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Food Experts Predict ‘Imminent’ Famine in Northern Gaza

WorldFood Experts Predict ‘Imminent’ Famine in Northern Gaza

The acute food shortage in the war-ravaged Gaza Strip has become so severe that “famine is imminent” and the enclave is on the verge of a “major acceleration of deaths and malnutrition,” a report from a global authority on food security and nutrition said on Monday.

The group, the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification global initiative, which was set up in 2004 by U.N. agencies and international relief groups, has sounded the alarm about famine only twice before: in Somalia in 2011 and in South Sudan in 2017.

The warning came as Israeli forces again raided Al-Shifa Hospital in the northern part of the enclave on Monday, in an operation that they said had been aimed at senior Hamas officials who had regrouped on the premises, setting off an hourslong battle that both sides said had resulted in casualties.

The raid at Al-Shifa, in Gaza City, raised questions about the level of control that Israeli forces have over northern Gaza. In December, the Israeli military said it was nearing “full operational control” there.

Taken together, the fighting and the severe food shortage underlined the chaos and desperation in Gaza after 23 weeks of war. The United Nations’ secretary general, António Guterres, renewed his call on Monday for “an immediate humanitarian cease-fire” and said that the report on imminent famine was “an appalling indictment of conditions on the ground for civilians.”

As Israeli negotiators arrived in Qatar for a new round of talks on a cease-fire and the release of hostages held by Hamas and its allies, President Biden had a phone conversation with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel on Monday, according to Jake Sullivan, the president’s national security adviser.

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