Benjamin Netanyahu to undergo hernia surgery

The Israeli prime minister will be fully sedated for the operation

Barney Davis
Sunday 31 March 2024 15:54 BST
Three-day protest planned: Demonstrators call for Netanyahu’s resignation

Benjamin Netanyahu has said he will undergo hernia surgery after a war cabinet meeting later tonight.

The Israeli prime minister will be fully sedated for the operation after the hernia was discovered during a routine medical checkup on Saturday night.

Deputy prime minister Justice Minister Yariv Levin will fill Mr Netanyahu’s role on a temporary basis during the procedure.

Netanyahu, 74, has kept a full schedule throughout Israel’s nearly six-month-long war against Hamas, and his doctors have said he is in good health.

Last year, however, doctors acknowledged he had concealed a long-known heart problem after they implanted a pacemaker.

The prime minister will be fully sedated after his doctors discovered the hernia “during a routine examination”.

“During this time, Deputy Prime Minister and Justice Minister Yariv Levin will serve as acting prime minister,” a statement said.

It came as the United States, Qatar and Egypt have been trying to broker another cease-fire and hostage release. Hamas is demanding that any such agreement lead to an end to the war and the withdrawal of all Israeli forces.

So far Netanyahu has rejected those demands and says Israel will keep fighting until it has destroyed Hamas’ military and governing capabilities.

People take part in a protest against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government and call for the release of hostages held in the Gaza Strip (Copyright 2024 The Associated Press All rights reserved)

But he is under growing pressure to reach a deal from families of the hostages, some of whom have joined mass demonstrations calling for early elections to replace him.

The cease-fire talks resumed in Cairo with little expectation of any breakthrough.

An Israeli airstrike hit a tent camp inside a hospital in central Gaza on Sunday, killing two Palestinians and wounding another 15.

Palestinians carry a wounded person following an Israeli airstrike near the Al Aqsa hospital in Deir al Bala (Copyright 2024 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

The strike hit one of several tents in the courtyard of Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital in Deir al-Balah, where thousands of people have been sheltering for months after fleeing their homes elsewhere in the war-ravaged territory.

Tens of thousands of people have sought shelter in Gaza’s hospitals since the start of the war, viewing them as relatively safe from airstrikes. Israel accuses Hamas and other militants of operating in and around medical facilities, and troops have raided a number of hospitals.

Israeli troops have been raiding Shifa Hospital, Gaza’s largest, for nearly two weeks and say they have fought heavy battles with militants in and around the medical compound. The military says it has killed scores of fighters, including senior Hamas operatives.

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