysis and comment delivered directly to your phone
  • Find The Irish Times on WhatsApp and stay up to date
  • Our In The News podcast is now published daily – Find the latest episode here
Mark Weiss

Mark Weiss

Mark Weiss is a contributor to The Irish Times based in Jerusalem