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Hamas-run government blamed an Israeli airstrike for the explosion, while the Israeli military blamed a failed rocket launch by a Palestinian militant group

This live coverage has now ended. Find the latest up-to-date information on the Israel-Hamas war here.

  • An injured person is assisted at Shifa Hospital after an explosion at Al-Ahli Arabi Baptist Hospital in Gaza City, Gaza Strip on Oct. 17, 2023.Mohammed Al-Masri/Reuters

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Israel-Hamas war day 11

The conflict in the Middle East is in its 11th day, and saw the bloodiest single incident in Gaza since the war started. An explosion at the Al-Ahli al-Arabi hospital in Gaza City killed hundreds of people, according to the Gaza Health Authority, and it remains unclear who is responsible. Meanwhile, thousands of people trying to escape Gaza are gathered in Rafah, which has the territory’s only border crossing to Egypt.

U.S. President Joe Biden is set to head to Israel on Wednesday. Biden's planned summit with Arab leaders was called off after the hospital attack.

Follow our live coverage below

10:45 p.m. ET

Five Eyes chiefs on high alert from possible terrorist attacks in own countries

The security chiefs of the Five Eyes intelligence alliance say they are on high alert to protect citizens in their own countries from possible terrorist attacks as the war in the Middle East shows no signs of ending soon.

“We remain laser focused on protecting the citizens of all our countries,” FBI Director Christopher Wray told reporters Tuesday at a news conference, accompanied by intelligence chiefs from Canada, Australia, Britain and New Zealand.

The domestic security intelligence leaders from the Five Eyes were meeting at Stanford University to develop strategies with business to counter China’s efforts to steal cutting-edge Western technology.

“The Hamas attacks on Israel were monstrous. Fourteen hundred people were murdered. That includes British citizens and others are still missing,” said Ken McCallum, director-general of Britain’s MI5 intelligence service.

Canadian Security Intelligence Service Director David Vigneault told reporters that the “horrible terrorist attacks by Hamas” have led to a lot of “soul-searching” by CSIS to make sure it protects Canadians from “people with a point of view who want to take matters into their own hands.” “We are working daily with Israel intelligence in Tel Aviv and here in Canada to share as much as we can and to be able to prevent further attacks but also to help recover Canadians who have been kidnapped by Hamas,” he added.

- Robert Fife

10:40 p.m. ET

Hundreds feared dead in Gaza hospital explosion amid conflicting accusations

An explosion at a hospital sheltering displaced people in Gaza has reportedly killed hundreds, threatening to exacerbate the humanitarian crisis in the besieged Palestinian enclave and cause the war between Israel and Hamas to spread.

The Gaza Strip’s Hamas-controlled government said the Tuesday evening bombing of the Al-Ahli Arabi Baptist Hospital was an Israeli air strike and had killed more than 500 people. The Israeli military, however, blamed the blast on a failed missile launch by the Islamic Jihad group.

The explosion happened on the eve of U.S. President Joe Biden’s visit to Israel to reaffirm his unconditional backing for the country’s military campaign after Hamas’s attacks earlier this month, upending his efforts to keep the conflict contained and ensure civilians are protected.

Mr. Biden will not make a second stop on the trip, a planned summit in Amman, Jordan, with King Abdullah II, Palestinian authority president Mahmoud Abbas and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi. Mr. Abbas had already pulled out of the meeting and protesters tried to storm the Israeli embassy in Amman. Jordan’s foreign minister said his government had called off the meeting.

- Adrian Morrow in Washington, Geoffrey York and Mark MacKinnon in Jerusalem

10:25 p.m. ET

Those living near Israel-Lebanon border face fear and resolve as fighting intensifies

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Jamileh Ibrahim Fares (right) sells school supplies in Baraachit, Lebanon, photographed Oct. 17, 2023.Nathan Vanderklippe/The Globe and Mail

A dull thud of shelling echoes in from the hills of south Lebanon as Jamileh Ibrahim Fares attends to customers in her neatly arranged shop filled with calculators, coloured pens and backpacks.

Not far from here lies Lebanon’s border with Israel, where simmering conflict has, many times before, erupted into war.

On the other side of the border, close enough to reach by bicycle if not for the guns that regularly strafe these hills, entire communities now stand empty. The Oct. 7 attacks from Gaza – what U.S. President Joe Biden has called the single deadliest day for Jews since the Holocaust – have fractured feelings of security for many Israelis.

On Tuesday alone, constant clashes left three Israelis injured and at least five dead in Lebanon.

That has made the border with Lebanon not merely a potential new front in the war, with Israeli military spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Peter Lerner warning Tuesday “we will exact a serious price if they continue to threaten and attack Israel,” while Canadian Foreign Minister Mélanie Joly gave new urgency to warnings for Canadians to leave Lebanon.

It is also a dividing line between fear and the obstinate rage that keeps Ms. Fares selling school supplies at a moment like this.

“I won’t leave whatever happens,” she says.

Ms. Fares is not naive. In 2006, a 34-day war between Israel and Lebanon damaged her house and killed people she knew. Her own relatives are fighters with Hezbollah, the militant group whose expansive armoury – including guided missiles and some 130,000 rockets – threatens catastrophic consequences in a full engagement with Israel.

But she argues that people in Lebanon have reason to stay.

“This land is ours,” she says. “And our pride is more valuable than our lives.”

- Nathan VanderKlippe in Lebanon and Mark MacKinnon in Jerusalem

9:45 p.m. ET

Canadian father wants to get his five children out of Gaza, but evacuation still impossible

From his perch outside the Nasser Hospital, in the southern Gaza city of Khan Younis, Mansour Shouman can say with some certainty that Tuesday was the worst day so far.

He says he saw 100 bodies leave the hospital, wrapped in white sheets, bound for a graveyard. He describes seeing children asking the corpses of their parents to wake up and widows weeping on dead husbands. This was all on Tuesday.

“The bombing was relentless today, the most successive bombing I have seen,” said the father of five, who, up until last year, lived in Calgary and worked at PwC, the accounting and consulting firm, as well as several oil and gas companies. During a video call with The Globe and Mail, he proudly held up his Canadian passport and talked of earning an engineering degree at Queen’s University, followed by an MBA at the University of Calgary.

Today he sits in circumstances he can only describe as hell. The Shoumans are subsisting off briny well water, lentils and rice. His children, who range in age from 4 to 16, are hysterical and depressed as they wait for the world to open the Rafah border crossing between Gaza and Egypt so they can escape.

On the opposite side of the border, trucks carrying food, medicine and other essentials have lined up in anticipation of a border opening. “Even if they don’t want international passport-holders to leave, why not let aid come in to civilians?” said Mr. Shouman.

Evacuation from Gaza remains impossible without a deal to allow the departure of foreigners, Canadian officials said on Tuesday.

- Patrick White and Steven Chase

9:35 p.m. ET

Canadian man killed in Hamas attack threw himself on a grenade to save fiancée, family says

An Israeli-Canadian man who was killed in this month’s Hamas attack died after throwing himself on a grenade to save his fiancéee, his family says.

Ottawa has identified the man, 21-year-old Netta Epstein, as one of six Canadians killed during the Oct. 7 attack on southern Israel by Hamas fighters. He grew up in Kfar Aza, a kibbutz, or co-operative community, a few kilometres from the border of the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip. That was also where he died.

The kibbutz was one of several communities caught up in the recent violence, which has killed more than 1,400 Israelis, according to Israeli government figures. More than 2,800 people have been killed in Gaza by retaliatory Israeli air strikes, according to Palestinian officials.

In an interview from Israel this week, Mr. Epstein’s mother, Ayelet Shachar-Epstein, spoke of less troubled times in Kfar Aza. Years ago, she recalled, southern Israelis and residents of Gaza, a small coastal enclave that is home to more than two million Palestinians, would simply cross into each others’ communities. “I lived there since I was a very young child,” she said. “For many years, the proximity to Gaza really wasn’t such a big deal for us.”

- Colin Freeze

9:15 p.m. ET

Biden ‘outraged and deeply saddened’ by hospital blast in Gaza

U.S. President Joe Biden said he is “outraged and deeply saddened by the explosion at the Al Ahli Arab hospital in Gaza, and the terrible loss of life that resulted.”

Biden said he spoke “immediately” after hearing the news with King Abdullah II of Jordan and Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu and “directed my national security team to continue gathering information about what exactly happened.”

“The United States stands unequivocally for the protection of civilian life during conflict and we mourn the patients, medical staff and other innocents killed or wounded in this tragedy,” Biden said in a statement issued after he departed for the Middle East.

He is to visit Israel on Wednesday, but a meeting with Arab leaders in Jordan has been postponed following the destruction at the hospital.

- The Associated Press

8:20 p.m. ET

More U.S. ships head toward Israel as 2,000 troops on heightened alert

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The world’s largest aircraft carrier USS Gerald R. Ford steams alongside USNS Laramie on Oct. 11, 2023.U.S. NAVAL FORCES CENTRAL COMMAN/Reuters

Within hours of the horrific Oct. 7 attack by Hamas, the U.S. began moving warships and aircraft to the region to be ready to provide Israel with whatever it needed to respond. On Tuesday, more ships and forces were heading toward Israel, and other troops in the U.S. were preparing to deploy if called on.

One U.S. aircraft carrier and its strike group are already in the eastern Mediterranean and a second one has left the U.S. and is heading that way. In addition, three Marine warships are moving into the region. Scores of aircraft were dispatched to U.S. military bases around the Middle East, and American special operations forces are working with Israel’s military in planning and intelligence.

As of Tuesday, five shipments of U.S. weapons and equipment had arrived in Israel.

The buildup reflects growing U.S. concern that the deadly fighting between Hamas and Israel will escalate into wider regional conflict. So the key mission for American ships and warplanes is to establish a large and visible presence that will deter Hezbollah, Iran or others from taking advantage of the situation.

- The Associated Press

7:50 p.m. ET

Islamic Jihad denies responsibility for hospital blast

The Palestinian Islamic Jihad group denied Israel’s claim that it was behind the deadly blast at Al-Ahli hospital. It accused Israel of “trying hard to evade responsibility for the brutal massacre it committed.”

“The accusations promoted by the enemy are baseless,” Islamic Jihad said, adding that the group “does not use places of worship or public facilities, especially hospitals, as military centers or weapons stores.”

The group said details such as “the angle of the bomb’s fall and the extent of destruction it left behind” confirm it was similar to Israeli strikes.

- The Associated Press

6:35 p.m. ET

Summit with Arab leaders called off as Biden heads to Israel

President Joe Biden’s efforts to tamp down tensions in the escalating war between Israel and Hamas faced massive setbacks even before he departed for the Middle East on Tuesday, as Jordan called off the president’s planned summit with Arab leaders after a deadly explosion at a Gaza hospital killed hundreds.

Biden now will visit only Israel and will postpone his travel to Jordan, a White House official said as Biden departed.

The postponement of the Amman summit comes after Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas withdrew from the scheduled meetings in protest of the attacks.

“This war and this aggression are pushing the region to the brink,” Ayman Safadi, Jordan’s foreign minister, told al-Mamlaka TV, a state-run network. He said Jordan would only host the summit when all participants agreed on its purpose, which would be to “stop the war, respect the humanity of the Palestinians, and deliver the aid they deserve.”

The cancellation reflects an increasingly volatile situation that will test the limits of American influence in the region as Biden visits Wednesday.

- The Associated Press

6:30 p.m. ET

UN Security Council to vote Wednesday on Brazilian resolution

The United Nations Security Council will now vote on Wednesday on a Brazilian-drafted resolution that calls for humanitarian pauses in the conflict between Israel and Palestinian militants Hamas to allow humanitarian aid access to the Gaza Strip.

The council is then expected to discuss - at the request of the United Arab Emirates and Russia - a Gaza hospital blast that killed hundreds of people on Tuesday, diplomats said.

The 15-member council had initially been due to vote Monday on the Brazilian draft, but it was postponed 24 hours to allow more time to negotiate. The United States then pushed for a further delay as President Joe Biden visits Israel on Wednesday.

It was unclear if the United States, a veto-power who traditionally shields its ally Israel from any Security Council action, would allow the resolution to pass. The draft text also urges Israel - without naming it - to rescind its order for Gaza civilians to move to the south of the Palestinian enclave.

- Reuters

6:07 p.m.

Canadian military’s 11th and 12th flights out of Tel Aviv transport Canadians and others to safety

Two more Canadian military flights left Tel Aviv for Athens on Wednesday, the 11th and 12th since the war began, bringing to 1,400 the number of Canadians, permanent residents and citizens of other nationalities airlifted to safety.

The federal government said the supply of seats has exceeded demand and it will reassess the need for flights on a regular basis.

“We have offered 1,800 seats on flights in the past six days,” Julie Sunday, an assistant deputy minister at Global Affairs said. That’s about 400 seats more than were used.

The Canadian Armed Forces have also set up task force headquarters in Cyprus to prepare in case the conflict spreads.

Evacuation from Gaza remains impossible without a deal to allow the departure of foreigners. Ms. Sunday said there are about 370 Canadians and other individuals in Gaza seeking help in leaving.

“Nobody has left Gaza. Not a single person has left Gaza. And that is, you know, something that is very preoccupying for all of us,” she said.

She said Canada’s embassy in Egypt is working with Egyptian authorities to ensure that if Canadians are able to leave Gaza through the southern Rafah crossing, they would be transported to Cairo for onward travel to Canada.

Alexandre Lévêque, an assistant deputy minister at Global Affairs, said negotiations are taking place between Israel and Egypt and “a number of other countries are involved in creating the safe conditions for an evacuation of foreign nationals” from Gaza.

Government officials said they were not able to find enough Canadians seeking exit from the West Bank to fill another bus. But, they said, they will keep asking people. “Right now I don’t have another busload,” Ms. Sunday said. “But of course we are there if people would like to be in contact with us.”

– Steven Chase in Ottawa

5:17 p.m. ET

Palestinians clash with Abbas’s West Bank forces after Gaza hospital strike

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People clash with Palestinian security forces during a rally in solidarity with the residents of the Gaza Strip in the West Bank city of Ramallah on Oct. 17, 2023.JAAFAR ASHTIYEH/AFP/Getty Images

RAMALLAH, West Bank – Palestinian security forces in Ramallah fired tear gas and stun grenades to disperse protesters throwing rocks and chanting against President Mahmoud Abbas on Tuesday, as popular anger boiled over after a deadly Gaza hospital attack that Palestinians blamed on Israel.

The strike on Gaza’s Al-Ahli al-Arabi hospital, which officials said killed about 500 people, was the deadliest single incident in Gaza since Israel launched a campaign in retaliation for a deadly Hamas gun rampage through Israeli communities.

Israel’s military denied responsibility for the strike, blaming it on a failed Palestinian militant rocket launch. The strike drew condemnation from the West and the Arab world, and protests were staged at Israel’s embassies in Turkey and Jordan and near the U.S. embassy in Lebanon.

In the West Bank, where Abbas was returning on Tuesday after canceling a planned meeting in Jordan with U.S. President Joe Biden, hundreds of demonstrators marched in Ramallah’s central Manara Square, with some chanting in support of Hamas militant leaders.

Clashes with Palestinian security forces also broke in the West Bank cities of Nablus, Tubas and Jenin, a northern city that was the focus of major Israeli military operations earlier this year, according to witnesses.

The outbreak of West Bank protests highlights long-simmering Palestinian anger against Abbas, whose forces have long faced criticism for co-ordinating with Israel on security in the territory.

– Reuters

4:25 p.m. ET

Hundreds killed at Gaza hospital amid conflicting claims

About 500 Palestinians were killed in a blast at a Gaza hospital on Tuesday that Palestinian health authorities said was caused by an Israeli air strike but that the Israeli military blamed on a failed rocket launch by a Palestinian militant group.

The blast was the bloodiest single incident in Gaza since Israel launched an unrelenting bombing campaign against the densely populated territory in retaliation for a deadly cross-border Hamas assault on southern Israeli communities on Oct. 7.

It took place on the eve of a visit by U.S. President Joe Biden to Israel to show support for the country in its war with Hamas, the Islamist group that rules the Gaza Strip, and to hear how Israel plans to minimize civilian casualties.

Reuters could not independently verify who was responsible for the blast.

The health minister in the Hamas-run government of Gaza, Mai Alkaila, accused Israel of a massacre. A Gaza civil defence chief said 300 people were killed and a health ministry official said 500 were killed.

However, the Israeli military denied responsibility for the blast at the Al-Ahli al-Arabi hospital in Gaza City, suggesting the hospital was hit by a failed rocket launch by the enclave’s Palestinian Islamic Jihad military group.

“An analysis of IDF operational systems indicates that a barrage of rockets was fired by terrorists in Gaza, passing in close proximity to the Al Ahli hospital in Gaza at the time it was hit,” a spokesperson for the Israel Defense Forces said. “Intelligence from multiple sources we have in our hands indicates that Islamic Jihad is responsible for the failed rocket launch which hit the hospital in Gaza.”

Daoud Shehab, a spokesman for Islamic Jihad, told Reuters: “This is a lie and fabrication, it is completely incorrect. The occupation is trying to cover for the horrifying crime and massacre they committed against civilians.”

In the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah, Palestinian security forces fired tear gas and stun grenades to disperse protesters throwing rocks and chanting against President Mahmoud Abbas as popular anger boiled over after the blast.

Clashes with Palestinian security forces broke out in a number of other cities in the West Bank, which is ruled by Abbas’ Palestinian Authority, late on Tuesday, witnesses said.


2:41 p.m. ET

Israel warns Lebanon it will ‘exact a serious price’ for attacks from Hezbollah originating in Lebanese territory

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People run to take cover as sirens sound in the northern Israeli kibbutz of Kfar Giladi, near the border with Lebanon, on Oct. 17, 2023.YURI CORTEZ/AFP/Getty Images

A spokesman for the Israeli Defence Forces called on Lebanon’s leaders to prevent attacks on Israel from Hezbollah militants inside Lebanese territory, warning his country would “exact a serious price” for these assaults.

Lieutenant-Colonel Peter Lerner, speaking to international news media at a press conference Tuesday, called on Beirut to rein in Hezbollah.

He warned that Israel is prepared to fight a war on two fronts – meaning not only against Hamas in Gaza, but also opponents on its northern frontier.

“We have the ability to do so,” Col. Lerner said. “We can do it on more fronts as well. And I suggest that Lebanon take control and prevent Hezbollah from continuing their attacks against our people.

Israel will hold Lebanon responsible for attacks from Iran-backed Hezbollah that originate in Lebanese territory, he added.

“Our role is to continue to strike back when Hezbollah decides to attack us and exact a serious price from those that conduct the attacks against us.”

He warned Hezbollah and “the leaders of Lebanon to look very carefully how we are dismantling Hamas in the Gaza Strip, leader by leader, terrorist by terrorist, and indeed, infrastructure by infrastructure.”

“We will exact a serious price if they continue to threaten and attack Israel,” Col. Lerner said.

– Steven Chase in Ottawa

1:36 p.m. ET

More than 500 Palestinians killed at Gaza hospital, Gaza Health Ministry says

Scenes from a blast at a Gaza hospital on Oct. 17. The Hamas-run Health Ministry blamed an Israeli missile strike while the Israeli military says was the result of a failed rocket launch.

An explosion at a Gaza City hospital packed with wounded and other Palestinians seeking shelter has killed hundreds of people.

The Hamas-run Health Ministry said at least 500 people had been killed and blamed an Israeli airstrike as the cause. The Israeli military denied targeting the hospital and blamed the explosion on a failed rocket launch by a Palestinian militant group.

Photos and video purportedly from al-Ahli Hospital on social media showed fire engulfing the building and the hospital’s grounds strewn with torn bodies, many of them young children. Around them in the grass were blankets, school backpacks and other belongings. The images could not immediately be independently verified.

The strike came as the U.S. was trying to convince Israel to allow the delivery of supplies to desperate civilians, aid groups and hospitals in the tiny Gaza Strip, which has been under a complete siege since Hamas’ deadly rampage last week. It also came a day before President Joe Biden was due to visit the region to show support for Israel and try to prevent the war from spreading.

Hundreds of Palestinians had taken refuge in al-Ahli and other hospitals in Gaza City in past days, hoping they would be spared bombardment after Israel ordered all residents of the city and surrounding areas to evacuate to the southern Gaza Strip. Hamas called Tuesday’s hospital strike “a horrific massacre.”

The Israeli military denied responsibility for the blast at the Al-Ahli al-Arabi hospital in Gaza City, suggesting the hospital was hit by a failed rocket launch by the enclave’s Palestinian Islamic Jihad military group.

“An analysis of IDF operational systems indicates that a barrage of rockets was fired by terrorists in Gaza, passing in close proximity to the Al Ahli hospital in Gaza at the time it was hit,” a spokesperson for the Israel Defense Forces said.

“Intelligence from multiple sources we have in our hands indicates that Islamic Jihad is responsible for the failed rocket launch which hit the hospital in Gaza,” the spokesperson added.

In protest at the reported strike, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas cancelled his participation in a meeting with Biden, Jordan’s King Abdullah II and Egypt’s president set for Wednesday in Amman, Jordan to discuss the war. Abbas’ Palestinian Authority runs parts of the West Bank.

– The Associated Press

Continue reading …

1:01 p.m. ET

U.N. agency warns of ‘chilling’ situation facing pregnant women in Gaza

Caught in the unfolding humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip are some 50,000 pregnant women who are unable to access safe medical care.

More than 150 babies are being born in Gaza every day amid ferocious Israeli airstrikes on the densely packed strip – and as hospitals are running perilously low on medicine, electricity and clean water, said Dominic Allen, representative for the United Nations Population Fund, or UNFPA, to the Palestinian Territories.

At Gaza’s main al-Shifa Hospital, births are down to 21 a day from a pre-war 30 to 40, indicating some women are unable to access health care, Mr. Allen said in an interview at the UNFPA’s office in East Jerusalem. Those who do make it to the hospital are being discharged two or three hours after giving birth so that the hospital can make space for other patients.

“And this is a healthcare system that was already on its knees following the blockade that started 16 years ago,” Mr. Allen said, referring to Israel’s tight controls of what goes in and out of the Gaza Strip, which has been under the control of the Hamas militant group since 2007. “Now with this latest war, it’s crippled. It’s a catastrophe.”

He said that UNFPA – which focuses on the specific needs of women and girls in crisis zones – had received reports of water being rationed down to one litre per person per day, a third of what a pregnant woman needs to survive, not including cooking and cleaning needs. UNRWA, the separate UN agency for Palestinian refugees, said on Tuesday that there was only enough fuel in Gaza to provide electricity for another 24 hours.

Mr. Allen said that it was essential to open the Rafah border crossing between Egypt and Gaza so that supplies could reach hospitals on the verge of complete collapse. “We’ve got trucks lined up at the border right now,” he said. “They’re ready to go.”

More than 2,800 Palestinians have been killed in Israeli airstrikes over the 11 days since the Hamas militant group staged a cross-border invasion into southern Israel, killing more than 1,400 people.

On Tuesday, UNRWA said six people had been killed in a strike on one of the schools it manages in Gaza. More than 500,000 Gazans have taken refuge at 98 UNRWA schools around the strip since the start of the bombing campaign.

– Mark MacKinnon in Jerusalem

Continue reading …

12:42 p.m. ET

Five Hezbollah fighters killed as clashes erupt again on Lebanon-Israel border

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Israeli artillery shelling smoke covers Dahaira, a Lebanese border village with Israel, south Lebanon on Monday, Oct. 16, 2023.Hussein Malla/The Associated Press

Violence escalated on the Lebanese-Israeli border on Tuesday with five fighters from Lebanon’s heavily armed Hezbollah group killed during operations against Israel, security sources in Lebanon said.

In the most serious flare-up at the frontier in 17 years, Iran-backed Hezbollah and Israeli forces have traded fire almost daily since Palestinian Islamist group Hamas attacked Israel on Oct. 7 and Israel responded with fierce air strikes on Gaza.

The Israeli army, which said it would shoot anyone coming near the border or meddling with its fence, said it killed four people on Tuesday who had tried to cross the barrier and plant an explosive device. It did not say where this took place.

Hezbollah confirmed that five of its fighters had been killed but it was not immediately clear if any of them were the same ones referred to by Israel.

Hezbollah, an ally of Hamas and Palestinian militant group Islamic Jihad which both have operatives in Lebanon, said it carried out attacks including a guided-missile strike against an Israeli army vehicle in the Israeli border town of Metula.

The al-Manar television channel run by Hezbollah reported “fierce Israeli shelling” on Lebanese territory across the frontier from Metula.

Israel’s army reported attacks in three locations including Metula. It said no Israeli army personnel had been injured.

Canada told its citizens in Lebanon on Tuesday to leave the country while commercial flights were still available.

Lebanese carrier Middle East Airlines (MEA) said it would keep five of its 24 planes in Turkey as a precaution in case of armed conflict.

Foreign Minister Abdallah Bou Habib, speaking in Beirut with visiting Turkish counterpart Hakan Fidan, said Israeli attacks in southern Lebanon were “pouring oil on the fire”.

He said they were “generating tension that could lead to the front igniting in a way that is hard to contain”.

Israel has said it has no interest in waging a war with Hezbollah and if the group restrained itself then Israel would keep the situation along the border as it is. But the army has also said it is fully prepared and deployed at the border.

“Lebanon should be asking themselves if they want to risk their future for Hamas,” Israeli Lieutenant Colonel Richard Hecht said. “There’s still a certain threshold but if this escalates, Lebanon have to ask themselves that very, very hard question.”

He said the situation along the border was tense, with large Israeli forces deployed and ready to react immediately.

“And again, our rules of engagement right now on the border are crystal clear. Anyone who will come near the fence or try to deal with the fence in the north will be stopped, they’ll be shot,” Hecht told a briefing.


12:20 p.m. ET

UNRWA says at least six killed in attack on school in central Gaza Strip

AMMAN – The U.N. agency for Palestinians says at least six people were killed when one of its schools in central Gaza Strip was hit Tuesday.

Philippe Lazzarini, UNRWA Commissioner General, said dozens of people were also injured, including agency staff, when the UNRWA school in the al-Maghazi refugee camp came under bombardment. He said the school – which has served as a shelter for some 4,000 displaced people since the latest hostilities began – is seriously damaged.

“This is outrageous and it again shows a flagrant disregard for the lives of civilians,” Lazzarini said in a statement. “No place is safe in Gaza anymore, not even UNRWA facilities.”

Lazzarini did not specify who was behind the attack, but the area has come under bombardment from Israeli air strikes in recent days.

– The Associated Press

11:27 a.m. ET

Intense bombardments strike in southern Gaza

Israel bombed areas of southern Gaza where it had told Palestinians to flee to ahead of an expected ground invasion, killing dozens of people on Tuesday in attacks it says are targeted at Hamas militants that rule the besieged territory.

In Gaza, dozens of injured were rushed to hospitals after heavy attacks outside the southern cities of Rafah and Khan Younis, residents reported. Basem Naim, a senior Hamas official and former health minister, reported 27 people were killed in Rafah and 30 in Khan Younis.

An Associated Press reporter saw around 50 bodies brought to Nasser Hospital in Khan Younis. Family members came to claim the bodies, wrapped in white bedsheets, some soaked in blood.

An airstrike in Deir al Balah reduced a house to rubble, killing nine members of the family living there. Three members of another family that had evacuated from Gaza City were killed in a neighboring home. The dead included one man and 11 women and children. Witnesses said there was no warning before the strike.

The Israeli military said it was targeting Hamas hideouts, infrastructure and command centers. “When we see a target, when we see something moving that is Hamas, we’ll take care of it,” Lt. Col. Richard Hecht, an Israeli military spokesman, said.

Around 3,000 Palestinians have been killed and 12,500 wounded in the Gaza Strip since Oct. 7, the Palestinian health ministry said Tuesday. The ministry added that 61 Palestinians were also killed while 1,250 were wounded in the West Bank during the same period.

Associated Press, Reuters

10:50 a.m. ET

Peacemakers in Israel coming to difficult conclusion that negotiations with Hamas are futile

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Gershon Baskin, co-chairman of the Israel Palestine Center for Research and Information (IPCRI), outside his office in Jerusalem.Heidi Levine/The Globe and Mail

For the first time in his long career as a peacemaker, Gershon Baskin agrees with the consensus in Israel that, when it comes to Hamas, there’s nothing left to negotiate.

That was a hard conclusion to come to for Mr. Baskin, a 67-year-old paragon of the Israeli left – and one of the architects behind the scenes of the hopeful peace processes of the 1990s. His first reaction in the wake of the Oct. 7 Hamas attacks that killed more than 1,400 Israelis was to try to mediate, as he always does.

He reached out in an unofficial capacity to his contacts in Hamas, which he had built up over decades of trying to find common ground with the various Palestinian factions, and tried to convince them to release some or all of the 199 hostages they took during their bloody rampage through southern Israel – maybe, he suggested, just the women, the children and the elderly. His Hamas contacts wouldn’t budge, crowing instead to him about the “victory” they had achieved over the Israeli military.

Now, Mr. Baskin believes, talks between Israel and the Palestinians can only resume once Hamas – the Islamist extremist movement that has ruled the Gaza Strip since 2007 – is removed from the equation. “After what they did on Saturday, there’s no doubt in my mind that the end result of this war has to be the non-existence of Hamas as a governing body in Gaza and as a military threat to Israel,” he said in an interview at his home in Jerusalem. “There is no negotiating modus vivendi with Hamas.”

This is the strange new place that Israel’s pro-peace left – already a shrinking minority on a political scene dominated by figures from the right and far right – finds themselves in after the Hamas assault, which caused the highest number of Jewish deaths in a single event since the end of the Holocaust.

Continue reading …

– Mark MacKinnon in Jerusalem

10:09 a.m. ET

Israeli woman with Canadian relatives has died

Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly says an Israeli with ties to Canada who had been missing is now confirmed dead, amid the continued fallout from Hamas’s recent surprise attacks on Israel.

On her way into the Liberals’ weekly cabinet meeting, Joly offered condolences to the family of Tiferet Lapidot.

She said the woman was one of three Canadians reported missing after Hamas attacked southern Israel on Oct. 7, killing more than 1,400 people and setting off a war that has left more than 4,000 dead on both sides.

Joly said that during her recent trip to Israel, she met with Lapidot’s Canadian father in Tel Aviv, as well as Lapidot’s uncle, who described her as a “brilliant, beautiful young woman.”

The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs described Lapidot as an Israeli woman with Canadian parents, saying in a statement that her family asked that news of her death be shared with media.

Including Lapidot, Joly said at least six Canadians were killed when Hamas crossed into Israel from the Gaza Strip on Oct. 7 and launched an attack against civilians. Two Canadians remain missing.

The Canadian Press

9:46 a.m. ET

Israeli air strike kills senior Hamas armed commander Ayman Nofal in Gaza

Hamas’ military wing, the Qassam Brigades, said that an Israeli airstrike targeting the Bureij camp the central Gaza Strip killed top militant commander, Ayman Nofal. A member of the higher military council of Izz el-Deen Al-Qassam Brigades, Nofal was in charge of the Central Gaza area in the armed wing.

Nofal, known by his nom de guerre Abu Mohammed, is the most high-profile militant to be killed so far in Israeli bombardment on the Gaza Strip.

Residents said the barrage of Israeli airstrikes leveled an entire block of homes and caused dozens more casualties.

The Israeli military says it is targeting Hamas hideouts, infrastructure and command centers.

– Reuters, The Associated Press

9:33 a.m. ET

At least 16 journalists killed in Gaza and Israel since war began

The Committee to Protect Journalists, a New York-based watchdog, says it has confirmed the deaths of at least 13 Palestinian journalists in Gaza and three journalists in Israel since the war erupted. Several Palestinian journalists were killed in Israeli airstrikes on Gaza Tuesday, said the group, which was still working to investigate the latest deaths.

Over the past week, some Palestinian journalists were killed when Israeli airstrikes struck their homes across the Gaza Strip or the area housing their offices in the Rimal neighborhood, in central Gaza City. Others were killed while reporting on the evacuations of Palestinian houses under Israeli bombardment. Some were freelancers and others worked for a range of little-known local outlets. One of them worked for the Hamas-linked Al Aqsa Radio.

Three Israeli journalists, meanwhile, were killed during the brutal Oct. 7 Hamas attack on Israel, including an editor for Israeli public broadcaster Kan, an editor for Hebrew-language daily Ma’ariv and a photographer for the Hebrew-language Israel Hayom newspaper.

The CPJ count did not include the death of Reuters videographer Issam Abdallah, who was killed on Friday in south Lebanon when an Israeli shell landed in a gathering of international journalists covering clashes on the border. Six other journalists were injured.

– The Associated Press

8:22 a.m. ET

Wall Street inches back as war in the Middle East hangs over markets

Wall Street pointed toward losses early Tuesday as corporate earnings roll in and worries about war in the Middle East hang over markets.

Futures for the S&P 500 and Dow industrials slipped 0.2 per cent before the bell.

But markets appeared to have recovered from the shocks following the Oct. 7 surprise attack on Israel by Hamas, even as Israel was preparing for a likely ground offensive into Gaza and fears deepened that the conflict could spread along Israel’s border with Lebanon.

On Monday on Wall Street, the S&P 500 climbed 1.1 per cent for its best day since the attack. The Dow rose 0.9 per cent and the Nasdaq composite added 1.2 per cent.

“The risk-off tone that permeated markets a few days ago seems to be dissipating thanks to a lot of shuttle diplomacy by (U.S. Secretary of State Antony) Blinken and others in the region,” Robert Carnell and Nicholas Mapa of ING Economics said in a commentary. “However, all of this is before Israel mounts its ground offensive in Gaza, and that could turn sentiment rapidly sour again.”

Associated Press

8 a.m. ET

Iran’s Khamenei says Israel must halt assault on Palestinians in Gaza

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has described Israel’s assault on Gaza as a genocide of Palestinians and said it must stop immediately, state TV reported on Tuesday.

A senior commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) also warned of further action by Tehran-backed militant groups against Israel if it did not cease its attacks.

Israel, which Tehran refuses to recognize, has long accused Iran’s clerical rulers of stoking violence by supplying arms to Hamas. Tehran says it gives moral and financial support to the group.

“We must respond, we must react to what is happening in Gaza,” Khamenei said.

Israeli officials should face trial for their actions against the Palestinians in Gaza, he added.


7:35 a.m. ET

Mourners in Chicago suburb remember slain Muslim boy as kind, energetic

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Supporters kneel at the grave of Wadea Al Fayoume in LaGrange, Ill., Monday, Oct. 16, 2023. An Illinois landlord accused of fatally stabbing the 6-year-old Muslim boy and seriously wounding his mother was charged with a hate crime after police and relatives said he singled out the victims because of their faith and as a response to the war between Israel and Hamas.Nam Y. Huh/The Associated Press

Crowds of mourners in a heavily Palestinian Chicago suburb paid respects Monday to a 6-year-old Muslim boy killed in an alleged hate crime, hours after authorities revealed new details about the evidence used to charge the family’s landlord with stabbing the child and his mother.

Wadea Al-Fayoume, who had recently had a birthday, died Saturday after being stabbed dozens of times in a brutal attack that drew condemnation from local elected officials to the White House. Authorities said the family’s landlord, Joseph Czuba, was upset over the Israel-Hamas war and attacked them after the boy’s mother proposed they “pray for peace.”

In Bridgeview, which is home to a large and established Palestinian community, family and friends remembered Wadea as an energetic boy who loved playing games. His body was carried in a small white casket – which was at times draped with a Palestinian flag – through packed crowds.

Mosque Foundation Imam Jamal Said reflected on the boy’s death during the janazah, or funeral service, but also the wider loss of life in the war between Israel and Hamas.

“Wadea is a child and he is not the only one under attack,” he said, adding many “children are being slaughtered literally in the Holy Land, unfortunately, which is very sad.”

Mahmoud Yousef, the boy’s uncle, remembered Wadea as a typical 6-year-old who was active, playful and kind. Citing a text message from the boy’s mother, who remained hospitalized as her son was buried, Yousef said she recalled her son’s last words: “Mom, I’m fine.”

Associated Press

7:27 a.m. ET

Oil steadies ahead of Biden’s trip to Middle East

Oil steadied on Tuesday after sliding more than $1 the day before ahead of a trip by U.S. President Joe Biden to the Middle East that is likely to involve balancing support for Israel with containing a regional escalation of its war with Hamas.

Brent crude futures were up 28 cents at $89.93 a barrel, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude (WTI) was up 12 cents at $86.78 a barrel as of 6:48 a.m. ET.

Both oil benchmarks surged last week on fears the conflict in the Middle East could widen, with global benchmark Brent gaining 7.5 per cent in its largest weekly gain since February. However, they slipped back on Monday.


7:25 a.m. ET

Jordan to host summit between Biden, Egyptian and Palestinian leaders on Wednesday

Jordan on Wednesday will host a four-party summit in Amman with U.S. President Joe Biden and Egyptian and Palestinian leaders to discuss the “dangerous” repercussions of the war in Gaza for the region, state media said.

The discussions would focus on ways to halt “the ongoing war in Gaza and ways to find a political horizon that would allow the revival of the peace process,” an official statement said.

Jordan’s King Abdullah will also separately hold a tripartite summit with both Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al Sisi and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.


7:20 a.m. ET

Humanitarian aid stuck at Gaza-Egypt border

The World Health Organization said assistance for 300,000 patients was awaiting entry through Rafah. Crowds of Palestinians with dual citizenship waited anxiously on the Gaza side of the crossing as Israel's siege of the city continued.

The Associated Press

7:11 a.m. ET

Israel-Hamas war could push oil prices higher, International Energy Agency says

The Israel-Hamas war is affecting oil markets already stretched by cutbacks in oil production from Saudi Arabia and Russia and expected stronger demand from China, the head of the International Energy Agency said Tuesday.

“As we see the tensions in the Middle East, the market becomes much more jittery, and it is definitely not good news coming out of this crisis,” Fatih Birol, executive director of the Paris-based IEA, told the Associated Press.

“We may very well see much more volatile prices, and it can push prices higher, which is definitely bad news for inflation,” he added.

Developing countries that import energy would be the most affected by higher prices, Birol said.

Associated Press

6:59 a.m. ET

World Food Program warns food is running out in Gaza

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Volunteers load food and supplies onto trucks in an aid convoy for Gaza on October 16, 2023 in North Sinai, Egypt.Mahmoud Khaled/Getty Images

In addition to dire water shortages, Gaza is running out of food stocks with only a few days worth of supplies remaining in shops, the World Food Program says.

Shops only have four or five days’ worth of essential food stocks available, said spokeswoman Abeer Etefa. There is enough food in warehouses to last about two weeks, but these are difficult to access because they are located in Gaza City, where Israel has ordered residents to evacuate.

Out of five mills in Gaza, only one is operating due to security concerns and the unavailability of fuel and electricity. Etefa said the primary challenge for WFP is being able to get food to shops amid the constant bombardment. Long lines have formed outside the few bakeries that are still able to operate.

Associated Press

6:36 a.m. ET

Israel’s Gaza evacuation order could breach international law: UN

The United Nations human rights office said on Tuesday that Israel’s siege of Gaza and its evacuation order for the north of the enclave could amount to a forcible transfer of civilians and be in breach of international law.

Speaking to reporters in Geneva, Ravina Shamdasani, spokesperson for the U.N. human rights office, said Israel seemed to have made no effort to ensure the civilians temporarily evacuated in Gaza were provided with proper accommodation, as well as satisfactory conditions of hygiene, health, safety and nutrition.

“We are concerned that this order, combined with the imposition of a complete siege of Gaza, may not be considered as lawful temporary evacuation and would therefore amount to a forcible transfer of civilians in breach of international law,” she said.

“Those who managed to comply with the Israeli authorities’ order to evacuate are now trapped in the south of the Gaza Strip, with scant shelter, fast-depleting food supplies, little or no access to clean water, sanitation, medicine and other basic needs.”

The term “forcible transfer” describes the forced relocation of civilian populations and it is a crime against humanity punishable by the International Criminal Court (ICC).

– Reuters

6 a.m. ET

Palestinians killed in Israeli air strikes on Gaza

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Palestinians search through the rubble of a building after an Israeli strike in Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip on October 17, 2023.MAHMUD HAMS/AFP/Getty Images

Palestinians in Gaza are taking stock of the latest deadly air strikes from Israel.

A strike in Deir al Balah, south of Gaza City, reduced a house to rubble, killing nine members of the family living there, mostly women and children. Three members of another family that had evacuated from Gaza City were killed in a neighbouring home. Witnesses said there was no warning before the strike.

In Khan Younis, in a neighbourhood just a few hundred meters away from Nasser Hospital, Samiha Zoarab looked around at the destruction in shock as children rummaged through the piles of debris and detritus around a levelled home, which lies within a dense cluster of buildings. At least four people from the same family were killed in the attack, locals said. “There are only two survivors,” Zoarab said.

Associated Press

4:42 a.m. ET

Trucks carrying aid for Gaza Strip move closer to Rafah crossing

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A convoy of trucks carrying humanitarian aid from Egyptian NGOs for Palestinians waits for a decision for the Rafah crossing to open on October 17, 2023.STRINGER/Reuters

Egyptian aid trucks moved closer on Tuesday to the only entry to Gaza not controlled by Israel, local and security sources said, but it was unclear when they might pass through the crossing, shut for days on the Palestinian side due to Israeli strikes.

At least 49 people were killed in overnight Israeli bombardment of Rafah, where the crossing is located, and the nearby town of Khan Younis, Gaza’s interior ministry said.

People with dual citizenship who have gathered in recent days awaiting the opening of the Rafah crossing began approaching the border on Tuesday, but some said they were staying away due to the air strikes.

Egypt says the Rafah crossing, a vital artery before the fighting and now a key route for desperately needed supplies into the Israeli-besieged Palestinian enclave, has not been officially closed but has become inoperable due to the Israeli air strikes on the Gaza side.

Early on Tuesday some 160 trucks left al-Arish in Egypt’s Sinai peninsula, where hundreds of tonnes of aid have been awaiting an agreement on aid delivery, an eyewitness told Reuters.

– Reuters

OCT 16 9:55 p.m. ET

Desperately needed aid for Gaza stuck on Egyptian border as leaders call for corridor to open

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Aid supplies are seen on Oct. 16, in North Sinai, Egypt. The aid convoy, organized by a group of Egyptian NGOs, set off today from Cairo for the Gaza-Egypt border crossing at Rafah.Mahmoud Khaled/Getty Images

With Gaza increasingly desperate for water and medicine, dozens of aid trucks are stuck on the Egyptian side of the Gaza border, unable to enter the Palestinian territory because of Israeli restrictions and continued missile strikes near the border.

Relief agencies have been sending emergency supplies to an Egyptian airport near the Gaza Strip for several days, but the border has remained closed, even as Gaza’s 2.3 million people have been searching frantically for drinking water.

Gazans have practically run out of water, the United Nations children’s agency UNICEF said in a social-media post on Monday, warning that the use of dirty water from wells was raising the risks of water-borne diseases.

Israel has fired thousands of missiles at Gaza and kept the territory under a strict blockade since Oct. 7, when hundreds of people in southern Israel were killed or abducted by militants from Hamas, the radical group that controls Gaza. By official count on each side, more than 1,400 people were killed by Hamas in southern Israel and more than 2,778 have been killed in Gaza in the past 10 days.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is among those calling for a humanitarian corridor to be established to bring aid into Gaza, including food, fuel and water. “It is imperative that this happen,” Mr. Trudeau told the House of Commons on Monday

Geoffrey York and Mark MacKinnon

OCT 16 8:30 p.m. ET

Biden to visit Israel on Wednesday

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U.S. President Joe Biden holding a bilateral meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on the sidelines of the 78th U.N. General Assembly in New York City on September 20, 2023.KEVIN LAMARQUE/Reuters

President Joe Biden will travel to Israel on Wednesday to show support for the U.S. ally amid concerns the Israel-Hamas war could become a larger regional conflict, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said.

Biden will then go to Jordan to meet with Arab leaders, White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said.

Blinken’s announcement followed hours of talks with Israeli officials, as well as an invitation from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

As the humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip grows more dire, Blinken also said the U.S. and Israel had agreed to develop a plan to enable humanitarian aid from donor nations to reach civilians in Gaza, “including the possibility of creating areas to help keep civilians out of harm’s way.”

“We share Israel’s concern that Hamas may seize or destroy aid entering Gaza or otherwise prevent it from reaching the people who need it,” Blinken said.

Associated Press

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