Blinken says 'far too many Palestinians' have died as humanitarian window opens

As the death toll rises to more than 11,000 in Gaza, the UN has urged coordination on humanitarian pauses. ITV News Europe Editor James Mates reports

  • US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has condemned the Gaza death toll on Friday following Israeli strikes that hit near several hospitals in Gaza City.

  • The UN has urged Israel to coordinate with them as the IDF opened a window for an evacuation corridor from north to south Gaza on Friday.

  • Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has asserted the country has no intention to conquer or govern the blockaded territory after the fighting ends.

  • The UN has also warned of Gaza's 'devastating' economic collapse since the conflict started.

  • More than 11,000 Palestinians have been killed over the last month, while 1,400 died after Hamas' October 7 incursion into Israel, according to their respective health ministries.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has said "far too many Palestinians have been killed" in the ongoing war as Israel's military pushes deeper into dense Gazan neighbourhoods.

The bombardment, including airstrikes that hit near several hospitals in Gaza City on Friday, has forced crowds of Palestinian families to flee as a window opened for citizens to escape to the south.

There are varying reports on how long the window will be open for - it was initially believed to be four hours long, but the IDF have said it will open for six hours from 10am-4pm local time.

The Israeli military says Hamas’ main command centre is located in and under the Shifa Hospital complex, though the militant group and hospital staff have denied that claim, stating the military is creating a pretext to strike it.

The territory's largest city is the focus of Israel’s campaign to wipe out Hamas following its deadly October 7 incursion, where more than 1,400 people were killed.

Israeli troops inside Gaza. Credit: AP

The number of Palestinians killed in the war has risen to more than 11,000, including more than 4,500 children, the Hamas-run Health Ministry in Gaza has said.

Growing numbers of people have been living in and around the hospital complex, hoping it will be safer than their homes or United Nations shelters in the north, several of which have been hit repeatedly.

Israeli troops were around two miles from the hospital on Thursday, according to its director.

Blinken condemns Gaza death toll

Speaking from New Delhi, India, Blinken commended Israel for its announcement of daily humanitarian pauses and two humanitarian corridors.

But he also said “there is more that can and should be done to minimise harm to Palestinian civilians."

“Far too many Palestinians have been killed. Far too many have suffered these past weeks," he said.

Antony Blinken speaks to reporters in India on Friday. Credit: AP

"We want to do everything possible to prevent harm to them and to maximise the assistance that gets to them.

"To that end, we'll be continuing to discuss with Israel the concrete steps to be taken to advance these objectives," Blinken added, though he declined to detail the specifics of those steps.

Nearly 80,000 have fled Gaza hospital where they were sheltering

Palestinian evacuees fleeing Gaza’s northern combat zone say thousands of displaced people who had sheltered at the Shifa Hospital in the heart of Gaza City fled following overnight explosions there.

The hospital had sheltered nearly 80,000 people running from heavy ground battles and airstrikes.

Some of those fleeing Friday said only a few hundred badly wounded patients and doctors remained behind.

Doctors at Shifa Hospital could not immediately be reached for comment because of phone and internet connectivity disruptions.

UN urges coordination on humanitarian pauses, Netanyahu says he does not seek to 'govern' Gaza

It comes as the IDF said they would open a six-hour window, from 10am until 4pm local time on Friday, for a humanitarian pause in its assault on Hamas.

Joe Biden's administration announced on Thursday it has secured a second route for civilians to flee fighting from key areas of Israel's military campaign, via a coastal road joining the territory's main north-south highway.

Benjamin Netanyahu has said Israel has no intention of governing Gaza. Credit: AP

Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said the war will continue until Hamas is defeated but said the country has no intention to conquer or govern the blockaded territory after the fighting ends.

In an interview with Fox News, Netanyahu made clear that though Israel had no intention of occupying Gaza, it did envision a radically reshaped territory free of Hamas.

“What we have to see is Gaza demilitarised, deradicalised and rebuilt,” he said.

The crisis in Gaza has worsened significantly since the fighting began.

Gaza's economic collapse is devastating, UN says

A new UN report has painted a stark picture of the devastation of the collapse of the Palestinian economy after a month of war.

The gross domestic product shrank 4% in the West Bank and Gaza in the war’s first month, sending over 400,000 people into poverty - an economic impact unseen in the conflicts Syria and Ukraine, or any previous Israel-Hamas war, the UN said.

The rapid assessment of economic consequences of the Gaza war was released on Thursday by the UN Development Program and the UN Economic and Social Commission for West Asia.

If the war continues for a second month, the UN projects that the Palestinian GDP, which was $20.4 billion before the war began, will drop by 8.4% — a loss of $1.7 billion.

And if the conflict lasts a third month, Palestinian GDP will drop by 12%, with losses of $2.5 billion and more than 660,000 people pushed into poverty, it projects.

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