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EU summit calls for ‘humanitarian corridors and pauses’ in Gaza

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

  • Smoke rises following Israeli strikes in Khan Younis.MOHAMMED SALEM/Reuters

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Israel-Hamas war day 20

10:15 p.m. ET

Missile strikes Egyptian Red Sea town on Israel border

A missile launched as part of fighting between Hamas militants and Israel struck an Egyptian resort town about 220 km (135 miles) from the Gaza Strip early on Friday, Egypt’s Al Qahera News reported, citing sources.

The missile hit a medical facility in Taba, injuring at least six people, Al Qahera TV reported. A witness in Taba confirmed hearing an explosion and seeing smoke rising, but Reuters was not immediately able to identify the blast’s source.

Taba straddles Egypt’s border with Israel’s Red Sea port of Eilat. Israel’s military said it was aware of a security incident outside its borders.

Hamas said on Wednesday it had targeted Eilat with a missile, which the Israeli military said hit an outlying area. That incident appeared to be the longest-range Palestinian attack of the Gaza war raging since Oct. 7

There was no immediate claim of responsibility after Friday morning’s blast.

The Taba explosion highlights the risk facing Egypt and other countries in the region as fighting intensifies between Israel and Hamas.

- Reuters

7:10 p.m. ET

Family of six Americans trapped in Gaza plead for help from Biden

Family members of six American citizens trapped in Gaza pleaded Thursday for President Joe Biden to help their relatives get out from what started as a long-awaited vacation and turned into a horrific nightmare of bombardments and smoke.

Shamiss Kaoud, 33, of Moreno Valley, California, said she and her sister have been calling the U.S. State Department daily to try to get her 68-year-old father, Jamal, his four brothers and one of her cousins evacuated from the war zone.

“No one is listening. No one is helping. It’s as if nobody cares,” she told reporters at a press conference in Anaheim, California. “Shouldn’t being a U.S. citizen matter?”

The group traveled to Gaza in late September to visit family and has since gone three times to Gaza’s Rafah crossing but been unable to get out.

Hussam Ayloush, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations in greater Los Angeles, said the State Department has estimated 600 Palestinian Americans are stuck in Gaza.

“The life of every citizen in America should be the priority of our government,” he said.

- The Associated Press

7 p.m. ET

U.S. will respond to recent attacks on troops stationed in Middle East at time ‘of our choosing,’ White House says

A White House spokesman said Thursday that the United States would respond at a “time of our choosing and a manner of our choosing” to a recent spate of attacks said to have been carried out by Iranian-backed groups against U.S. troops stationed in the Middle East.

The blunt warning from White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby came a day after President Joe Biden said Iran Ayatollah Ali Khamenei had been directly warned that the U.S. would respond if Iran or its proxies continued to attack U.S. troops. Attacks on U.S. troops in the region have increased since the start of the Israel-Hamas war on Oct. 7.

Asked on Thursday to provide further details on how that message was delivered to Khamenei, Kirby declined to elaborate.

- The Associated Press

4:30 p.m. ET

About 900 U.S. troops heading to Middle East to bolster defenses as attacks surge

About 900 more U.S. troops have arrived in the Middle East or are heading there to bolster air defenses for U.S. personnel amid a surge in attacks by Iran-affiliated groups, the Pentagon said on Thursday.

As tensions soar over the Israel-Hamas war, U.S. and coalition troops have been attacked at least 12 times in Iraq and four times in Syria in the last week, Pentagon spokesperson Brigadier General Patrick Ryder told reporters.

A total of 21 U.S. forces have suffered minor injuries, the vast majority of them traumatic brain injuries.

The United States has sent warships and fighter aircraft to the region since the conflict erupted on Oct. 7, including two aircraft carriers, to try to deter Iran and Iran-backed groups. The number of troops added to the region is in the thousands.

Ryder said U.S. forces were again targeted earlier on Thursday in Iraq but the attack failed.

“I’m not going to have more specific information to provide to you from here in terms of specific groups that have claimed responsibility (for attacking U.S. personnel), other than to say we know that these groups are affiliated with Iran,” Ryder said.

Reuters reported this week the U.S. military was taking new measures to protect its Middle East forces during the ramp-up in attacks by suspected Iran-backed groups, and was leaving open the possibility of evacuating military families if needed.

The measures include increasing U.S. military patrols, restricting access to base facilities and boosting intelligence collection, including through drone and other surveillance operations, officials say.

The U.S. is also beefing up monitoring from guard towers on its military facilities, increasing security at base access points and increasing operations to counter potential incoming drones, rockets and missiles, the officials say.

The latest U.S. troop deployments are tied to U.S. plans to deploy a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system and Patriot missile batteries.

Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian told the United Nations on Thursday that if Israel’s retaliation against Palestinian Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip does not end, then the United States will “not be spared from this fire.”

Last week off the coast of Yemen, a U.S. warship shot down more than a dozen drones and four cruise missiles fired by Iranian-backed Houthis.

The heightened tensions have put U.S. personnel on constant alert. During a false alarm at Al-Asad air base in Iraq on Thursday, a civilian contractor died from cardiac arrest.

- Reuters

3:45 p.m.

EU summit calls for ‘humanitarian corridors and pauses’ in Gaza

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Protestors hold signs during a demonstration calling for peace in Gaza, near The European Council Building, in Brussels, on Oct. 26, 2023, during a EU leaders Summit.LUDOVIC MARIN/AFP/Getty Images

European Union leaders agreed at a summit on Thursday to call for the establishment of “humanitarian corridors and pauses” to get urgently needed aid into Gaza.

In a declaration at the summit in Brussels, the leaders of the Union’s 27 nations expressed the “gravest concern for the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Gaza”.

They called for “continued, rapid, safe and unhindered humanitarian access and aid to reach those in need through all necessary measures including humanitarian corridors and pauses for humanitarian needs.”

The summit was the leaders’ first in-person meeting since the deadly Oct. 7 assault on Israel by Palestinian militant group Hamas, which prompted Israel to bombard and blockade Hamas-run Gaza.

In their declaration, the leaders reiterated their previous condemnation “in the strongest possible terms” of the Hamas attack and emphasised Israel’s right to defend itself “in line with international law and international humanitarian law”.

They also repeated a call for Hamas to immediately release all hostages “without any precondition”.

“The European Union will work closely with partners in the region to protect civilians, provide assistance and facilitate access to food, water, medical care, fuel and shelter, ensuring that such assistance is not abused by terrorist organisations,” the declaration also said.

- Reuters

3:09 p.m. ET

Paris to send tents, medicine in humanitarian shipment to Gaza

Paris will send an aircraft filled with humanitarian aid for civilians in Gaza, including tents, medicine and emergency medical equipment, the French foreign ministry said on Thursday.

The emergency cargo will be transported on an aircraft provided by the CMA CGM Foundation from Paris to Egypt before the goods will be handed over to the Egyptian Red Crescent, the ministry said in a statement.

The shipment includes 336 tents, 28 metric tons of food supplements, 70,000 water purification tablets, 18 emergency ventilators, medication and solar lamps.

AFP reported the flight will leave on Saturday.

Separately, EU leaders were poised at a summit in Brussels to call for pauses in Israeli bombing and Hamas rocket attacks to deliver humanitarian aid to Gaza after days of wrangling that highlighted divisions within the bloc over the Israel-Palestinian conflict.

Ahead of the summit, diplomats spent days debating whether to call for a “humanitarian pause” or “pauses”.

A draft intended as a final summit declaration includes the latter, expressing the leaders’ “gravest concern for the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Gaza”.

The French foreign ministry reiterated its call for a “humanitarian truce” to allow for delivery of urgent aid.

- Reuters

2 p.m. ET

At UN podium, Israel’s envoy plays gruesome Hamas attack video

Israel’s United Nations envoy showed the 193-member General Assembly a brief video on Thursday that he said showed a Hamas fighter trying to decapitate a man with a garden tool during the Palestinian militants’ Oct. 7 attack on Israel.

Ambassador Gilad Erdan told diplomats the victim seen in the few seconds of footage he played for them on a tablet was not Israeli or Jewish, but an agricultural worker from Thailand.

“One can see a terribly injured civilian – bloodied, yet alive – laying on the ground as a Hamas savage screaming Allahu Akbar repeatedly pummels the man’s neck with a garden hoe in order to decapitate him,” Erdan told the assembly.

Erdan’s comments were delivered as the assembly began a two-day meeting on the Middle East on Thursday.

It is due to vote on Friday on a resolution drafted by Arab states that calls for a ceasefire in the war between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

At each seat in the hall at United Nations headquarters, Israeli diplomats placed a print out of a QR code with the title “Free Gaza from Hamas, scan to see Hamas’ atrocities”. It linked to photos and videos from the Oct. 7 attack.

Israel has vowed to wipe out Hamas, which rules Gaza, in retaliation for the attack that killed 1,400 people. Israel has struck Gaza from the air, imposed a siege on the enclave of 2.3 million people and is preparing a ground invasion. Palestinian authorities say more than 7,000 have been killed.

Speaking on behalf of Arab states, Jordan’s Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi accused Israel of “making Gaza a perpetual hell on earth - the trauma will haunt generations to come.” He said the impact on Palestinian civilians was immense.

“I don’t have videos to show you, we respect the dead too much,” Safadi said.

Arguing for a ceasefire, Palestinian U.N. envoy Riyad Mansour said certain nations, which he did not name, were applying a clear double standard.

“How can representatives of states explain how horrible it is that 1,000 Israelis were killed, and not feel the same outrage when 1,000 Palestinians are now killed every single day?” Mansour asked the assembly. “Why not feel a sense of urgency to end their killing?”

- The Associated Press

1:35 p.m. ET

Iran’s foreign minister says country ‘stands ready’ to play its part in release of hostages

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Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian speaks to an emergency special session of the United Nations General Assembly on the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas at U.N. headquarters in New York City, U.S., Oct. 26, 2023.MIKE SEGAR/Reuters

Iran’s foreign minister says Hamas is ready to release civilian prisoners abducted from Israel and is stressing that the international community must take responsibility for releasing 6,000 Palestinian prisoners held in Israel.

Hossein Amirabdollahian told an emergency meeting of the U.N. General Assembly on Thursday that Iran “stands ready to play its part in this very important humanitarian endeavor, along with Qatar and Turkey.”

Iran is a key backer of Hamas and Qatar has already played a key role in the release of four Israeli civilians, among the more than 200 still held captive.

Amirabdollahian accused the United States of directly participating in the Israeli-Hamas war and what he called a “genocide” against the Palestinians.

He also issued a strong warning “against the uncontrollable consequences of the unlimited financial, arms and operational support by the White House to the Tel Aviv regime.”

“I say frankly to the American statesman, who are now managing the genocide in Palestine, that we do not welcome to expansion of the war in the region,” Iran’s top diplomat said in English at the start of his remarks.

“But I warn, if the genocide in Gaza continues, they will not be spared from this fire,” Amirabdollahian said. “It is our home and west Asia is our region. We do not compromise with any party and any side, and we have no reservation when it comes to our home security.”

- The Associated Press

1:30 p.m. ET

Israel calls on Russia to expel visiting Hamas delegation

Israel on Thursday called on Russia to expel a visiting Hamas delegation, saying their invitation to Moscow was “deplorable.”

“Hamas is a terrorist organization worse than ISIS. The hands of senior Hamas figures are covered with the blood of more than 1400 Israelis who were slaughtered, murdered, executed and burned, and they are responsible for the abduction of more than 220 Israelis, including babies, children, women and the elderly,” the Israeli Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

- Reuters

1:05 p.m. ET

Russian foreign ministry says it discussed release of hostages with a Hamas representative

The Russian Foreign Ministry said it discussed the release of hostages in the Gaza Strip and the evacuation of Russian nationals and other foreign citizens with a Hamas representative who visited Moscow Thursday.

The ministry said in a statement carried by Russian news agencies that talks with Abu Marzouk, a member of Hamas’ political bureau, were part of Moscow’s efforts to secure the immediate release of foreign hostages held in Gaza. It said that issues related to organizing the evacuation of Russian and other foreign citizens from Gaza were also discussed.

The ministry noted that the Russian side “reaffirmed its unwavering position in favor of implementing the well-known decisions of the international community, including the relevant resolutions of the United Nations Security Council and the U.N. General Assembly, which envisage the establishment of a sovereign Palestinian state within the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital and coexisting in peace and security with Israel.”

- The Associated Press

1 p.m. ET

Spain’s acting prime minister calls for international peace conference

Spanish Acting Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez called Thursday for an international peace conference on the Middle East conflict to take place within six months with the aim of resolving the Israel-Hamas war.

“From Spain, we propose that an International Peace Conference be held within six months so that the entire international community feels involved, is involved and we can definitively find a two-state solution to Israel and Palestine,” he said in Brussels ahead of a European Union Council meeting.

Sanchez also called for a humanitarian cease-fire in order to get aid into Gaza and called on Hamas to release the people who are being held hostage.

- The Associated Press

11:50 a.m. ET

Many Israelis are furious at their government’s chaotic recovery efforts after Hamas attack

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Members of Kibbutz Kfar Aza show support for the families of the abductees, on Oct. 26, 2023 in Tel Aviv, Israel.Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

More than two weeks after Hamas militants rampaged through a string of sleepy farming towns, many Israelis are furious at Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government, not just for failing to prevent the attack, but for failing to come to their aid afterward.

While the military is launching unrelenting airstrikes in Gaza that have killed thousands of Palestinians, and hundreds of thousands of Israeli troops are massing for a possible ground offensive, government infighting and lack of help for those in need have left traumatized survivors to mourn on their own and volunteers – many of whom spent the past year protesting the government – to take on recovery efforts.

“It has to be clear. The government is completely incompetent,” said Ruvi Dar, a clinical psychologist and Tel Aviv University professor who has been counselling survivors evacuated from their homes.

“Any support that the refugees are getting right now is completely grassroots. Absolutely nothing by the state,” he said, adding that even volunteers’ hotel rooms are paid for by nonprofit groups.

The backdrop to the outcry is the long-running and contentious plan by Netanyahu and his far-right government to sharply curtail the power of the country’s judiciary, which sparked months of protests.

Many believe the government neglected basic functions while it focused its efforts on attacking the Supreme Court, which it accused of being liberal and interventionist.

- Associated Press

11 a.m. ET

Seventh Canadian killed in conflict, two still missing

A seventh Canadian was killed in the wake of the Hamas militant group’s attack on Israel more than two weeks ago.

Global Affairs Canada announced the death in a statement Thursday morning.

The government’s announcement did not clarify when or where the person was killed, but a government source said the latest death was also a result of the Oct. 7 Hamas attack on southern Israel, in which six other Canadians were also killed.

The Globe and Mail is not identifying the source because they were not permitted to disclose details of the incident.

Global Affairs Canada is “providing support to seven Canadian families following deaths in the current hostilities, as well as to the families of two Canadians who are missing,” said the Thursday statement.

Emily Williams, spokesperson for Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly, said the federal government was notified of the seventh death overnight on Tuesday.

The Globe and Mail has not identified the most recent victim.

- Marieke Walsh

10:30 a.m ET

Aid convoys to Gaza were ‘set up to fail,’ UN official says, as humanitarian crisis worsens

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People distribute food to people at a makeshift camp for displaced people in Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip on Oct. 25, 2023MAHMUD HAMS/AFP/Getty Images

With aid convoys stalled and dwindling, and Gaza on the verge of civil disorder, a senior United Nations official says the Palestinian territory and its humanitarian workers are victims of a system that was “set up to fail.”

Philippe Lazzarini, head of the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, known as UNRWA, told The Globe and Mail that some of Gaza’s two million people will soon be dying from Israel’s siege of the territory, not just from the relentless daily Israeli missile bombardment that has reportedly killed thousands. Water, food, fuel and medicine are all nearly exhausted.

Mr. Lazzarini described a riot that erupted on Thursday in a southern district of Gaza after people were falsely told in phone messages that the UN would be distributing food. “Civil order is breaking down,” he said. “People are just completely desperate.”

Aid agencies were able to get 40 trucks of relief supplies into Gaza from Egypt last weekend, and Western leaders said this was just the beginning, with an increase expected. Instead the number has dropped, with only 34 trucks entering Gaza in four days this week. Aid trucks have routinely been held for many hours at Israeli inspection zones, with Israel saying it must ensure that no weapons or fuel are contained in the trucks.

Before the latest war, Mr. Lazzarini noted, Israel was able to inspect about 500 trucks daily at the Kerem Shalom crossing between Israel and Gaza. “So why does it take so long now for a handful of trucks?” he asked.

Western governments, including Canada, acknowledged that the first two days of aid convoys, with a total of 40 trucks, were a small fraction of what Gaza needs. The UN has estimated that a bare minimum of 100 trucks of relief supplies are needed every day.

- Geoffrey York and Mark MacKinnon

10 a.m. ET

Palestinian foreign minister promises co-operation with international courts on visit to The Hague

Palestinian Authority’s foreign minister told reporters Thursday that he fully supports an International Criminal Court investigation into the Palestinian territories, and he called for a full cease-fire to bring humanitarian aid into the Gaza Strip.

The court in The Hague investigates and prosecutes people for war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity. Palestinian Foreign Affairs Minister Riyad al-Maliki met with chief prosecutor Karim Khan twice during a two-day visit to the Netherlands to drum up international support for an ICC investigation.

Asked by journalists if he would support the court looking into Hamas’ surprise Oct. 7 attacks in southern Israel, he said that the Palestinian Authority would not interfere with the investigation. “We cannot say `Investigate here, don’t investigate there,”' al-Maliki said.

The international court launched an investigation in 2021 into alleged crimes in the Palestinian territories, focusing on military operations against Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip and the expansion of Jewish settlements in east Jerusalem and the occupied West Bank.

Khan confirmed last week that his mandate would extend to Palestinians who carried out crimes against Israelis. The investigation was spurred by the last major conflict in Gaza, but can analyze war crimes allegations from the current Israel-Hamas war.

- Associated Press

9:45 a.m. ET

Arab countries condemn targeting of civilians in Gaza

The foreign ministers of the United Arab Emirates, Jordan, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Qatar, Kuwait, Egypt and Morocco condemned on Thursday targeting of civilians and violations of international law in Gaza which has been under Israeli bombardment.

Their joint statement mentioned that the right to self-defence does not justify breaking law and neglecting Palestinians’ rights.

The Arab foreign ministers also condemned forced displacement and collective punishment in Gaza, it added.

- Reuters

9:25 a.m. ET

Al Jazeera Gaza correspondent loses four family members in Israeli airstrike

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Al Jazeera correspondent Wael Al-Dahdouh attends the funeral of his wife and children, killed in an Israeli air strike, in central Gaza Strip.AL JAZEERA/Reuters

Al Jazeera’s chief correspondent in the Gaza Strip, Wael Dahdouh, was helping broadcast live images of the besieged territory’s night sky when he received the devastating news: His wife, son, and daughter had all been killed in an Israeli airstrike on Wednesday.

Moments later, the Qatari-based satellite channel switched to footage of Dahdouh entering al-Aqsa Hospital in Gaza before giving way to grief as he peered over the body of his dead son.

“They take revenge on us in our children?” he said, kneeling over his son’s bloodied body, still wearing his protective press vest from that day’s work.

Dahdouh’s grandson also was declared dead two hours later, the network reported.

The video was sure to reverberate across the Arab world, where the 53-year-old journalist is well-known as the face of Palestinians during many wars. He is revered in his native Gaza for telling people’s stories of suffering and hardship to the outside world.

According to Al Jazeera, Dahdouh’s family members were killed by an Israeli airstrike that hit Nuseirat Refugee Camp, located in an area of Gaza where the military had encouraged people to go to stay safe. It said a number of other relatives were still missing, and it remained unclear how many others were killed.

- Associated Press

8:35 a.m. ET

Turkey’s Erdogan tells Pope: Silence of international community over Gaza ‘embarrassing’

Turkey’s President Tayyip Erdogan told Pope Francis in a phone call on Thursday that Israel’s attacks on Gaza amounted to a massacre, and that the international community’s ensuing silence was “embarrassing,” the presidency said.

In the call, Erdogan said that all countries must raise their voice against the humanitarian crisis in the region, according to a statement by the Turkish presidency.

The call took place in the morning, following a request made by Erdogan, a Vatican spokesman said in a note.

“The Pope expressed his pain for what is happening and reiterated the position of the Holy See, hoping that the two-state solution can be reached as well as recognizing a special status for the city of Jerusalem,” the spokesman added.

- Reuters

6:18 a.m. ET

Israel says years needed to rehabilitate south after Gaza attack

Israeli efforts to rehabilitate southern communities ravaged by the Oct. 7 Hamas onslaught will take years and go beyond a planned ground offensive in the Gaza Strip, a member of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s war cabinet said on Thursday.

Benny Gantz, an ex-general who joined Netanyahu from the opposition in an emergency government, signalled to enemies of Israel other than Hamas that they too risked being destroyed.

“The battle against Gazan terror will continue within the strip’s territory - going deep, anywhere and at any time required to ensure security for the communities that will be restored and will rebuild the region,” he said in a speech.

“The [ground] manoeuvre will be but one stage of a long process that will include defensive, diplomatic and social aspects that will take years.”

A long-time political rival of Netanyahu, Gantz said the two-week-old war cabinet was functioning well and making decisions based on calculations relevant to the national crisis.

Israel has vowed to annihilate Hamas, which is sworn to its destruction and has the support of Iran and Hezbollah in Lebanon.

- Reuters

6:10 a.m. ET

EU leaders to call for Gaza humanitarian corridors to get aid in

European Union leaders are poised to call for humanitarian corridors in Gaza and for pauses in bombardments into and out of the enclave to enable access for aid, after days of wrangling that highlighted divisions within the bloc over the Israel-Hamas conflict.

While EU leaders have strongly condemned Hamas’ attack on Israel, they have struggled to stick to the same message beyond that, with some stressing Israel’s right to self-defence and others emphasizing concern about Palestinian civilians.

As leaders gather for a summit in Brussels on Thursday, diplomats and officials have spent days debating whether to call for a “humanitarian pause” or “pauses” in the plural.

A text intended as a final draft for the summit declaration includes the latter, expressing leaders’ “gravest concern for the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Gaza.”

Countries such as France, the Netherlands, Spain, Portugal and Ireland had endorsed calls from the United Nations for a break in the conflict for humanitarian reasons.

But others such as Germany, the Czech Republic and Austria resisted, arguing such a measure could curb Israel’s ability to defend itself and let Hamas regroup, according to diplomats.

- Reuters

5:09 a.m. ET

Israeli troops carry out hours-long ground raid into Gaza ahead of expected wider incursion

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A Israeli soldier inspects a damaged residential building, a day after it was hit by a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip, in Rishon Lezion, Israel, Thursday, Oct. 26, 2023.Francisco Seco/The Associated Press

Israeli troops and tanks launched an hours-long ground raid into northern Gaza overnight into Thursday, the military said, striking several militant targets in order to “prepare the battlefield” before a widely expected ground invasion after more than two weeks of devastating airstrikes.

The raid came after the UN warned that’s it’s on the verge of running out of fuel in the Gaza Strip, forcing it to sharply curtail relief efforts in the territory, which has also been under a complete siege since Hamas’ bloody rampage across southern Israel ignited the war earlier this month.

The rising death toll in Gaza, which soared past 7,000 on Thursday, according to Palestinian officials, is unprecedented in the decades-long Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Even greater loss of life could come if Israel launches an expected ground offensive aimed at crushing Hamas, which has ruled Gaza since 2007 and survived four previous wars with Israel.

The Health Ministry in Hamas-ruled Gaza said Wednesday that more than 750 people were killed over the past 24 hours, higher than the 704 killed the previous day. The Associated Press couldn’t independently verify the death toll, and the ministry doesn’t distinguish between civilians and combatants.

Israel has vowed to crush Hamas’ capacity to govern Gaza or threaten it again, while also saying it doesn’t want to reoccupy the territory from which it withdrew soldiers and settlers in 2005. That could prove a daunting challenge, since Hamas is deeply rooted in Palestinian society, with political and charity organizations as well as a formidable armed wing.

During the overnight raid, soldiers killed fighters and destroyed militant infrastructure and anti-tank missile launching positions, the military said. It said no Israeli were wounded. There was no immediate confirmation of any Palestinian casualties.

Israeli Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari, a military spokesman, said the limited incursion was “part of our preparations for the next stages of the war.”

Israel also said it had carried out about 250 airstrikes across Gaza in the last 24 hours, targeting tunnel shafts, rocket launchers and other militant infrastructure.

The warning by the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, UNRWA, over depleting fuel supplies raised alarm that the humanitarian crisis could quickly worsen.

Gaza’s population has also been running out of food, water and medicine. About 1.4 million of Gaza’s 2.3 million residents have fled their homes, with nearly half of them crowded into UN shelters. Hundreds of thousands remain in northern Gaza, despite Israel ordering them to evacuate to the south, saying those who remain might be considered “accomplices” of Hamas.

In recent days, Israel let more than 60 trucks with aid enter from Egypt, which aid workers say is insufficient and only a tiny fraction of what was being brought in before the war. Israel is still barring deliveries of fuel – needed to power generators – saying it believes Hamas will take it.

UNRWA has been sharing its own fuel supplies so that trucks can distribute aid, bakeries can feed people in shelters, water can be desalinated, and hospitals can keep incubators, life support machines and other vital equipment working.

If it continues doing all of that, fuel will run out by Thursday, so the agency is deciding how to ration its supply, UNRWA spokeswoman Tamara Alrifai told The Associated Press.

More than half of Gaza’s primary health care facilities and roughly a third of its hospitals have stopped functioning, the World Health Organization said.

- Associated Press

5:01 a.m. ET

Israeli strikes in Southern Lebanon overnight

Lebanese state media say Israel conducted airstrikes and drone attacks early Thursday in southern Lebanon, near the tense Israel-Lebanon border, where exchanges between Israeli forces and Lebanese Hezbollah militants have intensified amid the war in Gaza.

No casualties were reported but the strikes ignited fires in the fields near the border town of Aita al Shaab, the National News Agency reported.

On Wednesday night, Israeli strikes hit the Tyre district and a mattress factory there, NNA said, while small-arms fire was exchanged between militants and Israeli troops along the border.

Hezbollah and Israel have clashed since a day after the Israel-Hamas war erupted following Hamas’ deadly attack on Israel. But the exchanges have mostly been limited to a handful of border towns. Hezbollah has warned Israel against a ground invasion into the Gaza Strip, and Israel has vowed to retaliate should the Iran-backed group escalate the war.

- Associated Press

5:01 a.m. ET

Deputy Hamas leader says ‘the resistance is well’

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Lebanon's Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah meets Jihad Secretary General Ziyad al-Nakhalah and deputy leader of Hamas, Sheikh Saleh al-Arouri at an unidentified location in this handout image released on October 25, 2023.HEZBOLLAH MEDIA OFFICE/Reuters

Deputy Hamas chief Saleh al-Arouri says that “despite the enemy’s crimes ... the resistance is well,” referring to the group’s military wing and allies.

The statement on Thursday came after intense overnight Israeli strikes in the besieged Gaza Strip ahead of an expected ground invasion.

“It (Hamas and militant groups) will turn your tragedies into joy, in the event of a ground invasion” the Beirut-based top Hamas official said in a statement addressed to Palestinians in Gaza shared by the Palestinian group’s media office in Beirut.

Al-Arouri on Wednesday met with the leader of Lebanon’s Hezbollah group, Hassan Nasrallah, and the head of Palestinian Islamic Jihad, Ziad al-Nakhleh. The leaders reached an agreement on next steps in the current “sensitive” situation, according to a statement shared by Hezbollah.

Hezbollah and Israel have skirmished along the tense Lebanon-Israel border. There are fears that a ground invasion could spark an escalation on Israel’s northern front and across the region.

- Associated Press

Oct 25, 7:55 p.m. ET

Liberals remain divided after Trudeau’s call for ‘humanitarian pauses’

Some Liberal MPs are continuing to demand a ceasefire in the war between Hamas and Israel, saying Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s call for temporary pauses in the fighting is not a strong enough stance against the escalating violence.

The Prime Minister has openly acknowledged divisions in his party’s caucus over the war that broke out when Hamas invaded Israel on Oct. 7. Those divisions burst into public view last week, when 23 Liberal MPs signed a letter asking Mr. Trudeau to call for a ceasefire in the conflict.

The government has resisted internal pressure to take a harder stance on Israel, but on Tuesday the Prime Minister said he supports “humanitarian pauses,” which are shorter and narrower in scope than ceasefires.

On Wednesday, Mr. Trudeau explained that the goals of the pauses would be to allow aid to enter the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip, ensure hostages taken by Hamas can be released, and allow foreign nationals to leave the besieged Palestinian enclave.

“But we recognize that Israel has the right to defend itself, must do so in accordance with humanitarian law, international law, and we continue to monitor this,” Mr. Trudeau said.

The Liberal who spearheaded the creation of the letter, Ontario MP Salma Zahid, said Wednesday that humanitarian pauses fall short of what is needed, considering the scale of the civilian deaths reported in Gaza. She said two of her friends have each lost more than a dozen family members there.

- Marieke Walsh

Oct 25, 6:25 p.m. ET

Reports of use of white phosphorus in attacks in Lebanon increase tensions in an already strained situation

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Dr. Mohemmad Mostafa, an intensive care specialist at the Lebanese Italian Hospital in Tyre, says seven patients have been brought to the hospital with symptoms that are consistent with exposure to white phosphorus, and included sweating, vomiting, diarrhea and thirst.Nathan VanderKlippe/The Globe and Mail

United Nations peacekeepers say they have received numerous complaints from people who believe Israeli troops are using white phosphorus in attacks along the border with Lebanon.

White phosphorus ignites when exposed to air, burning with an intense heat and releasing a stifling smoke. That makes it an attractive smokescreen for soldiers, although it is toxic and inhalation can cause serious health effects. In southern Lebanon, border residents and medical staff have in the past two weeks repeatedly accused Israel of deploying such munitions in civilian areas, where its use can constitute a violation of international treaties.

“This is something we are looking into, because we are getting a lot of reports,” said Andrea Tenenti, the chief of strategic communications for the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon, or UNIFIL.

But a proper investigation would require a technical expertise that does not exist with UNIFIL at the moment, he said. Neither does UNIFIL currently have the mandate to look into whether Israel has used white phosphorus.

Those constraints underscore the difficulty of keeping the peace in a region on the brink of war between Israel and Hezbollah, the heavily armed Shia militant group backed by Iran.

That also means a key allegation against Israel is unlikely to be resolved soon, despite persistent reports of attacks harming civilians in a territory that offers greater latitude for an investigation than inside Gaza, which is under siege.

Israel has denied wrongdoing.

- Nathan VanderKlippe

Oct 25, 5:40 p.m. ET

‘Anywhere we go war is following us’: Those who fled Ukraine face a new conflict zone in Israel

In a youth centre just outside Tel Aviv, dozens of Jewish-Ukrainian children are recovering after fleeing war for the second time in two terrifying years.

The children were living in a group home in the Zhytomyr region of northern Ukraine when they were awakened by explosions on Feb. 24, 2022, the first morning of the Russian invasion. With enemy troops attacking their country from three directions, a plan was quickly developed to evacuate the more than 100 kids and the group home’s staff to what seemed like the safety of Israel.

On Oct. 7, the nightmare was repeated for 40 of the children when air-raid sirens screamed over their new home in the southern Israeli port city of Ashkelon. They were just 10 kilometres from the Gaza Strip, and Hamas fighters were pouring through holes in the Israeli security perimeter, killing and kidnapping men, women and children.

The group of children are among tens of thousands of Ukrainians and Russians who have come to Israel since the start of the war for Ukraine. Among them are refugees, draft dodgers and a few who have travelled to Ukraine to fight before returning to Israel after Oct. 7.

The kids, who are between seven and 18 years old, spent six hours in a bomb shelter that Saturday before emerging during a moment of apparent quiet for food and a trip to the synagogue. Then, amid rumours that Hamas gunmen were inside the city, they returned to their safe house. The staff who had accompanied them from Ukraine began making plans to flee again.

- Mark MacKinnon

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