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“Our role as a neutral intermediary makes this work possible (and) we are ready to facilitate any future release,” ICRC says

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

  • A displaced family in a damaged car in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip.YOUSEF MASOUD/The New York Times News Service

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Israel-Hamas war day 17

The conflict in the Middle East is in its 17th day.

Israeli warplanes are striking targets across Gaza ahead of an expected ground offensive in the besieged Hamas-ruled territory. Fears of a widening war have grown as Israel struck targets in the occupied West Bank, Syria and Lebanon and traded fire with Lebanon’s Hezbollah militant group.

Two aid convoys arrived in the Gaza Strip over the weekend through the Rafah crossing from Egypt. Israel said the trucks carried food, water and medical supplies. Israel has not allowed in fuel, which is critically needed for water and sanitation systems and hospitals.

The Palestinian Health Ministry said Monday that at least 5,087 people have been killed and 15,237 wounded in the territory. 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 into southern Israel. In addition, 222 people including foreigners were believed captured by Hamas during the incursion and taken into Gaza, Israel’s military has said. Four hostages have been released.

Follow our live coverage below

10:20 p.m.

U.S. challenges Israeli ban on fuel supplies as Gaza siege intensifies

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.

“You need fuel to run the pumps in desalination facilities so that people can drink fresh, healthy water,” he said. “So fuel is another thing that we’re working on.”

The early convoys of aid are “not enough,” Mr. Kirby said. “We’re working very hard to keep that flow going. We know the needs are acute.”

The 54 trucks that have arrived in Gaza over the past three days are “a good start, but it is just a start,” he said. “We want to see it keep going.”

The UN has already reported that the average person in Gaza is getting only three litres of water a day for all purposes: drinking, cooking and hygiene. This compares with the global minimum standard of 50 to 100 litres a day. Because clean water is so difficult to find, many people are drinking dirty or polluted water.

U.S. State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller said the United States is working on a “sustained mechanism” to ensure aid arrives consistently in Gaza through the Rafah crossing from Egypt. The delivery of two or three aid convoys is insufficient, he told a briefing on Monday.

- Geoffrey York and Adrian Morrow

10:15 p.m.

Student union that backed Palestinians says it won’t be silenced by political ‘bullying’

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.

“The Ontario government said it wanted freedom of speech on campus, but now that students are speaking up, they are asking universities to embrace censorship.”

The statement issued by the UTM student union executive after Oct. 7 attacks in Israel said it was made in solidarity with “all Palestinians and innocent civilians” who were affected by what it framed as a conflict in Gaza and around its borders.

The statement made no mention of the more than 1,400 Israelis killed in the attacks by Hamas. It described the Israeli occupation of Gaza as having produced ethnic cleansing and mass genocide, adding that it was not the student union’s intention to justify “the killing of innocent people.”

It was one of several student statements that have become a flashpoint for conflict on Canadian university campuses in the weeks since the attacks.

- Joe Friesen

8:43 p.m.

Fifteen Palestinians from same family buried in mass grave in Gaza

Fifteen members of the same family were among at least 33 Palestinians buried in a mass grave at a Gaza hospital on Monday after they were killed by Israeli airstrikes.

A harried-looking doctor in green scrubs walked past as bodies in white sheets were loaded into the back of a pickup truck. Men discussed where to fit the shrouded corpse of a small child between two adults.

Side-by-side, the bodies were laid to rest in a shallow, sandy grave in the courtyard of al-Aqsa Hospital in Deir al-Balah, an ambulance parked nearby. “Bring them all,” a gravedigger called out.

Israel said Monday it struck 320 militant targets throughout the besieged Gaza Strip over the last 24 hours. The military says it does not target civilians. Over 5,000 Palestinians, including some 2,000 minors, have been killed since the war began, Gaza’s Health Ministry said.

More than 1,400 people in Israel have been killed — mostly civilians slain during the initial Hamas attack.

- The Associated Press

8:40 p.m.

Italy confirms death of third Italian-Israeli citizen missing in Hamas attack

Italy’s foreign minister Antonio Tajani said the last of three Italian-Israeli citizens who had been missing in the Oct. 7 Hamas attack on Israel is also dead.

“Unfortunately, also Nir Forti is deceased,” the minister wrote late Monday on X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter. Forti had been attending the music festival that Hamas attacked.

“To die at 29, barbarously killed by terrorists, is deeply unjust,” Tajani wrote on X.

Only hours earlier Tajani had announced the death of another Italian-Israeli woman, whose husband’s death had been confirmed last week.

- The Associated Press

7:15 p.m. ET

Pentagon rushes defenses and advisers to Middle East as Israel’s ground assault looms

The Pentagon has sent military advisers, including a Marine Corps general versed in urban warfare, to Israel to aid in its war planning and is speeding multiple sophisticated air defense systems to the Middle East days ahead of an anticipated ground assault into Gaza.

Israel is preparing a large-scale ground operation in an environment in which Hamas militants have had years to prepare tunnel networks and set traps throughout northern Gaza’s dense urban blocks. Military officers who are advising Israel “have experience that is appropriate to the sorts of operations that Israel is conducting,” National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said Monday. The advisers will not be engaged in the fighting, the unidentified U.S. official said.

The military team is one of many fast-moving pieces the Pentagon is getting in place to try and prevent the already intense conflict between Israel and Hamas from becoming a wider war. It also is trying to protect U.S. personnel, who in the last few days have come under repeated attacks that the Pentagon has said were likely endorsed by Iran.

On Monday, the U.S. military garrison at an-Tanf, Syria, came under attack again, this time by two drones. The drones were shot down and no injuries were reported. It was the latest episode of more than a half-dozen times in the last week that U.S. military locations in the Middle East had come under rocket or drone attack since a deadly blast at a Gaza hospital.

- The Associated Press

5:25 p.m. ET

Palestinians in the West Bank fear escalating violence that has left dozens dead

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Usama Abu El-Haija (13) holds a picture of Udai Abu el-Haija (15), who was killed by the Israeli Army last week in Nour Shams refugee camp, in the West Bank, near city of Tulkarem on October 23, 2023. GORAN TOMASEVIC/THE GLOBE AND MAILGORAN TOMASEVIC/The Globe and Mail

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.

- Mark MacKinnon

3:58 p.m. ET

Released hostages identified by Israeli media

The International Committee of the Red Cross says Hamas militants have released two hostages it had been holding captive in the Gaza Strip.

The hostages were identified by Israeli media as 85-year-old Yocheved Lifshitz and 79-year-old Nurit Cooper of the Israeli kibbutz of Nir Oz. The two women, along with their husbands, were abducted from their homes in the kibbutz of Nir Oz near the Gaza border in the Oct. 7 attack. Their husbands were not released.

In a statement, Hamas said it had released them for humanitarian reasons. Hamas released an American woman and her teenage daughter last week.

– The Associated Press

3:42 p.m. ET

ICRC says it has facilitated release of two more hostages out of Gaza

The International Committee of the Red Cross said it facilitated the release of two more hostages held by the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas on Monday, “transporting them out of Gaza this evening.”

The ICRC added: “Our role as a neutral intermediary makes this work possible (and) we are ready to facilitate any future release.”

– Reuters

3:37 p.m. ET

Biden: ‘We should have those hostages released and then we can talk’

WASHINGTON—U.S. President Joe Biden on Monday said hostages held by Palestinian Islamist group Hamas should be released, when asked about a ceasefire in the ongoing war in the Middle East.

“We should have those hostages released and then we can talk,” Biden said.

– Reuters

3:00 p.m. ET

France’s Emmanuel Macron will visit Israel, meet with Netanyahu

PARIS — French President Emmanuel Macron is traveling Tuesday to Israel to show France’s solidarity with the country and further work on the release of hostages who are being held in Gaza, according to the French presidency.

Macron will have talks with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and also meet with Israeli-French nationals who have lost loved ones, as well as families of hostages.

Macron may also seize the occasion to have talks with some Arab partners in the region, the French presidency said, without providing further details.

– The Associated Press

2:36 p.m. ET

Hamas says it has released two hostages on ‘humanitarian and poor health grounds’

The armed wing of the Palestinian Hamas militant group said on Monday it had released two female civilian captives in response to Egyptian-Qatari mediation efforts.

Abu Ubaida, spokesman for armed wing, said on Telegram it had secured the release of the detainees “despite the enemy’s refusal to accept them since last Friday and their neglect of the issue of our prisoners”.

“We decided to release them for humanitarian and poor health grounds ... Despite that, the enemy refused to receive them last Friday,” the statement added.

The armed wing released two Americans on Friday, nearly two weeks after Hamas gunmen abducted them and dozens of others near Gaza.

A Qatar foreign ministry spokesperson on Friday said that the release of U.S. hostages from Gaza came “after many days on continuous communication” with all parties.

– Reuters

2:30 p.m. ET

White House wants safe passage for the ‘several hundred American citizens that we know are in Gaza and want to leave’

The Biden administration wants to see safe passage for people out of Gaza ahead of a potential ground invasion by Israel, particularly for U.S. citizens, White House national security spokesman John Kirby said on Monday.

“We still want to see safe passage out and particularly for the several hundred American citizens that we know are in Gaza and want to leave,” Kirby said.

– Reuters

2:10 p.m. ET

Mélanie Joly calls for de-escalation, stops short of demanding ceasefire

Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly called for a de-escalation of violence in the ongoing Middle-East crisis Monday but would not be pinned down on whether Canada would push for a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas militants who control the heavily populated Gaza Strip.

At a news conference in Abu Dhabi where the minister has been engaged in shuttle-diplomacy, Ms. Joly said it is imperative that Israel and Hamas act with greater restraint to avoid large scale deaths and alleviate the humanitarian crisis in Gaza.

More than 30 MPs, including 23 Liberal MPs, and NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh have written letters to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, calling on Canada to promote an immediate ceasefire in the bloody conflict that has claimed the lives of thousands of Israelis and Palestinians.

“Gaza is one of, if not the worse, place on earth to be living,” Ms. Joly said. “That is why we are engaging many partners in the region. I think it is important that we send a clear message of de-escalation but also that we are able to also talk about peace and stability.”

Robert Fife and Marieke Walsh

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The second convoy of aid trucks cross the Rafah border from the Egyptian side on October 22, 2023 in North Sinai, EgyptMahmoud Khaled/Getty Images

1:50 p.m. ET

Aid shipments not enough to meet worsening crisis, aid worker says

CAIRO — Mahmoud Shalabi, an aid worker with the Medical Aid for Palestinians group, said the aid shipments that Israel allowed to cross into Gaza were a “drop in the ocean of the needs” required to address the rapidly worsening humanitarian crisis there.

Speaking to The Associated Press Monday evening from his home in Beit Lahia in northern Gaza, Shalabi said that the aid had not arrived in the northern part of the strip, which Israel wants to empty ahead of its looming ground invasion.

He said the supplies in the first convoy on Saturday were distributed only to bakeries in the southern parts of Gaza, leaving the northern half struggling amid extremely dire conditions.

“The north didn’t receive anything. It’s like a death sentence for the people in the north of Gaza there,” he said.

– The Associated Press

1:40 p.m. ET

Humanitarian aid reaching Gaza ‘not enough,’ says White House

The trickle of humanitarian aid that has reached the besieged Gaza Strip so far is “not enough,” the White House said Monday, and the U.S. government is trying to ensure a continuous flow through the Rafah crossing on the border with Egypt.

John Kirby, a spokesman for the National Security Council, said Thursday that a third aid convoy was being processed at Rafah for entry into the Palestinian territory. Two other convoys, of 20 and 14 trucks, were let in over the weekend, a far cry from the 100 daily trucks United Nations officials say would be necessary to alleviate the humanitarian crisis.

“We’re working very hard to keep that flow going,” Mr. Kirby told a briefing of foreign journalists in Washington. “We know the needs are acute. We know that two convoys of trucks is not enough.”

Israel has blocked imports of food, water, medicine and fuel to Gaza since Hamas massacred some 1,400 Israelis, most of them civilians, on Oct. 7 and took dozens more as hostages. Last week, U.S. President Joe Biden reached an agreement with Israel and Egypt for aid to enter Gaza via Egypt. Israeli conditions on the aid specify that it not include fuel, which Israel fears would be used by Hamas but which humanitarian groups say is necessary to run hospital generators and keep medical equipment, including life-support systems, operating.

Mr. Kirby said it was important to “make sure the people of Gaza don’t suffer any more than they already have.”

He reiterated that the U.S. has told Israel to “prosecute operations consistent with the laws of war” but would not say whether the White House believes Israel has adhered to those rules.

“The number of appropriate civilian casualties in this or any other conflict is zero. We don’t want to see any innocent lives hurt. We don’t want to see any innocent people injured or cast from their homes,” he said.

Gaza’s Hamas-controlled government says Israeli airstrikes have killed 4,700 people since Oct. 7, a figure that does not differentiate between civilian casualties and Hamas members. The bombardment has also flattened entire city blocks. Israel has told the more than one million residents of Gaza City to flee to the territory’s south ahead of an expected ground invasion.

Mr. Kirby would not say whether the U.S. has pressed Israel to delay its invasion to allow more aid to get in, U.S. citizens to get out and negotiations to free the hostages to unfold.

He said the U.S. has asked Israel some “tough questions any military needs to ask itself ahead of any major military operation” in order to understand what Israel plans to do and whether it has considered all contingencies. But Israel alone “will make the decisions about what they do, when they do it, how they do it.”

He said the U.S. is still trying to get its estimated 500 citizens in Gaza out and is working on getting more of the hostages released. Last week Hamas released two American hostages, but the White House believes at least some of the 10 additional Americans who are unaccounted for are still being held hostage.

Adrian Morrow

1:18 p.m. ET

Gaza hospital overrun with patients from Israeli airstrikes

A hospital in Gaza City was overrun with patients from airstrikes Monday with people lying on a blood-covered floor and two children at a time being treated on exam tables.

While a girl stared up at the ceiling from a table at Shifa Hospital, a boy who appeared to be unconscious lay at her feet with an IV drip in his arm and gauze wrapped around his head.

An older child and a man wearing oxygen masks lay on their backs on the floor below as a fifth person in a bright striped top was spread out on the floor nearby.

Medics also worked on a boy covered in gray soot whose legs were splinted and who lay at the foot of another child covered partly with a sheet.

Several other children and adults lay on a tile floor in another area of waiting for care.

– The Associated Press

1:05 p.m. ET

Third convoy of humanitarian aid arrives in Gaza, UN confirms

CAIRO — A third small aid convoy from Egypt has entered Gaza, where the population of 2.3 million has been running out of food, water and medicine under Israel’s two-week seal.

Juliette Touma, director of communications for the U.N.’s Palestinian refugee agency, confirmed the arrival of the convoy “with 20 trucks” in Gaza on Monday to The Associated Press, but provided no other details.

– The Associated Press

12:43 p.m. ET

Hospital in Rafah runs out of room in the morgue, official says

CAIRO — Abu Youssef Al-Najjar Hospital, in Rafah, registered 61 deaths since Monday morning following a day of intense airstrikes in the southern Gaza Strip.

Talaat Barghout, the hospital’s spokesperson, said there is no room in the morgue for all the bodies, and a lack of Islamic burial shrouds — known as the Kafan — to give the dead a proper burial.

“More than half of them are lying on the (hospital) ground,” he said.

Barghout also said the hospital lacks an intensive care unit and does not have the facilities to treat burns. There is only enough fuel to keep the basic hospital going for two more days, he added.

– The Associated Press

12:22 p.m. ET

Watch: Premature babies reliant on incubators in ‘grave danger’ in the Gaza Strip, doctor warns

Premature babies who rely on electricity-powered incubators to keep them alive are in "grave danger" in the Gaza Strip, a doctor warned on Sunday amid fuel shortages in the besieged territory. At least seven of the almost 30 Gaza hospitals have been forced to shut down due to Israeli airstrikes, lack of power and supply shortages.

The Associated Press

11:48 a.m. ET

Ontario NDP removes Sarah Jama from caucus amid comments about Israel-Hamas conflict

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Sarah Jama poses for a portrait at her home in Hamilton, Ont., on Tuesday, March 13, 2018.Peter Power/The Canadian Press

Ontario NDP leader Marit Stiles says she has removed rookie legislator Sarah Jama from caucus.

Stiles says the member for Hamilton Centre, who has been under fire for comments about the Israel-Hamas conflict, made what Stiles calls “a number of unilateral actions” that have undermined the party’s collective work and broken the trust of her colleagues.

Jama spoke this morning in the legislature against a motion to censure her for a statement she made on the conflict between Israel and Hamas.

She said Premier Doug Ford’s government is targeting her to distract from its own scandals, and also said that governments and institutions in Canada are trying to use their voice and weight to silence people who support Palestinians.

The Progressive Conservative motion would effectively silence Jama in the legislature and calls on the Speaker not to recognize her in the House until she retracts her original statement and apologizes again.

Jama’s original statement, on social media, decried “the generations long occupation of Palestine” without mentioning the attack by Hamas militants on Israeli civilians.

Stiles had originally defended Jama after the legislator issued an apology for her initial statement, but now says in a statement that she and Jama had agreed that in order for her to stay in caucus they would work together “in good faith with no surprises” but now some of her actions “have contributed to unsafe work environments for staff.”

– The Canadian Press

11:30 a.m. ET

Hostage families face appalling dilemma as Israeli ground invasion into Gaza looms

As Israel prepares to invade the Gaza Strip, many families of hostages seized by Hamas are pleading with the government to rein in the war effort and instead negotiate the release of their loved ones.

Highlighting the appalling dilemma facing the whole country, other relatives warn mediation could take years and say their best hope lies with the military, hoping ground forces could find the missing men, women and children before it is too late.

Hamas fighters grabbed an estimated 222 people aged from 9 months to 85 years during their Oct. 7 rampage, during which they also killed 1,400 people. Many of those taken hold dual nationality, including many with U.S. and European passports.

The hostages are believed to be hidden in the Gaza Strip, possibly in a warren of tunnels Hamas has built beneath the enclave, even as Israeli warplanes pound the territory ahead of a threatened invasion, killing more than 5,000 Palestinians.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has vowed to eliminate Hamas and Israeli troops could enter Gaza at any moment, but many families are urging him to focus solely on the hostages.

“This should be the top priority, not to destroy Hamas, not to control Gaza and not anything else,” said Noam Alon, the boyfriend of Inbar Haiman, a 27-year-old artist who was one of dozens abducted from a music festival.

Family support groups are holding daily protests outside Netanyahu’s office in Tel Aviv to keep the fate of the captives in the spotlight, and have set up a table with a place setting for each missing person in a city centre square as a symbol of the plight of those abducted.

– Reuters

11:15 a.m. ET

Missile fired from Gaza caused hospital blast, Britain’s Sunak says

The explosion at a hospital in Gaza City was most likely caused by a missile fired from within Gaza, and not by a rocket from Israel, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said on Monday.

“The British government judges that the explosion was likely caused by a missile, or part of one, that was launched from within Gaza towards Israel,” Sunak told parliament.

“The misreporting of this incident had a negative effect in the region, including on a vital U.S. diplomatic effort and on tensions here at home.”

Palestinian officials said 471 people were killed in the blast at Al-Ahli al-Arabi Hospital on Tuesday. Gaza’s health ministry blamed an Israeli air strike, while Israel said the blast was caused by a failed rocket launch by militants.

Britain’s findings are in line with conclusion reached by the United States, France and Canada.

– Reuters

10:58 a.m. ET

U.K. to provide 20 million pounds of further aid for Palestinian people

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak set out further aid to the Palestinian people on Monday, saying that the government would provide an additional 20 million pounds (US$24.4 million) of support.

“We need a constant stream of aid pouring in, bringing the water, food, medicine and fuel that is so desperately needed,” Sunak told lawmakers in an update on the Israel-Palestine conflict.

“We are providing an additional 20 million pounds of humanitarian aid to civilians in Gaza, more than doubling our previous support to the Palestinian people.”

– Reuters

10:41 a.m. ET

Almost 20,000 displaced in Lebanon as clashes on Israel border escalate

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An Israeli soldier stand in an armoured vehicle stationed at an undisclosed area in northern Israel near the Lebanon border on October 23, 2023.JALAA MAREY/AFP/Getty Images

Almost 20,000 people have been internally displaced in south Lebanon and elsewhere since early October, a U.N. agency said on Monday, as violence escalates on the Lebanese-Israeli border following the eruption of the Gaza war.

The International Organization for Migration said 19,646 people had been displaced inside Lebanon since it began tracking movements on Oct. 8, the day after an assault on Israel by Hamas militants and an Israeli counteroffensive on Gaza.

It said the movements were mostly by those fleeing the south although some departures were also reported elsewhere.

The Israeli authorities have also been evacuating dozens of towns and communities from the north of Israel.

Lebanon’s heavily armed Hezbollah group and Israel have been exchanging fire on an increasingly frequent basis all along the border, the worst escalation since the two sides fought a war in 2006.

Hezbollah says 27 of its fighters have been killed in the clashes since Oct. 7, while Lebanese security sources say 11 fighters from Palestinian groups in Lebanon, which are allied to Hezbollah, have also died.

Israel’s military says seven troops have been killed along the frontier area.

– Reuters

10:33 a.m. ET

Dwindling fuel for Gaza’s hospital generators put premature babies at risk

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A premature Palestinian baby lies in an incubator at the maternity ward of Shifa Hospital, which according to health officials is about to shut down as it runs out of fuel and power, in Gaza City October 22, 2023.STRINGER/Reuters

DEIR AL BALAH, Gaza Strip — A premature baby squirms inside a glass incubator in the neonatal ward of al-Aqsa Hospital in the central Gaza Strip. He cries out as intravenous lines are connected to his tiny body. A ventilator helps him breathe as a catheter delivers medication and monitors flash his fragile vital signs.

His life hinges on the constant flow of electricity, which is in danger of running out imminently unless the hospital can get more fuel for its generators. Once the generators stop, hospital director Iyad Abu Zahar fears that the babies in the ward, unable to breathe on their own, will perish.

“The responsibility on us is huge,” he said.

Doctors treating premature babies across Gaza are grappling with similar fears. At least 130 premature babies are at “grave risk” across six neonatal units, aid workers said. The dangerous fuel shortages are caused by the Israeli blockade of Gaza, which started — along with airstrikes — after Hamas militants attacked Israeli towns on Oct. 7.

At least 50,000 pregnant women in Gaza are unable to access essential health services, and some 5,500 are due to give birth in the coming month, according to the World Health Organization.

At least seven of the almost 30 hospitals have been forced to shut down due to damage from relentless Israeli strikes and lack of power, water and other supplies. Doctors in the remaining hospitals said they are on the brink. The U.N. agency for Palestinian refugees said Sunday it has enough fuel to last three days to serve critical needs.

“The world cannot simply look on as these babies are killed by the siege on Gaza ... A failure to act is to sentence these babies to death,” said Melanie Ward, chief executive of the Medical Aid for Palestinians aid group.

Guillemette Thomas, medical coordinator for Doctors Without Borders in the Palestinian territories, said some of the babies could die within hours, and others in a couple of days, if they don’t receive the special care and medication they urgently need.

“It’s sure that these babies are in danger,” she told The Associated Press. “It’s a real emergency to take care of these babies, as it is an emergency to take care of the population of Gaza who are suffering from these bombings since the past two weeks.”

– The Associated Press

10:10 a.m. ET

U.S. advises Israel delay in ground offensive could allow release of more hostages

WASHINGTON — The U.S. has advised Israeli officials that a delay in a possible ground offensive in Gaza would allow more time for the U.S. to work with its regional partners to release more hostages, according to a U.S. official familiar with Biden administration’s thinking on the matter.

The official, who requested anonymity to discuss the private discussions, said it was unclear how much the argument will “move the needle” on Israeli thinking.

The official noted that Qatar’s help in mediating with Hamas was able to win the release of two captives, Judith and Natalie Raanan. The process that led to their release — just two of the more than the 222 people believed taken hostage in Israel in the Oct. 7 attacks — started soon after the Hamas operation. The official said arranging for the release of the Raanans “took longer to come together than folks really realize.”

– The Associated Press

9:50 a.m. ET

Two Palestinians killed in clashes with Israeli forces at West Bank refugee camp: ministry

RAMALLAH — Two Palestinians were killed at the Jalazone refugee camp near Ramallah in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, the Palestinian health ministry said on Monday.

Residents told Reuters that Israeli forces raided the camp and carried out widespread arrests, where they clashed with gunmen and some youths who threw stones.

The Israeli military said it had arrested 15 wanted suspects during the raid, 10 of whom it said were operatives of Hamas, the Islamist group that carried out the Oct. 7 attack that killed around 1,400 Israelis.

“During the activity, suspects hurled explosive devices and stone blocks from roofs at Israeli security forces, who responded with live fire,” the military said in a statement. “Hits were identified,” it said, giving no details.

– Reuters

9:44 a.m. ET

Pro-Palestinian activists occupy ICC entry, demanding action against Israeli leader Netanyahu

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People protest in support of Palestinians in Gaza continues at the headquarters of the International Criminal Court in The Hague, Netherlands, October 18, 2023.PIROSCHKA VAN DE WOUW/Reuters

THE HAGUE, Netherlands — Dutch authorities detained 19 activists who occupied the entrance to the International Criminal Court (ICC) on Monday, denouncing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for Israel’s actions during the war with Hamas.

Activists from the Extinction Rebellion group took over a bridge in front of The Hague-based court just after noon, carrying a banner that read “Netanyahu is a war criminal.” The Dutch branch of the activist group, which was originally set up to campaign against climate change, has staged several other pro-Palestinian actions since Hamas attacked Israel on Oct. 7.

“The demonstration did not cause any disturbance to the ICC normal activities. The situation was addressed by the ICC security with the police,” said ICC spokesperson Sonia Robla.

After police released the 19 following their brief detention, they joined a small pro-Palestinian protest outside the ICC’s grounds.

The demonstration took place as Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte arrived in the Middle East to meet with both Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

– The Associated Press

9:40 a.m. ET

Shot fired, protesters pepper sprayed outside pro-Israel rally in Chicago suburbs

CHICAGO — Police arrested two people after one of them allegedly fired a shot and another pepper-sprayed protesters outside a pro-Israel rally in Chicago’s northern suburbs.

The rally took place Sunday evening at a Skokie banquet hall, the Chicago Sun-Times reported. About 1,000 people attended to show solidary with Israel, according to organizers.

A group of about 200 pro-Palestinian protesters gathered outside the hall. A man allegedly drove his car into the group, got out and fired a shot before police took him into custody. A witness told the newspaper that the man’s car had been covered in Israeli flags.

A man coming out of the banquet hall wearing an Israeli flag as a cape sprayed the crowed with pepper spray before he was arrested. No one was seriously hurt in the melee.

Police in U.S. cities as well as federal authorities have been on high alert for violence driven by antisemtic or Islamophobic sentiments as the war between Israel and Hamas continues.

The Skokie rally Sunday came a little more than a week after a landlord in Plainfield, Illinois, was charged with a hate crime after he allegedly stabbed a 6-year-old Muslim boy and seriously wounded his mother. Police said he singled out the victims because of their faith and as a response to the war.

– The Associated Press

9:07 a.m. ET

Bank of Israel holds key interest rate at 4.75%

The Bank of Israel kept short-term borrowing rates unchanged for a third straight decision as expected on Monday, citing the need to prevent an uptick in inflation as a result of a weaker shekel during Israel’s war against Palestinian Islamist group Hamas.

The central bank held its benchmark rate at 4.75 per cent - its highest level since late 2006. It had raised rates 10 straight times in an aggressive tightening cycle that has taken the rate from 0.1 per cent last April before pausing in July and again in August.

The inflation rate eased to 3.8 per cent in September from 4.1 per cent in August to remain above an annual target range of 1-3 per cent.

Officials have cautioned that steep rate cuts at the moment would further weaken the shekel, which is already at an 8 1/2 year low versus the dollar, and push up inflation.

In updated forecasts, the Bank of Israel’s economists projected inflation moving to a 2.9 per cent rate in the coming year and end 2024 at 2.5 per cent.

As a consequence of the war that began on Oct. 7, after Hamas attacked Israeli towns in the worst assault on civilians in the country’s history, the bank trimmed Israel’s growth estimate for 2023 to 2.3 per cent from 3.0 per cent, and to 2.8 per cent next year from a prior 3.0 per cent.

– Reuters

8:30 a.m. ET

Gaza teenager sees parents, siblings killed after seeking safety in south

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Palestinian teenager Dima Al-Lamdani, who fled to southern Gaza Strip with her family and settled in a shelter that was later hit by Israeli jets which killed 13 of her relatives, including her parents and 7 siblings looks on, in Khan Younis, October 22, 2023.MOHAMMED SALEM/Reuters

When the Israeli army told Palestinians in the Beach refugee camp in Gaza City to flee south because it was safer, 18-year-old Dima Al-Lamdani’s family prayed they would escape relentless air strikes.

But days later, Lamdani was left to identify the bodies of her relatives at a makeshift morgue in the southern city of Khan Younis. She said she lost her parents, seven siblings and four members of her uncle’s family in an Israeli air strike.

“They told us to evacuate your place and go to Khan Younis because it is safe... They betrayed us and bombed us,” she said.

She said her family and that of her uncle travelled in two cars across Gaza, which has faced the heaviest bombardment after the Palestinian militant group Hamas launched an attack into Israel on Oct. 7, killing about 1,400 people and taking more than 200 hostages.

Lamdani’s family was staying at a temporary shelter in Khan Younis when she said: “At 4.30 a.m. I was awake and sitting with my aunt drinking coffee. Suddenly I woke up in the middle of ruins. Everyone around me was screaming, so I screamed.”

Lamdani, the side of her face grazed and bruised, said after searching for her family members in the morgue on Oct. 17, that only her brother and two young cousins had survived but had sustained some injuries.

“This is a nightmare. It will never be wiped from my memory,” she said. “I had a sister, 16. They wrote my name on the white sheet they wrapped her body in, they thought it was me.”


8:09 a.m. ET

Israeli airstrikes in Rafah leave casualties

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Palestinians look for survivors after the Israeli bombardment of the Gaza Strip in Rafah, Monday, Oct. 23, 2023. (AP Photo/Hatem Ali)Hatem Ali/The Associated Press

RAFAH, Gaza Strip — Gaza’s Hamas-run Interior Ministry said at least 18 people were killed in Israeli attacks on neighborhoods in Rafah city on Monday. It said scores of Palestinians were also wounded.

An airstrike hit a residential building about 200 meters (yards) from the U.N. headquarters in Rafah on Monday, killing and wounding several people, according to an Associated Press reporter at the scene, underscoring the perils of humanitarian operations.

Videos released by the Israeli military showed airstrikes decimating buildings in the Gaza Strip. The military said the videos showed attacks on Hamas infrastructure but did not specify the locations.

Flashes of yellow light were followed by an explosion sending gray smoke and debris shooting upward as multistory buildings collapsed or toppled over.

– The Associated Press

8:09 a.m. ET

Gaza’s health ministry appeals for blood donations as shortages worsen

As conditions rapidly worsen, Gaza’s Hamas-run Health Ministry appealed on Monday for blood donations for hospitals in the besieged territory that are suffering from dire shortages of blood and medical supplies.

The ministry urged residents to rush to hospitals and blood banks across Gaza for blood donations and called for the International Committee of the Red Cross to bring blood to the territory.

The Associated Press

7:45 a.m. ET

EU continues talks on humanitarian ceasefire in Israel-Hamas war

EU countries are still discussing the idea of a humanitarian ceasefire in the war between Israel and Hamas but there are different ways to get much-needed aid to Palestinians in Gaza, Swedish foreign minister Tobias Billstrom said on Monday.

“The discussions are ongoing, but the question really isn’t about a ceasefire, but about how to bring aid forward and that can be done in very many different ways,” he told reporters after a meeting of EU foreign ministers in Luxembourg.

He said Sweden preferred a U.N. proposal for a humanitarian corridor.

Earlier on Monday, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell voiced support for a “humanitarian pause” but some of the bloc’s foreign ministers expressed reservations about the idea.


7:19 a.m. ET

Turkey sends two more planes of aid to Egypt for Gaza, plans more

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Aid convoy trucks loaded with supplies from Turkey wait for the opening of the Gaza-Egypt border are seen at Arish City on October 15, 2023 in North Sinai, Egypt.Mahmoud Khaled/Getty Images

Turkey sent two cargo planes to Egypt on Monday carrying medical equipment and supplies for Gaza, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said, adding two more aircraft would be sent with more supplies.

Earlier this month, Turkey sent three aircraft carrying aid for Gaza. On Sunday, it also sent a medical team and supplies to Egypt, saying Ankara was ready to treat wounded Palestinians in Turkey, if needed, and to set up a field hospital at Egypt’s El Arish Airport and Rafah border crossing.

In a post on X, formerly Twitter, Koca said the cargo planes carried medicine, generators, medical supplies, incubators for babies, phototherapy machinery, diapers and baby food.

Among the medical supplies, he said, were emergency response equipment, operating tables, ventilators, ultrasound machines and orthopaedic supplies for those wounded in the fighting.

“The four planes of health support that are being planned for Gaza as aid will be sent from Egypt to Gaza via highways.”


6:41 a.m. ET

Oil prices slip as investors watch diplomatic moves in Gaza war

Oil prices slipped on Monday as investors continued to focus on the situation in the Middle East, where diplomatic efforts are intensifying in an attempt to contain the conflict between Israel and Hamas.

Brent crude futures fell 24 cents, or 0.26 per cent, to $91.92 a barrel, as of 0837 GMT. U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude futures were down 36 cents, or 0.41 per cent, at $87.72 a barrel.

Both benchmarks traded over $1 a barrel lower than their previous settlement price at their nadir in Monday’s session.

The contracts rose by more than 1 per cent last week for a second consecutive week, on fears of potential supply disruption if the Israel-Hamas war grows into a wider conflict in the Middle East, the world’s biggest oil-supplying region.

“Escalating wrath in the region will strengthen economic headwinds, potentially rising oil prices will push global inflation higher, monetary tightening could resume, and global oil demand growth will be dented,” said PVM analyst Tamas Varga.


4:45 a.m. ET

Israeli warplanes strike targets ahead of expected ground offensive in Gaza

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Palestinians look for survivors after the Israeli bombardment of the Gaza Strip in Deir Al-Balah, Sunday, Oct. 22, 2023.Hatem Moussa/The Associated Press

DEIR AL-BALAH, Gaza Strip – Israeli warplanes struck targets across Gaza early Monday, including in areas where Palestinian civilians have been told to seek refuge, after another small aid shipment was allowed into the besieged Hamas-ruled territory.

Israel is widely expected to launch a ground offensive in Gaza following Hamas’ brutal Oct. 7 rampage into southern Israeli communities. Tanks and troops have been massed at the Gaza border, and Israel says it has stepped up airstrikes in order to reduce the risk to troops in the next stages.

Fears of a widening war have grown as Israeli warplanes have struck targets in the occupied West Bank, Syria and Lebanon in recent days. It has frequently traded fire with Lebanon’s Hezbollah militant group, which is armed with tens of thousands of rockets.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told troops in northern Israel on Sunday that if Hezbollah launches a war, “it will make the mistake of its life. We will cripple it with a force it cannot even imagine, and the consequences for it and the Lebanese state will be devastating.”

Hezbollah’s political movement is part of Lebanon’s fractious government, but its fighters operate outside the state’s control. Israel heavily bombed Beirut’s airport and civilian infrastructure during a 2006 war with Hezbollah. Israel is meanwhile evacuating some communities on its own side of the border.

Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari said Israeli forces had wiped out eight militant cells in Lebanon over the past 24 hours and more than 20 since the start of the war, without elaborating.

Israel has carried out limited ground forays into Gaza, and on Sunday, Hamas said it had destroyed an Israeli tank and two armored bulldozers inside the territory it has ruled since 2007. The Israeli military said a soldier was killed and three others were wounded by an anti-tank missile during a raid inside Gaza.

The military said the raid was part of efforts to rescue hostages abducted in the Oct. 7 attack. Hamas hopes to trade the captives for Palestinian prisoners held by Israel.

The Associated Press

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People take part in a protest in support of Palestinians outside the European Commission headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, October 22, 2023.YVES HERMAN/Reuters

4:45 a.m. ET

EU leaders meet to discuss aid for Gaza

BRUSSELS — European Union foreign ministers are meeting Monday to discuss ways to help vital aid get into Gaza, particularly fuel, after two convoys entered over the weekend.

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said that “in normal times, without war, 100 trucks enter into Gaza every day. So it’s clear that 20 is not enough.”

Borrell said the emphasis must be on getting power and water-providing desalination plants running again. “Without water and electricity, the hospitals can barely work,” he told reporters in Luxembourg, where the meeting is taking place.

He said the ministers will also look at ways to resolve the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians longer term.

“The great powers have forgotten about the Palestinian issue, thinking it was going to be solved alone, or it doesn’t matter. Yes, it matters,” Borrell said.

The Associated Press

4:45 a.m. ET

World leaders call for adherence to humanitarian law

Several world leaders on Sunday spoke about the was between Israel and Hamas, reiterating their support for Israel and its right to defend itself against terrorism and called for adherence to humanitarian law, including the protection of civilians.

U.S. President Joe Biden, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada, President Emmanuel Macron of France, Chancellor Olaf Scholz of Germany, Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni of Italy and Prime Minister Rishi Sunak of the United Kingdom also welcomed the release of two hostages and called for the immediate release of all remaining hostages.

They committed to close co-ordination to support their nationals in the region, in particular those wishing to leave Gaza.

The leaders welcomed the announcement of the first humanitarian convoys to reach Palestinians in need in Gaza and committed to continue coordinating with partners in the region to ensure sustained and safe access to food, water, medical care and other assistance required to meet humanitarian needs.

They also said they would continue close diplomatic coordination, including with key partners in the region, to prevent the conflict from spreading, preserve stability in the Middle East, and work toward a political solution and durable peace.

The Associated Press

4:45 a.m. ET

Ireland calls for immediate ceasefire

BRUSSELS — Ireland is calling for an immediate cease-fire in Gaza so that civilians can get access to desperately needed aid and supplies.

Irish Foreign Minister Micheal Martin said “this is a matter of the utmost urgency. The loss of life is enormous, is at a scale that has to be stopped.”

Speaking Monday in Luxembourg at a meeting of European Union foreign ministers, Martin called for food, water and medical supplies to be allowed into Gaza at an “accelerated and comprehensive scale.”

“We understand Israel’s need to deal with Hamas, because it was an appalling attack. But the degree of suffering now -– the innocent civilians in Gaza suffering -– is just not acceptable at all,” he said.

The Associated Press

4:45 a.m. ET

Iraq says it will pursue militants who attacked bases housing U.S. troops

BAGHDAD - Iraq’s army spokesperson says the state will go after militants who have carried out attacks against army bases housing U.S. troops in the country.

Maj. Gen. Yahya Rasoul said in a statement Monday that military advisers from the U.S.-led coalition are in the country “at the invitation of the government” and their mission is to train Iraqi forces.

Rasoul said the prime minister has ordered the country’s security agencies to go after those who carried out attacks and prevent any attempt to harm Iraq’s national security.

Over the past week, several bases housing U.S. troops in Iraq came under rocket and drone attacks that were believed to have been carried out by Iran-backed groups.

There are about 2,500 U.S. troops in Iraq, whose main mission to train Iraqi forces and prevent a resurgence of the Islamic State group.

The Associated Press

4:02 a.m. ET

Blair expected to face questions about Canada’s evidence on Gaza hospital strike

OTTAWA - Defence Minister Bill Blair is expected to face further questions Monday about the evidence Canada has gathered to determine a rocket blast at a hospital in Gaza City did not originate in Israel.

Blair made the statement Saturday night, five days after the attack at the Al-Ahli Arab hospital.

The blast came nine days after a renewed conflict in the region following an assault by Hamas militants in Israel and retaliation by Israel in the Gaza Strip.

Blair says the Canadian Forces Intelligence Command did its own analysis of evidence and reached a conclusion that aligns with findings of the United States and France.

Israel has said satellite evidence and intercepted communications show the rocket was fired by the Palestinian Islamic Jihad and French authorities say the size of the rocket itself points to Palestinian not Israeli sources.

Canada did not provide details on what evidence it used to reach its conclusion.

A weekend conference in Egypt seeking a route to peace left more questions than answers about what may happen next in the conflict which saw 1,400 Israelis killed in the initial Hamas attack and at least 4,600 Palestinians in the subsequent Israeli airstrikes.

Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly was in attendance at the conference in Cairo and her office said she may be able to speak to reporters about the event today.

Canada has been calling for Israel and Egypt to do more to ensure needed humanitarian aid gets into Gaza. An initial small shipment of food, medical supplies and fuel was made over the weekend but the need is high.

Joly herself last week called Gaza the worst place in the world to live right now.

Egypt and Jordan both made clear at the summit that they will not allow Israel to push 2.3 million Palestinians out of the Gaza Strip, while Israel has made clear it intends to continue its military action until Hamas has been rooted out.

The Canadian Press

OCT 22 9:19 p.m. ET

First emergency aid shipments to Gaza ‘totally insufficient,’ humanitarian agencies say

Emergency aid has finally begun arriving in the besieged Gaza Strip for the first time since the Israel-Hamas war began, but fewer than 35 trucks reached the Palestinian territory on the weekend, a tiny trickle in comparison with its desperate needs, humanitarian agencies say.

The relief supplies, which crossed the border from Egypt, were tightly limited by Israeli restrictions and inspection rules, leaving Gaza facing the imminent danger of running out of water, food, medicine and fuel.

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Humanitarian aid trucks from Egypt arriving at a storage facility in Khan Yunis after having crossed through the Rafah border crossing, in southern Gaza, on Oct. 21.BELAL AL SABBAGH/AFP/Getty Images

The first convoy of 20 aid trucks entered Gaza on Saturday morning through the Rafah crossing from Egypt. A second convoy arrived on Sunday night through the same gate, with 14 trucks.

Israel insisted that the convoys could not carry any fuel, despite pleas from relief agencies warning that hospitals and water distributors will grind to a halt within three days if they don’t receive fuel for their power generators, pumps, ambulances and desalination plants.

“No fuel will further strangle the children, women and people of Gaza,” said Philippe Lazzarini, head of the United Nations agency for Palestinian refugees, in a statement on Sunday.

“Without fuel, there will be no water, no functioning hospitals and bakeries. Without fuel, aid will not reach many civilians in desperate need.”

UN relief workers say Gaza needs at least 100 trucks of aid supplies every day to prevent a worsening humanitarian catastrophe for its 2.3 million people. Israel argues that the convoys must be closely inspected and prohibited from carrying fuel to ensure that nothing benefits the Hamas militant group that massacred and abducted hundreds of people in southern Israel on Oct. 7.

Geoffrey York, Mark MacKinnon, Nathan VanderKlippe

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