The hostile Israel-Gaza agreement believed that it was close to fighting rages

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BEIRUT – Fierce fighting between Israeli forces and Hamas erupted in the Jabalya district of the northern Gaza Strip on Tuesday amid increased speculation that negotiations on the exchange of hostilities and a cessation of hostilities may be reaching their final stages.

The fighting was near the Indonesian Hospital in Gaza, which was hit on Monday and is now trying to evacuate hundreds of staff and patients from the fighting. There were reports that Israeli fighter jets and drones were hitting targets in the area again.

For weeks, there have been reports of ongoing talks between the Israelis and Hamas through the mediation of Qatar and the United States to exchange some of the more than 230 hostages in Gaza for Palestinian prisoners and a multi-day humanitarian halt. in the fight.

Israel, Hamas and the US are nearing a release agreement, senior officials said

Hamas official Izzat al-Rishq said in a statement early on Tuesday that a “peace” deal was imminent and would include the release of hostages in exchange for Palestinian prisoners and would announced by Qatar, but would not provide more details. For his part, President Biden also said Monday that he believed a deal was close.

Qatari Foreign Ministry spokesman Majed al-Ansari said the talks have reached “the closest point” so far.

“The mediation has reached a critical stage and a final stage and has passed the main issues and the main issues and has remained there,” he told a news conference in Doha.

Even as the fighting in Gaza has continued, there have been occasional concessions along Israel’s northern border with Lebanon, where the militant group Hezbollah has a strong presence.

On Tuesday, Lebanon’s state-run National News Agency reported several Israeli strikes on towns and villages and the civil defense said two journalists were among eight people killed, including an 80-year-old woman.

The Israeli military did not immediately respond to a request for comment. He said earlier that his plane hit militants in the border area in Lebanon, and Hezbollah said its fighters were targeting military positions across the border. An increase in fighting between the two has raised fears of a wider conflict.

In addition to the release of hostages, a pause in fighting in Gaza is expected for humanitarian reasons, which could allow the evacuation of facilities captured in the fighting such as the Indonesian Hospital.

Gaza Health Ministry spokesman Ashraf al-Qudra said on Tuesday that no safe passage has yet been provided, and Israeli tanks have surrounded the facility. He said that the ministry is working with the Red Cross to evacuate the injured. “We will not leave the Indonesian Hospital until the last wounded person is evacuated,” he said.

So far, the ministry said that around 120 people have been evacuated from the hospital

The crisis in Gaza’s hospitals has become the focus of the debate over Israel’s tactics in Gaza following the October 7 Hamas attack that killed at least 1,200 people in Israel.

Palestinians say the attacks on hospitals show Israel’s clear disregard for civilian life while the Israelis say they are justified because Hamas is using the hospitals for military purposes.

Al-Shifa Hospital, the largest in the Gaza Strip, has been overrun by Israeli soldiers who are conducting an extensive search for an underground Hamas command center that Israel has long claimed exists.

In an interview with CNN on Monday, the former prime minister of Israel said and defense minister Ehud Barak Israeli engineers said they had first built bunkers under al-Shifa in the 1980s when they controlled Gaza “so that there would be more space for the hospital to operate.”

So far Israel has shown images of a tunnel shaft under the hospital but has yet to show evidence of a main command structure.

The conflict has seen a steady decline in the hospital system in the Gaza Strip, even as casualties have mounted. Gaza’s Ministry of Health put the death toll at just over 11,100 on November 10 after the conflict and recession made it impossible to get money from hospitals.

On Monday, Michael Ryan, the World Health Organization’s emergency director, said that only three hospitals in northern Gaza are still partially functioning with the other 21 completely out of action.

“We are witnessing a complete collapse of the high-level infrastructure of the Gazan health system. It’s just the most basic needs that can be met now,” he said.

Al-Shifa, the large hospital complex that is now largely empty, was once the “total backbone of health service provision in Gaza,” providing advanced medical, cancer, dialysis and trauma services . On Tuesday, its dialysis building was surrounded by the IDF for a second day, the Health Ministry said, adding that parts of the hospital had been destroyed.

At the same time Jordan sent materials and workers on Monday to build a field hospital that should provide some support to the Palestinians – at least in the southern area of ​​the Gaza Strip, in the city of Khan Younis. According to reports from the royal court, the hospital will work in 48 hours and will have 41 beds.

While Israel increasingly describes large parts of northern Gaza as under its control, fighting continues, with the current focus around Jabalya, which takes its -into the largest refugee camp in the Gaza Strip – a dense fortress full of concrete buildings. Hamas has denied that Israeli forces are in undisputed control anywhere.

A video released on November 20 shows the Indonesian Hospital in the northern part of the Gaza Strip, where there are thousands of patients and displaced people, surrounded by Israeli tanks. (Video: Quds News Network via Storyful)

Israel, however, has said that operations could soon expand to other parts of the Gaza Strip. There has been more concern, however, from some host families that not enough is being done to bring their loved ones home.

According to Israeli media reports, some families of the abductees wanted to hear that Israel’s main goal in the war was to return the abductees – rather than simply to destroy Hamas, which ‘ could endanger the enemies.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu held a meeting with 107 family members of hostages on Monday night and tweeted afterward that “Retrieving our abductees is a sacred and noble mission. We never trusted the action. “

Harb and Schemm reported from London. Hazem Balousha in Amman and Heba Mahfouz in Cairo contributed to this report.

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