News, fighting in Gaza, deaths and more

News, fighting in Gaza, deaths and more

The CIA chief will hold talks with regional leaders on a possible deal to release the hostages. This is the latest news

CIA Director Bill Burns is expected to meet with Israeli, Egyptian and Qatari officials to discuss a deal that would ensure the release of hostages held by Hamas.

The meetings come amid intense debate over the parameters of a new deal linking the release of hostages and an end to fighting in Gaza. These meetings are expected to take place in Europe.

US officials said they were focusing on freeing the hostages after a leaked recording of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's alleged criticism of Qatar sparked anger in the Gulf state.

Here's what you need to know:

Deadly blasts: At least 20 people were killed and dozens wounded when Israeli airstrikes struck an area near Gaza City where people were waiting for aid, according to the Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry. At least 25,900 Palestinians have been killed and 64,000 wounded by Israeli attacks in Gaza since October 7, the Palestinian Ministry of Health in Ramallah said Thursday.

Growing Crisis: 14 of Gaza's 36 hospitals are partially functional and access to some is impossible due to the conflict, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said, citing the World Health Organization. Also, Rafah, in southern Gaza, now houses more than 50% of the enclave's population, and people face poor sanitation and increased hunger, according to the UN.

“Worst case scenario”: Surgeons at MedGlobal, a humanitarian group in Gaza, don't have the resources to anesthetize patients while cleaning their wounds, said Dr. John Kahler, the group's American co-founder. Kahler, who has provided humanitarian aid to Yemen from Haiti, called Gaza a “soul-crushing event” and “the worst situation he has ever seen.”

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Leak Denial: Families of hostages in Gaza have denied leaking a recording of a meeting that appeared to criticize Qatar, whose officials record the meetings, saying families should leave their phones at the door. Netanyahu's office did not immediately respond to CNN's question about who released the audio that angered Doha. The White House on Thursday reiterated its gratitude for Qatar's role in the mediation.

Genocide Case: Israel has declassified more than 30 documents, including summaries of cabinet meetings, as part of its defense against South Africa's genocide charges before the International Court of Justice, an Israeli official told CNN. The ICJ is due to announce its ruling on the case on Friday, which could call for a ceasefire in the conflict. Judgments of the International Court of Justice are legally binding, but the Court has no mechanism to enforce its decisions. A final verdict on whether Israel is committing genocide in Gaza could take months or years.

Arzu Daniel

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