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Israel-Hamas war day 18
Israel is escalating its bombardment of targets in the Gaza Strip ahead of an expected ground invasion against Hamas militants. The U.S. fears the fighting could spark a wider conflict in the region.
Gaza’s 2.3 million people have been running out of food, water and medicine since Israel sealed off the territory following the Hamas attack on Israeli towns on Oct. 7.
The Hamas-led Health Ministry said least 5,791 Palestinians have been killed, including 2,360 children, and 15,270 have been wounded. In the occupied West Bank, 96 Palestinians have been killed and 1,650 wounded in violence and Israeli raids since Oct. 7.
More than 1,400 people in Israel have been killed, mostly civilians who died in the initial Hamas rampage. In addition, 222 people including foreigners were believed captured by Hamas during the incursion and taken into Gaza, Israel’s military has said. Four of those have been released.
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The conflict between Israel and Hamas continued to get deadlier, and humanitarian aid in the Gaza Strip became yet more scarce on Tuesday, as the Palestinian territory reported its highest daily death toll of the war so far.
Israel kept up its siege and non-stop air strikes on Hamas-ruled Gaza. Hamas, meanwhile, launched its most audacious assaults on Israel since its deadly cross-border invasion on Oct. 7.
The ministry of health in Gaza said Tuesday that 704 people had been killed in the strip over the previous 24 hours. The Israeli military said it had hit more than 400 Hamas targets in waves of air strikes meant to prepare the way for an anticipated ground invasion of Gaza. Hamas retaliated by firing a massive barrage of rockets Tuesday afternoon, setting off sirens and sending residents running for cover in Tel Aviv and the southern city of Beersheba. The militant group said the barrage was “in response to the massacres against civilians.”
Two Israelis were injured by falling debris after the Hamas rockets were intercepted by Israeli air defences. Three others were hurt while scrambling to shelter. One rocket got through and struck a building in Alfei Menashe, an illegal Jewish settlement built on Palestinian territory in the Israeli-occupied West Bank.
Hamas also claimed via its Telegram channel that a group of its “frogmen” had infiltrated southern Israel by landing on a beach near the southern port of Ashkelon. The Israeli military said it had rebuffed the assault, killing several Hamas fighters, though Israeli media reported late Tuesday that gunfire was still audible in the area. Two other rockets were launched from Syria toward the Israeli-controlled Golan Heights. Israeli artillery replied by targeting the launch sites.
In recent days, Israel has allowed a trickle of aid – though no fuel – through the siege of Gaza’s 2.3 million citizens. Since Friday, Hamas has released four of the more than 200 hostages it has been holding, including an 85-year-old Israeli woman who shook her captor’s hand and said “shalom,” a Hebrew word of greeting or farewell that also means “peace,” before she left Gaza on Monday night.
But peace doesn’t appear to be on the horizon.
- Mark MacKinnon and Geoffrey York
After two weeks of horrific news, Rutie Mizrahi wasn’t about to trust the hopeful headlines that appeared on Monday.
They said that Ms. Mizrahi’s 85-year-old aunt, Yocheved Lifshitz, was among two hostages being released that day from the more than 200 being held by Hamas, the militant Islamist group that launched a deadly attack on Israel on Oct. 7.
Ms. Mizrahi didn’t trust the reports.
“I just really needed to hear her voice,” said Ms. Mizrahi, from her Vancouver home.
On Tuesday morning, she finally got through to Ms. Lifshitz, who made worldwide headlines the same day for becoming the first of the four released hostages to talk publicly about the harrowing experience.
- Patrick White
Calls for peace at interfaith gathering in France
Jewish, Muslim and Christian faith leaders held hands and called for peace in the Middle East at a gathering Tuesday in the Mediterranean city of Marseille.
Around 100 people came together outside the landmark Notre Dame de la Garde church in an event organized by fans of the Olympique de Marseille soccer team.
Faith leaders spoke in turn in favor of peace and led the crowd in a moment of silence honoring victims of the Israel-Hamas war.
Political flags were barred from the gathering, meant as a moment of community togetherness at a tense time. The faith leaders spoke of each other as neighbors and brothers.
France has the world’s largest Jewish population outside of Israel and the U.S., and Europe’s largest Muslim population outside of Turkey.
- The Associated Press
U.S. fighter squadron arrives in Middle East
The New Jersey Air National Guard’s 119 Expeditionary Fighter Squadron arrived in the Middle East on Tuesday, Pentagon press secretary Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder told reporters. The squadron has F-16 fighter jets, and officials would not say where exactly it went.
Ryder also said the U.S. is preparing for an increase in violence, noting that there have already been at least 13 attacks against troops and installations in Iraq and Syria.
“What we are seeing is the prospect for more significant escalation against U.S. forces and personnel across the region in the very near term coming from Iranian proxy forces and ultimately from Iran,” he said during a Pentagon briefing.
He added that the U.S. won’t hesitate to take action if needed to protect its forces and interests in the region.
- The Associated Press
5:50 p.m. ET
Canada joins U.S. in appealing for ‘humanitarian pauses’ that could give civilians in Gaza a chance to receive aid
Canada joined the United States in calling Tuesday for a “humanitarian pause” to allow more for aid to reach civilians trapped in Gaza. The appeal came after of one of the bloodiest 24-hour periods in the 18-day-old war between Israel and Hamas.
But it was violence, rather than diplomacy, that was accelerating on Tuesday. The Ministry of Health in Hamas-ruled Gaza said 704 people had been killed over the previous 24 hours, marking the highest-one-day death toll in territory so far in the war. And Hamas launched its most audacious assaults on Israel since its murderous cross-border invasion on Oct. 7.
The Israeli military said more than 400 Hamas targets had been hit in the latest wave of air strikes meant to prepare the way for an anticipated ground invasion of Gaza. Hamas retaliated by firing a massive barrage of rockets Tuesday afternoon – setting off sirens and sending residents running for cover in Tel Aviv and the southern city of Beersheba – that the militant group said was “in response to the massacres against civilians.”
Two Israelis were injured by falling debris after the Hamas rockets were intercepted by Israeli air defences. Three others were hurt while scrambling to seek shelter. One rocket got through and struck a building in Alfei Menashe, an illegal Jewish settlement built on occupied Palestinian land in the Israeli-occupied West Bank.
Hamas also claimed via its Telegram channel that a group of its “frogmen” had infiltrated southern Israel by landing on a beach near the southern port of Ashkelon. The Israeli military said it rebuffed the assault, killing several Hamas fighters, though Israeli media reported late Tuesday that gunfire was still audible in the area. Two other rockets were launched from Syria towards the Israeli-controlled Golan Heights. Israeli artillery replied by targeting the launch sites.
5:05 p.m. ET
A supermarket is an unusual place to diagnose a nation’s readiness for war. But Nizar Ghanem is lactose intolerant, and so when he started to see more goat cheese and goat milk on the shelves, he took notice.
Cow’s milk had become a less affordable luxury for a country in the grips of one of the worst economic crises the modern world has seen.
So Lebanon “went back to our original” – the goats that grow natively in the country, said Mr. Ghanem, the director of research for Triangle, a Beirut-based policy and research institute. “The Levantine goat was famous as being a ‘mini-cow’ because it gives a lot of milk. This has come back – you see more goats everywhere, which is great.”
On Lebanon’s southern border, daily skirmishes between Israeli forces and Islamic militants have produced a rising death toll, and elevated anxieties that Lebanon will be drawn into another devastating war with its southern neighbour.
It’s a war virtually no one wants, but for which most are ready.
The misery of the last few years has, in a way, helped them prepare. After a financial crisis that began in 2019, the nation of 5.3 million dealt with a devastating explosion at the Port of Beirut and is now in a multi-year political crisis that has left the country with a caretaker government and no president – a combination that has eroded the state’s ability to provide even basic services.
4:25 p.m. ET
Aid trucks containing water, food and medicine enter Gaza: Palestinian medics
Eight trucks containing water, food and medicine entered the Gaza Strip from Egypt late on Tuesday, the Palestinian Red Crescent said, adding it was the fourth emergency aid convoy to enter the enclave since war with Israel began.
Five of the trucks contained water, two contained food and one contained medicine, it said in a statement.
4 p.m. ET
Israel vows again to destroy Hamas, rejecting calls for a cease-fire in Gaza at a major UN meeting
Israel vowed again to destroy Hamas, rejecting calls from the United Nations chief, the Palestinians and many countries at a high-level UN meeting on Tuesday for a cease-fire and declaring that the war in Gaza is not only its war but “the war of the free world.”
Israel’s Foreign Minister Eli Cohen also dismissed calls for “proportionality” in the country’s response to Hamas’s surprise attacks on Israel on Oct. 7.
“Tell me, what is a proportionate response for killing of babies, for rape [of] women and burn them, for beheading a child?” Cohen asked. “How can you agree to a cease-fire with someone who swore to kill and destroy your own existence?”
He told the UN Security Council that the proportionate response to the Oct. 7 massacre is “a total destruction to the last one of the Hamas,” calling the extremist group “the new Nazis.” He stressed: “It is not only Israel’s right to destroy Hamas. It’s our duty.”
Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki demanded an end to the Israeli attacks.
“We are here today to stop the killing, to stop the ongoing massacres being deliberately and systematically and savagely perpetrated by Israel, the occupying power, against the Palestinian civilian population,” he said. “Over two million Palestinians are on a survival mission every day, every night.”
Under international law, he said “it is our collective human duty to stop them.”
- Associated Press
3:40 p.m. ET
Biden, Saudi crown prince discuss Israel-Hamas war diplomacy
U.S. President Joe Biden and Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman on Tuesday discussed efforts to prevent the Israel-Hamas conflict from widening, the White House said.
They agreed in a call to pursue broader diplomatic efforts “to maintain stability across the region and prevent the conflict from expanding,” the White House said, adding the two leaders will remain in close co-ordination.
Biden and the Saudi crown prince welcomed the delivery of humanitarian assistance from Egypt into Gaza and recognized that “much more is needed for civilians” to have sustained access to food, water and medical assistance, according to the White House.
They both welcomed the continuing efforts to secure the release of hostages held by Hamas and called for their immediate release, the White House added.
2:45 p.m. ET
Israel launches 400 strikes across Gaza, where health officials say hundreds of Palestinians killed
A barrage of Israeli airstrikes across the Gaza Strip on Tuesday crushed multiple residential buildings and buried families under rubble, as health officials in the besieged territory reported hundreds killed in the past day and the closure of medical facilities because of bomb damage and a lack of power.
The soaring death toll from Israel’s escalating bombardment is unprecedented in the decades-long Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It augurs an even greater loss of life in Gaza once Israeli forces backed by tanks and artillery launch an expected ground offensive aimed at crushing Hamas militants.
The Gaza Health Ministry, which is run by Hamas, said Israeli airstrikes killed at least 704 people over the past day, mostly women and children. The AP could not independently verify the death tolls cited by Hamas, which says it tallies daily figures from hospital directors.
Israel said Tuesday it had launched 400 airstrikes over the past day, killing Hamas commanders, hitting militants as they were preparing to launch rockets into Israel and striking command centers and a Hamas tunnel shaft. Israel reported 320 strikes the day before.
Scenes of rescuers pulling dead and wounded out of large piles of rubble from collapsed buildings were repeated in main towns of central and south Gaza, where Israel had told civilians to take shelter. Graphic photos and video shot by The Associated Press showed rescuers digging to unearth small bodies from the ruins.
- Associated Press
2:25 p.m. ET
UN says no aid trucks entered Gaza on Tuesday
Twenty trucks were unable to transport aid to Palestinian civilians in the besieged Gaza Strip on Tuesday, the United Nations said as U.S. President Joe Biden dubbed humanitarian efforts to deliver help via a crossing from Egypt as “not fast enough.”
“We hope the materials can enter Gaza tomorrow,” said UN aid spokesperson Eri Kaneko. She did not say why the trucks had not been able to cross into Gaza from Egypt on Tuesday.
The United States is negotiating with Israel, Egypt and the United Nations to try to create a delivery mechanism to get aid into Gaza. They are wrangling over procedures for inspecting the aid and bombardments on the Gaza side of the border.
Rafah is the main crossing in and out of Gaza that does not border Israel. It has become the focus of efforts to deliver aid since Israel imposed a “total siege” of the enclave in retaliation for an attack by Hamas militants on Oct. 7.
Since limited aid deliveries began on Saturday, 54 trucks have crossed into Gaza carrying food, medicine and water, which U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres described as “a drop of aid in an ocean of need.”
1:55 p.m. ET
UNRWA warns of halting operations in Gaza due to lack of fuel
UNRWA warned that it would halt its operations in the besieged Gaza enclave on Wednesday night because of the lack of fuel, the relief group posted on the messaging platform X, formerly known as Twitter.
“UNRWA will run out of fuel TOMORROW night - forcing us to halt operations and delivery of humanitarian aid to people in need,” it said.
12:45 p.m. ET
U.S. doesn’t want war with Iran but will defend itself, Blinken tells UN
The United States told the United Nations on Tuesday it does not seek conflict with Iran, but Secretary of State Antony Blinken warned that Washington would act swiftly and decisively if Iran or its proxies attacks U.S. personnel anywhere.
Blinken spoke to the 15-member UN Security Council amid international fears the conflict between Israel and Iran-backed Palestinian Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip could spill over into a wider war, drawing in Lebanon’s heavily armed Hezbollah that is also supported by Tehran.
“The United States does not seek conflict with Iran. We do not want this war to widen. But if Iran or its proxies attack U.S. personnel anywhere, make no mistake: we will defend our people, we will defend our security - swiftly and decisively.”
The U.S. military is taking new steps to protect its troops in the Middle East as concerns mount about attacks by Iran-backed groups, officials tell Reuters. The U.S. has also sent warships and fighter aircraft to the region to try to deter Iran and Iran-backed groups, including two aircraft carriers.
Iran’s mission to the United Nations did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Blinken’s remarks. Iran was due to address the Security Council meeting on the Middle East later on Tuesday.
Blinken also told the Security Council that he will work with China’s top diplomat Wang Yi to prevent the conflict in the Middle East from spreading when they meet later this week.
12:20 p.m. ET
Qatari hostage mediators press Hamas on civilian releases, diplomats and sources say
Qatari mediators are urging Hamas to quicken the pace of hostage releases to include women and children held in Gaza and to do so without expecting Israeli concessions, according to three diplomats and a source in the region familiar with the talks, as Israel readies a ground assault on the enclave.
The Gulf state, in co-ordination with the U.S., is leading mediation talks with Hamas and Israeli officials over the release of more than 200 hostages captured in the Palestinian group’s cross-border onslaught on Oct 7.
Hamas on Monday freed two Israeli civilian women captives from the besieged enclave following the release of two hostages with dual U.S.-Israeli nationality on Friday.
Qatar is now discussing a larger release of civilians with Hamas and Israel, a fifth source told Reuters on Tuesday after being briefed on the negotiations. The source said the talks were progressing.
The talks are not about any of the Israeli soldiers held by Hamas, the diplomats and regional source familiar with the talks said. Hamas says such captive soldiers are strategic assets the group can eventually exchange for major concessions from Israel.
In Washington, two U.S. sources said that it was the U.S. understanding that Qatar is pushing Hamas to release a large group of hostages immediately and without expecting any Israeli concessions in return.
12:05 p.m. ET
Student leaders at the University of Toronto Mississauga say Ontario’s Minister of Colleges and Universities “defamed” them in the provincial legislature and has betrayed the government’s commitment to free speech.
The UTM student union, which represents 15,000 undergraduate students, said Jill Dunlop made false statements about them while protected by parliamentary privilege, which shields members from civil liability for remarks made in the legislature.
Speaking at Queen’s Park last week, Ms. Dunlop described a UTM student statement, along with a statement by three student unions at York University, as appalling. She said they defended the actions of Hamas and defended “rape, torture and mass murder.”
Ms. Dunlop made a point of naming the six members of the UTM student union executive on the public record and called on the university to investigate whether to bring non-academic sanctions against the students. She also named several professors and other student groups to draw attention to their public statements.
The UTM student union responded Monday by saying that Ms. Dunlop had “defamed” them and made “untrue remarks about UTMSU while she was protected by parliamentary privilege.”
“Our student union continues to call for peace and for the protection of civilians. We will not be silenced by bullying, doxing, or threats, not by Minister Jill Dunlop or anybody else,” the UTMSU said in a statement.
11:58 a.m. ET
Erdogan tells Putin Western ‘silence’ exacerbating humanitarian crisis in Gaza
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday told his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in a call that Western countries’ “silence” was exacerbating the humanitarian crisis in Gaza, Erdogan’s office said.
In a statement, the presidency said Mr. Erdogan told Mr. Putin the “savagery” toward Palestinian lands was deepening and that civilians were constantly being killed.
He also repeated earlier comments that Turkey, a NATO ally, would continue working to achieve calm in the region, the statement added.
11:41 a.m. ET
Lebanon’s PM visits troops at southern border with Israel
Lebanon’s caretaker prime minister Tuesday visited troops deployed near the border with Israel and UN peacekeepers, as Hezbollah militants and Israeli troops clash for a third week.
The visit by Prime Minister Najib Mikati to the tense southern province is his first since clashes erupted along the border following a surprise attack by the Palestinian group Hamas on Israel on Oct. 7. It also came two days after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited troops along the border on Sunday.
Mr. Mikati and international governments have been scrambling to prevent the Israel-Hamas war from expanding to Lebanon, where the powerful Hezbollah group warned Israel about a ground incursion into the blockaded Gaza Strip.
Hezbollah deputy leader Sheikh Naim Kassem said the group is in the “heart” of the war to “defend Gaza and confront the occupation.”
“Its finger is on the trigger to whatever extent it deems necessary for the confrontation,” Mr. Kassem tweeted.
Clashes between Hezbollah and the Israeli military thus far have been mostly limited to several towns along the border.
– Associated Press
11:29 a.m. ET
UN chief pleads for Gaza civilians’ safety, cites violation of humanitarian law
United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres pleaded on Tuesday for civilians to be protected in the war between Israel and Palestinian Hamas militants, voicing concern about “clear violations of international humanitarian law” in the Gaza Strip.
More than 700 Palestinians were killed in overnight Israeli air strikes, Gaza’s health ministry said, the highest 24-hour death toll since Israel began a bombing campaign to crush Hamas militants who stunned the country with a deadly Oct. 7 attack.
Mr. Guterres told the 15-member UN Security Council that at a “crucial moment like this,” it was vital to be clear that war has rules, starting with the fundamental principle of respecting and protecting civilians.
“It is important to also recognize the attacks by Hamas did not happen in a vacuum. The Palestinian people have been subjected to 56 years of suffocating occupation,” Mr. Guterres said.
“But the grievances of the Palestinian people cannot justify the appalling attacks by Hamas. And those appalling attacks cannot justify the collective punishment of the Palestinian people,” he said.
Israel’s UN Ambassador Gilad Erdan described Guterres’ speech as “shocking.”
“His statement that ‘the attacks by Hamas did not happen in a vacuum’ expressed an understanding for terrorism and murder,” Mr. Erdan posted on X, formerly known as Twitter. “It’s truly sad that the head of an organization that arose after the Holocaust holds such horrible views.”
10:55 a.m. ET
Defence Minister Blair says Hamas a threat to world, must be ‘eliminated’
Canada does not believe Hamas would respect a ceasefire in its conflict with Israel, Defence Minister Bill Blair said Tuesday as he provided the most clarity to date on why the Liberal government has not called for one.
“I have no expectation that a terrorist organization would respect international law or any call for a ceasefire,” Blair told reporters in Ottawa before headed into the Liberal cabinet meeting on Tuesday.
Calls for a ceasefire in the latest Israel-Hamas war – including a temporary one, referred to by some as a “pause,” to allow in more aid – have grown in recent days as humanitarian organizations warn of a major crisis in the Gaza Strip.
Canadian ministers had avoided using the word ceasefire to date, though Foreign Minister Melanie Joly said Monday there should be a “de-escalation,” particularly because of fears the conflict is growing beyond just Gaza.
But on Tuesday morning, Blair went further than that, saying that as long as Hamas exists, it is a threat to Israel.
– The Canadian Press
10:26 a.m. ET
Hamas official calls for humanitarian aid crossings, urges Arab countries, UN to halt Israel’s siege
Hamas official Osama Hamdan urged Arab, Islamic countries and the United Nations to try to halt Israel’s assault on Gaza, in a press conference held in Beirut on Tuesday.
Hamdan also called on Arab countries to end any normalisation of diplomatic relations with Israel.
The official called for humanitarian aid crossings to be opened, allowing fuel, aid and rubble removal equipment into Gaza.
9:42 a.m. ET
WHO says it’s unable to distribute fuel, health supplies to hospitals in northern Gaza
The World Health Organization said on Tuesday it remains unable to distribute fuel or life-saving health supplies to major hospitals in northern Gaza due to a lack of security guarantees.
The WHO called for an “immediate humanitarian ceasefire so health supplies and fuel can be delivered safely throughout the Gaza Strip”.
8:34 a.m. ET
Two-thirds of Gaza’s health facilities have stopped functioning: WHO
Nearly two-thirds of Gaza’s health facilities have ceased functioning amid a massive and deadly increase in Israeli airstrikes in the territory, the World Health Organization said Tuesday.
A total of 46 out of 72 health care facilities – including 12 out of 35 hospitals – have stopped functioning across Gaza, the WHO said. Palestinian health officials said the lack of electricity and fuel to power generators from an Israeli blockade, as well as damage from airstrikes, has forced many of the facilities to close.
Doctors in Gaza say patients arriving at hospitals are showing signs of disease caused by overcrowding and poor sanitation after more than 1.4 million people fled their homes for temporary shelters after the war began.
“The crowding of civilians and the fact that most schools used as shelters are housing lots of people, it’s a prime breeding ground for disease to spread,” said Nahed Abu Taaema, a public health doctor at Nasser Hospital in Khan Younis.
In the temporary shelters where displaced Palestinians are crowding with their families hoping for safety from the bombs, people are starting to suffer from stomach complaints, lung infections and rashes said Abu Taaema.
“It’s hot in the tent under the midday sun and there are insects and flies... At night it’s cold and there aren’t enough blankets for everyone. The children are all sick. Some are coughing, some have runny noses, some have fevers at night,” said Sojood Najm, a woman staying at a U.N. shelter.
– Associated Press, Reuters
8:27 a.m. ET
Air strike hits Nuseirat refugee camp in Gaza, killing several
An air strike hit a bustling marketplace in Nuseirat refugee camp in central Gaza, killing several shoppers and wounding dozens, witnesses said.
Men used sledgehammers to break up concrete and dug with their bare hands through the jagged wreckage to save anyone they could – or recover the dead who had been buying meat and vegetables when the explosion hit.
A man buried up to his chest in rubble looked up at his rescuers with wide eyes, his face coated in dust from the blast.
An oxygen mask was placed on his face as rescuers worked to free him. About 15 minutes, he was unearthed and placed on a stretcher.
A roar rose from the dozens of men watching, several with their arms raised in triumph as they cheered the rescue.
On Tuesday, Israel said it had launched 400 airstrikes over the past day, killing Hamas commanders, hitting militants as they were preparing to launch rockets into Israel and striking command centers and a Hamas tunnel shaft. The previous day, Israel reported 320 strikes. The Palestinian official news agency, WAFA, said many of the airstrikes hit residential buildings, some of them in southern Gaza where Israel had told civilians to take shelter.
Hamas’s military arm, Qassam Brigades, said it fired a salvo of rockets on southern Israeli on Tuesday afternoon, including Beersheba, Israel’s largest city in the area. There was no immediate word on any damage or casualties.
– Associated Press
8:16 a.m. ET
704 Palestinians killed in last 24 hours, says Gaza health ministry
At least 5,791 Palestinians have been killed in Israeli strikes on Gaza since Oct. 7, including 2,360 children, Gaza’s Hamas-held health ministry said in a statement on Tuesday.
It said 704 Palestinians had been killed in the previous 24 hours alone.
8:09 a.m. ET
Israeli military drops leaflets in Gaza urging citizens to share hostage information
Israel’s military dropped leaflets in Gaza on Tuesday, urging Palestinians to give them information about hostages being held by Hamas and offering them protection and a reward.
The Palestinian militant group seized more than 200 people during cross-border raids into Israel which killed 1,400 people on Oct. 7. The Palestinian health ministry says Israeli air strikes on Gaza have killed over 5,000 people since then.
“If your will is to live in peace and to have a better future for your children, do the humanitarian deed immediately and share verified and valuable information about hostages being held in your area,” the military said in the leaflet.
“The Israeli military assures you that it will invest maximum effort in providing security for you and your home, and you will receive a financial reward. We guarantee you complete confidentiality.”
The leaflet listed phone numbers to call with information.
People taking refuge at Nasser hospital in Khan Younis in southern Gaza collected the leaflets and tore them up after they were dropped by Israeli planes.
Referring to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, one Palestinian man said: “We don’t care, do whatever you want. All of us in Gaza are telling you, we are resisting, from east to west.”
7:53 a.m. ET
Macron proposes coalition to fight terror groups in Middle East
French President Emmanuel Macron, speaking after meeting Israel’s prime minister on Tuesday, proposed a coalition to fight terror groups in the region “that threaten all of us.”
He compared the proposal to the international coalition fighting the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria. He was referring to the Iranian-backed Hezbollah in Lebanon, Iran itself and the Houthis in Yemen, among others, saying they must not take the risk of opening a new front.
Mr. Macron, on a two-day visit to the region, met with families of hostages held captive in the Gaza Strip by Hamas, and said “we will neglect nothing” to obtain freedom for French citizens. Nine French citizens are being held or have disappeared. Macron said he would visit Ramallah later Tuesday and several regional leaders on Wednesday. He did not identify them.
Standing at the side of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Mr. Macron stressed Israel’s right to defend itself in its war with Hamas.
“The fight must be without mercy, but not without rules” because democracies “respect the rules of war,” Macron said, adding that for example democracies don’t target civilians. His statement appeared to be a message to Israel, which has been criticized by some for attacks that have killed Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip. He called for access to aid for Gaza and for electricity to be supplied to Gaza hospitals – not for making war.
Netanyahu said it is Hamas that is responsible for civilian casualties, but that “we will do every effort to avoid them.” He added, “It could be a long war.”
“Hamas must be destroyed,” Netanyahu said, calling it a condition for ending the war.
Macron said any peace “cannot be durable” without restarting a “decisive” political process with Palestinians. But he said, “Hamas does not (represent) the Palestinian cause.”
– Associated Press
7:35 a.m. ET
Hezbollah-allied politician says Lebanon won’t initiate a war with Israel
A prominent Lebanese Christian politician allied with Hezbollah said Tuesday that Lebanon would not initiate a war with Israel but would defend itself if attacked.
The comments by Gebran Bassil, head of the Free Patriotic Movement of former President Michel Aoun, came as sporadic clashes continue on the Lebanese border with Israel between Hezbollah and armed Palestinian groups in Lebanon on one side and Israeli forces on the other.
“No one can drag us into war unless the Israeli enemy attacks us, and then we will be forced to defend ourselves,” Mr. Bassil said after a meeting with Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri, another Hezbollah ally. Mr. Bassil also spoke by phone to Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah on Monday. “All the Lebanese agree that they do not want war, but that does not mean that we should allow ourselves to be attacked without a response.”
There has been widespread speculation as to whether and under what circumstances Hezbollah and its arsenal of an estimated 150,000 rockets and missiles would fully enter the ongoing Israel-Hamas war. The ongoing clashes on the border and anxieties about a wider conflict have internally displaced 19,646 people in Lebanon, according to the International Organization for Migration.
– Associated Press
7:03 a.m. ET
Finance meeting in Saudi Arabia strikes pessimistic tone
Wall Street’s top financiers struck a pessimistic tone about the economy at a flagship gathering in Saudi Arabia aimed at deal brokering, as the war between Israel and Hamas continues.
The annual event is typically used by attendees as an opportunity to build relationships with some of Saudi Arabia’s biggest companies and its $778-billion sovereign wealth fund, drawn by the promise of deals as the kingdom embarks on an ambitious reform plan to wean its economy off oil.
But an escalation between Islamist group Hamas and Israel into a broader conflict overshadowed the event dubbed “Davos in the Desert”, a nod to the annual gathering of world leaders and corporate bosses in the Swiss Alps.
Although the globe’s top financiers dwelt little on the conflict, speaking about topics such as artificial intelligence, the economic fallout of war combined with record debts as rates rise created a bleak backdrop.
“There’s no question if these things are not resolved, it probably means more global terrorism, which means more insecurity, which means society is going to be fearful ... and ... we see contractions in our economies,” BlackRock Chairman and CEO Laurence Fink said.
6:55 a.m. ET
Israeli military says it killed dozens of Hamas fighters, including three deputy commanders, overnight
The Israeli military said it had hit more than 400 militant targets in Gaza overnight and killed dozens of Hamas fighters, including three deputy commanders.
Among the targets hit was a tunnel that allowed Hamas to infiltrate Israel from the sea and Hamas command centres in mosques, it said. Reuters could not verify the report.
Wide areas of Gaza have been flattened by Israeli bombs, forcing more than one million residents to seek shelter elsewhere in the territory. Food, clean water and medicine and fuel are fast running out.
Earlier, Israeli Chief of Staff Lieutenant General Herzi Halevi suggested Israel had no intention of curbing its strikes.
“We want to bring Hamas to a state of full dismantling,” Mr. Halevi said in a statement.
“We are well prepared for the ground operations in the south,” he added.
Israeli military spokesperson Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari said the military was “ready and determined” for the next stage in the war and was awaiting political instruction.
But how soon Israel might launch a full-scale invasion is not clear. The Middle East’s most powerful military faces a group that has built up a powerful arsenal with Iran’s help, fighting in a crowded urban setting and using a vast tunnel network.
Medical officials in Gaza said dozens of Palestinians were killed or wounded overnight across the enclave, mostly in southern Gaza, due to the Israeli bombing. At least 15 houses were destroyed, the officials said.
Residents said an Israeli missile hit a petrol station in Khan Younis, where workers, families, and others who fled the eastern side of the city were gathered. Several were killed or wounded, they said.
“This a petrol station and there is solar panel power here, so people come to charge their devices and fill water. They bombed them in their sleep,” said Abdallah Abu Al-Atta, who lives by the petrol station.
More than 40 medical centers stopped operations after they ran out of fuel and after some of them were damaged by Israeli bombing, Gaza health ministry spokesman Ashraf Al-Qidra said.
6:41 a.m. ET
China is ramping up its diplomatic engagement in the Middle East amid growing calls for a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas due to the rapidly worsening humanitarian situation in Gaza.
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi on Monday spoke to his counterparts from Israel and the Palestinian Authority, urging a de-escalation of the current crisis and emphasizing Beijing’s support for the Palestinian cause and a two-state solution.
“The current Palestinian-Israeli conflict affects the whole world and involves a major choice between war and peace,” Mr. Wang told Israeli foreign minister Eli Cohen, according to Chinese state media. “China is deeply concerned about the continued escalation of the conflict and the worsening situation, and deeply saddened by the large number of civilian casualties.”
Israel has not released its own readout of the call, but Chinese reports noted Mr. Cohen “introduced Israel’s position and security concerns on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.”
In his conversation with Mr. Wang, Riyad Al-Maliki, foreign affairs minister for the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank, “expressed heartfelt thanks to the Chinese side for upholding justice, making a clear and strong statement, standing firmly with the Palestinian people, and providing emergency humanitarian assistance to the Palestinian side,” Chinese state media reported.
China has long supported the Palestinian cause, dating back to the Mao Zedong era, but in recent years has grown closer to Israel, increasing trade and co-operating on anti-terrorism. Following Beijing’s successful brokering of talks between Saudi Arabia and Iran, some Chinese officials had suggested the country could also play peacemaker in the Middle East’s most intransigent conflict.
– James Griffiths, Hong Kong
6:35 a.m. ET
Some Gaza aid ‘not very usable’: UN agency
The U.N. aid agency for Palestinians, UNRWA, says some of the aid trucked into Gaza is “not very usable,” such as lentils and rice that require increasingly scarce fresh water and fuel to be cooked.
UNRWA spokesperson Tamira Alrifai said a total of 54 aid trucks have entered Gaza over the last several days, a “trickle” compared to the 500-odd truck deliveries, carrying both aid and commercial goods, a day in times of relative peace.
“My colleagues told me that in one of the shipments over the last couple of days, we received boxes of rice and lentils – donated very, very generously,” she said from Amman by video call to a U.N. briefing in Geneva. “But for people to cook lentils and rice, they need water and gas. And therefore, these kinds of supplies – while very generous and well-intended – are not very usable.”
Ms. Alrifai praised the “very spontaneous giving and donations” flown into Egypt for delivery to Gaza through the Rafah crossing, from various countries, “especially Arab countries.” She called for coordination with the Egyptian Red Crescent and “very, very clear guidance from the humanitarian groups that are on the ground.”
“Of course, everything is being closely coordinated with my U.N. colleagues and with U.N. agencies. But we will need to get better as a consortium of humanitarians in sending very explicit lists of what is most needed,” Ms. Alrifai said.
She said U.N. negotiators were “very, very far away” from getting the full ability to provide needed aid to Gaza.
– Associated Press
6:30 a.m. ET
Israeli fighter jets target Rafah in southern Gaza, killing at least 28
KHAN YOUNIS, Gaza Strip – Israeli fighter jets pounded several homes overnight in the city of Rafah in southern Gaza, killing at least 28 people, according to the Hamas-run Interior Ministry. The ministry reported other airstrikes across the besieged territory which it said left dozens dead.
In Khan Younis, an Israeli airstrike hit a building in a refugee area late Tuesday morning, leaving many casualties. An Associated Press journalist saw ambulances bringing two dead and two wounded people from the strike.
The Palestinian Red Crescent said the airstrike in densely populated Khan Younis hit a house near its hospital, Al-Amal. It said the airstrike caused panic at the hospital and its shelter center, which houses 4,000 people who fled their homes in northern Gaza because of the bombardments.
Tens of thousands of Palestinians have moved to southern Gaza, including Rafah, which borders Egypt, after Israel told civilians to flee southward ahead of an expected ground invasion. However, Israel has continued its attacks across Gaza’s southern areas.
– Associated Press
6:17 a.m. ET
Freed elderly Israeli hostage says she was beaten with sticks, then treated well by captors
Eighty-five-year-old Yocheved Lifshitz spoke of a “hell that we never knew before and never thought we would experience” as she described the harrowing Oct. 7 assault on her kibbutz by Hamas militants and the terror of being taken hostage into the Gaza Strip.
Lifshitz was the first of the four hostages released so far to speak of their experience, from the initial attack through the more than two weeks of captivity.
“Masses swarmed our houses, beat people, and some were taken hostage,” said Lifshitz, speaking softly from a wheelchair as she briefed reporters on Tuesday at Tel Aviv’s Ichilov Hospital, a day after Hamas released her and 79-year-old Nurit Cooper. “They didn’t care if they were young or old.”
Her 83-year-old husband, Oded, remains a hostage in Gaza.
Lifshitz, a member of Kibbutz Nir Oz, was among the more than 200 Israelis and foreigners seized after heavily armed Hamas militants broke through Israel’s multibillion-dollar electric border fence and fanned across southern Israel, overrunning nearly two dozen communities, military bases and a desert rave. More than 1,400 people died in the daylong killing spree that followed.
Israel’s military has launched a devastating war on Gaza in an effort to crush Hamas and its airstrikes into Gaza after the attack have killed more than 5,000 people, according to the Hamas-led Gaza Health Ministry. Lifshitz’s captors hustled her onto a motorcycle, removed her watch and jewelry and beat her with sticks, bruising her ribs and making it difficult to breathe, she said.
Once in Gaza, she walked several kilometers to a network of tunnels that she described as “looking like a spider web.” She reached a large room where 25 people had been taken but was later separated into a smaller group with four others.
The people assigned to guard her “told us they are people who believe in the Quran and wouldn’t hurt us.”
Lifshitz said captives were treated well and received medical care, including medication. The guards kept conditions clean, she said. Hostages were given one meal a day of cheese, cucumber and pita, she said, adding that her captors ate the same.
Lifshitz and her husband were peace activists who regularly drove Palestinian patients from Gaza to receive medical treatment in Israeli hospitals. But in captivity, the hostages told their captors, “We don’t want to talk about politics,” she said.
Lifshitz and Cooper were the second pair of hostages to be released.
– Associated Press
6:15 a.m. ET
Netanyahu warns war may take time
The Israeli military will destroy Hamas during the on-going war in the Gaza Strip, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Tuesday, adding that after the conflict no one would live “under Hamas tyranny”.
Speaking alongside French President Emmanuel Macron, Mr. Netanyahu warned that the war might take time.
5:44 a.m. ET
Gaza needs unimpeded flow of aid - UN bodies
The United Nations Palestinian refugee agency (UNRWA) and the World Health Organization (WHO) on Tuesday called for an unimpeded flow of aid into Gaza, trapped in a humanitarian crisis after two weeks of Israeli air strikes.
“We call for an unimpeded and continuous flow of humanitarian assistance and medical assistance to continue coming into Gaza,” said Tamara Alrifai, spokesperson for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East.
“The trucks that have come in so far are just a trickle in the face of the immense needs of people on the street.”
UNRWA said fuel, which has not been sent to the Gaza Strip along with the humanitarian aid, was crucial.
“Fuel is extremely urgent because without fuel, the trucks themselves cannot move,” Alrifai said. “Without fuel, the generators cannot produce electricity for hospitals, for bakeries and for the water desalination plant.”
Aid deliveries into Gaza through the Rafah crossing from Egypt began on Saturday after intense diplomatic efforts, but U.N. agencies say it is insufficient to meet the needs of the 2.3 million population.
WHO said medicines and health supplies had been delivered to three key referral hospitals in southern Gaza but that it still needed to reach the north of the Palestinian enclave, one of the most densely-populated places in the world.
“We still have not been able to reach the hospitals in the north with the medical supplies or the desperately needed fuel,” said Dr. Rick Brennan, WHO Regional Emergencies Director for Eastern Mediterranean Region.
Brennan said one-third of hospitals in the Gaza Strip were now non-functional at a time when the medical burden is enormous, and that some two-thirds of clinics are not functioning.
“We are on our knees asking for that sustained, scaled up, protected humanitarian operation,” he said.
“We appeal to all of those in a situation to make a decision or to influence decision-makers to give us the humanitarian space to address this human catastrophe.”
4:46 a.m. ET
Israeli airstrike on residential building kills at least 32
KHAN YOUNIS, Gaza Strip — An overnight Israeli airstrike hit a four-storey residential building in the city of Khan Younis, killing at least 32 people and wounding scores of others, according to survivors.
The fatalities included 13 from the Saqallah family in the Qarraha area, east of Khan Younis, said Ammar al-Butta, a relative who survived the airstrike. He said about 100 people, including his family and many others, had sheltered there.
The victims were taken to Nasser Hospital in Khan Younis. An Associated Press video showed about a dozen bodies in white body bags lying on the ground outside the main gate of the hospital. One woman was weeping while another tried to console her.
“We were hosting our relatives from Gaza and the northern cities,” al-Butta said, speaking from the hospital. “They were sheltering at our home because we thought that our area would be safe. But apparently there is no safe place in Gaza.”
Osama al-Bashity, another relative, said they couldn’t recognize the dead. “We recognized them through the clothes they wore, who wore these trousers, or that T-shirt,” he said. “They turned into pieces.”
-The Associated Press
4:46 a.m. ET
French President Macron expresses support for Israel, urges release of hostages
French President Emmanuel Macron said during a meeting with Israeli President Isaac Herzog in Jerusalem on Tuesday that he came to Israel “to express our support and solidarity and share your pain.”
After arriving at Tel Aviv airport, Macron met with the families of 18 Franco-Israeli people who have been killed, are being held hostage or are missing.
“The first objective we should have today is the release of all hostages without any distinction because this is an awful crime to play with lives of children, adults, old people, civilians, soldiers,” Macron said.
He said he wanted to ensure Israel it is “not left alone in the war against terrorism.”
“We will do whatever we can to restore peace, security and stability for your country and the whole region,” he added.
French authorities said 30 French nationals were killed in the Oct. 7 attack by Hamas and nine others are missing or are being held hostage.
-The Associated Press
3:15 a.m. ET
Qatar’s emir: Israel shouldn’t get unrestricted OK to kill
Qatar’s ruling emir on Tuesday urged the international community not to grant Israel “unrestricted authorization to kill” Palestinians in its fight against Hamas, in what he called a dangerous escalation that threatens global security.
“We say enough. Israel shouldn’t be granted an unconditional green light and unrestricted authorization to kill,” Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani said in an annual speech to open the Gulf Arab state’s advisory Shura council, his first public comments since Qatar began its most recent efforts to mediate between Israel and Hamas.
The Palestinian health ministry said the Gaza death toll had topped 5,000 in two weeks of Israeli air strikes in response to Hamas’ surprise Oct. 7 attack on southern Israel, in which the Islamist militant group killed more than 1,400 people and captured more than 200 hostages.
Since then, wealthy gas-producer Qatar has had an open dialogue with both Israel and Hamas which has brought about the release of four hostages held by Hamas, including two Israeli women on Monday.
“We call for a serious regional and international stance against this dangerous escalation that we are witnessing, which threatens the security of the region and the world,” Sheikh Tamim said.
“We do not accept double standards and acting like the lives of Palestinian children aren’t accounted for, as if they don’t have faces or names.”
Oct. 23, 9:17 p.m. ET
With humanitarian assistance to the Gaza Strip still hobbled by Israeli restrictions, the United States is challenging an Israeli ban on fuel supplies to the besieged Palestinian territory.
In three days of tightly limited aid convoys, which began after lengthy negotiations, a total of only 54 truckloads of emergency aid have entered Gaza from neighbouring Egypt – and none of the supplies have included fuel.
Israel has reserved the right to inspect each truck, slowing the aid flow. United Nations officials have estimated that Gaza is getting only 4 per cent of the supplies that it received before the Israel-Hamas war. Hundreds of trucks a day are needed, they say.
The war began on Oct. 7, after Hamas militants from Gaza attacked southern Israel, killing more than 1,400 people and abducting 222, according to the Israeli government’s latest count. Gaza’s health ministry says the subsequent Israeli missile bombardment of Gaza has killed more than 5,000 people and injured more than 15,000, with hundreds more still missing under the rubble of bombed buildings.
Israel has barred any aid supplies to Gaza that it suspects might benefit Hamas, and fuel has been the most contentious case so far. UN relief workers have warned that the ban on fuel will “strangle” the people of Gaza by halting water pumps and hospital operations within days.
The United States has now added its voice to the dissent over the fuel ban. “We know you need fuel to run power generators in hospitals,” John Kirby, a spokesperson for the U.S. National Security Council, said in a briefing for foreign journalists in Washington on Monday.
Oct. 23, 5:25 P.M. ET
Flipped and burned-out cars. Homes partially smashed to rubble. A scorch mark in the middle of the road where an airstrike struck a crowd of people, killing gunmen but also innocent bystanders, including children.
These scenes are not from the Gaza Strip, but from the streets of a crowded refugee camp in the West Bank in the aftermath of an Israeli incursion last week.
The body count in Nour Shams – 14 dead Palestinians and many more injured, plus one dead Israeli sergeant and nine wounded soldiers – has fed fears that the ferocious violence in and around Gaza could spread here to the usually calmer West Bank.
“It’s a war here too,” said Fatimeh Magniyeh, a member of the political committee in the camp, which is home to 14,000 people. The 61-year-old said Israeli troops came so close to her house last week that she encountered them when she went outside to pick a tomato from her family’s property. “One of them said to me, ‘We’re here because either you kill us or we kill you.’”
The bloodshed in Nour Shams is the worst the West Bank has seen in more than two weeks of escalating violence that has left more than 90 Palestinians dead, according to the Palestine Red Crescent Society. That has already made October the deadliest month in the occupied territory since the heights of the last intifada, more than two decades ago.