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Benjamin Netanyahu is ‘conscious and speaking with family’ after ‘successful’ hernia surgery, hospital announces

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is conscious and speaking with family after being fully sedated for a hernia operation, the hospital treating him has said.

The 74-year-old’s surgery was successful and he is recovering, Hadassah Medical Centre in Jerusalem announced at around 2.00am local time, though doctors did not immediately specify how long his recovery might take.

Deputy Prime Minister and Justice Minister Yariv Levin stood in as Acting Prime Minister while Netanyahu was unconscious under full anaesthesia.

The hospital said that doctors had discovered the hernia on Saturday during a routine checkup, and that after consultations the decision was made for the premier to undergo surgery after completing his daily schedule.

It added that a cardiologist was part of the prime minister’s medical team for the surgery. Netanyahu previously underwent a hernia operation in 2013 and had a pacemaker fitted last year. 

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is conscious and speaking with family after undergoing a successful hernia operation, medics have said

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is conscious and speaking with family after undergoing a successful hernia operation, medics have said

Prof. Alon Pikarski (right), the head of the surgical department at Hadassah Ein Kerem, performed the surgery

Prof. Alon Pikarski (right), the head of the surgical department at Hadassah Ein Kerem, performed the surgery

Tens of thousands of Israelis thronged central Jerusalem on Sunday in the largest anti-government protest since the country went to war in October

Tens of thousands of Israelis thronged central Jerusalem on Sunday in the largest anti-government protest since the country went to war in October

Prof. Alon Pikarski, the head of the surgical department at Hadassah Ein Kerem, performed the surgery, said in a short video statement that it went ‘as expected and was successful and the Prime Minister is awake, recovering and talking to his family.’ 

Netanyahu underwent surgery as protesters calling for the release of Israeli hostages in Gaza stepped up pressure on his government nearly six months into the war with Hamas.

Tens of thousands of Israelis thronged central Jerusalem on Sunday in the largest anti-government protest since the country went to war in October. 

Deep divisions over Netanayahu’s leadership long predate the war, which still enjoys strong public support.

Netanyahu gave a televised speech prior to his surgery in which he sought to reassure the hostages’ families that he understands their pain and that the government is doing everything it can to get their loved ones home.

He hit out at protesters’ calls for a new election around two years early, saying that it would only halt hostage negotiations and serve to help Hamas.

He vowed to keep up the offensive until Hamas is destroyed and all of the hostages are freed, and reiterated his promise that a ground offensive will be launched in Rafah.

There were angry protests in Jerusalem yesterday as Benjamin Netanyahu was set to have surgery

There were angry protests in Jerusalem yesterday as Benjamin Netanyahu was set to have surgery

Anti-government protesters hold Israeli flags and placards with an image of Israel's Prime Minister Netanyahu during a rally calling for the release of hostages

Anti-government protesters hold Israeli flags and placards with an image of Israel’s Prime Minister Netanyahu during a rally calling for the release of hostages

More than half of Gaza’s population – 1.4 million people – are seeking refuge in the city amid a Israel’s aerial and ground offensive across the embattled strip, and Netanyahu has come under pressure from the US to hold back.

He declared that this external pressure would not effect his decision to send troops in, saying: ‘There is no victory without going into Rafah’.

Many Israelis blame him for the security failures of Oct. 7 and from some families of the hostages who blame him for the failure to reach a deal despite several weeks of talks mediated by the United States, Qatar and Egypt.

Hamas and other militants are still believed to be holding some 100 hostages and the remains of 30 others, after freeing most of the rest during a cease-fire last November in exchange for the release of Palestinians imprisoned by Israel.

It comes as the Israeli military withdrew from Gaza’s largest hospital early today after a two-week raid, leaving behind several bodies and a vast swathe of destruction, according to Palestinian residents. 

Palestinians inspect the damage at Gaza's Al-Shifa hospital after the Israeli military withdrew from the complex housing the hospital on April 1

Palestinians inspect the damage at Gaza’s Al-Shifa hospital after the Israeli military withdrew from the complex housing the hospital on April 1

A Palestinian woman and child sit amidst the rubble of Gaza's Al-Shifa hospital after the Israeli military withdrew from the complex

A Palestinian woman and child sit amidst the rubble of Gaza’s Al-Shifa hospital after the Israeli military withdrew from the complex

The military has described the raid on Shifa Hospital as one of the most successful operations of the nearly six-month war. 

It says it killed scores of Hamas and other militants, including senior operatives, and that it seized weapons and valuable intelligence. It confirmed forces had withdrawn Monday.

The UN health agency said several patients died and dozens were put at risk during the raid, which brought even further destruction to a hospital that had already largely ceased to function. 

Days of heavy fighting showed that Hamas can still put up resistance even in one of the hardest-hit areas of Gaza.

Deadly air strikes again pounded the Gaza Strip as talks towards a truce between Israel and Hamas were set to resume in Cairo on Sunday, according to Egyptian television. But neither Netanyahu nor Hamas voiced optimism.

To help alleviate the suffering of Gaza’s 2.4 million people, an aid ship was sailing from the Mediterranean island-nation of Cyprus to bring 400 tonnes of food, as part of a small flotilla.

Foreign powers have ramped up aid airdrops, although United Nations agencies and charities warn this falls far short of the dire need and say trucks are the most efficient way of delivering aid.



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