Israel-Hamas war live: Aid efforts about to expand in southern Gaza, says Israeli military | Israel-Hamas war

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Key events

The UN Security Council scheduled an emergency meeting on Israel’s ground invasion of Gaza on Monday afternoon at the request of the United Arab Emirates, the Arab representative on the council, according to a report by Associated Press.

Israeli airstrikes have hit areas around Gaza’s largest hospital, destroying roads leading to the facility, which is a major shelter for Palestinians fleeing Israeli bombardment, residents have told Associated Press.

Here is some further detail from AP’s report:

The Israeli military has renewed longstanding allegations in recent days that top Hamas leaders and operatives have built underground bunkers below Shifa hospital and accused the militant group of using civilians as human shields. Israel has not presented evidence, and Hamas denies the claims.

“Reaching the hospital has become increasingly difficult,” Mahmoud al-Sawah, who was sheltering in the hospital, said over the phone on Sunday. “It seems they want to cut off the area.”

Another Gaza resident, Abdallah Sayed, described the Israeli air and land attacks in the past two days as “the most violent and intense” since the war started.

Three Palestinians were killed by Israeli forces in the occupied West Bank overnight, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry.

A 32-year-old in the northern West Bank and a 29-year old in Biet Rima, near Ramallah, were both shot dead. A 31-year-old was also killed in the Askar refugee camp in Nablus, it was reported.

Gaza civilians should move south where aid efforts ‘will expand’ – Israeli military

The Israeli military has told civilians in Gaza to move south, reiterating that it is increasing its operations and saying that humanitarian efforts “will be expanding” south of Wadi Gaza.

IDF spokesperson Daniel Hagari repeated that the military was “moving to the next phase of our war against Hamas in Gaza from the air, land and sea.”

He said Israel had repeatedly warned Gazans to move away from “Hamas strongholds”, adding “today we increase the urgency of that warning.”

“Civilians in northern Gaza and Gaza City should temporarily move south of Wadi Gaza to a safer area where they can receive water, food and medicine. Tomorrow, the humanitarian efforts to Gaza, led by Egypt and the United States, will be expanding,” Hagari said.

The video statement was posted on X, formerly Twitter, early on Sunday morning, but had been recorded on Saturday. The promised expansion of humanitarian efforts is due to take place on Sunday.

Republican presidential hopefuls pledged unwavering support for Israel in its war on Hamas as they spoke at an annual gathering of influential Jewish donors on Saturday night, reports AFP.

Former president Donald Trump told the Republican Jewish Coalition event he would “defend our friend and ally in the State of Israel like nobody has ever.”

The conflict between Israel and Hamas is “a fight between civilization and savagery, between decency and depravity, and between good and evil,” said Trump.

Trump has provoked fury over recent weeks after describing Lebanon-based Islamist group Hezbollah as “very smart” and criticizing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Trump’s nearest rival, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, called the Oct 7 Hamas surprise attack on Israel “the most deadly attack against Jews since the Holocaust itself.”

DeSantis and others pointed to what they said was rising anti-Semitism on US college campuses, and proposed cutting funding for universities and canceling visas for pro-Palestinian foreign students.

The Palestine Telecommunications Company (Paltel) has also confirmed that landline, mobile and internet services in the Gaza Strip are gradually being restored.

“Our technical teams are diligently addressing the damage to the internal network infrastructure under challenging conditions,” it said on social media.

We are pleased to announce that telecommunication services (landline, mobile, and internet) in Gaza Strip, disrupted on Friday, October 27, 2023, due to the ongoing aggression, are gradually being restored.


— Paltel (@Paltelco) October 29, 2023

The return of communications is a very welcome development in Gaza, which was cut off from the world late on Friday as Israel expanded ground operations and launched intense airstrikes.

Associated Press has spoken to some of the journalists who were still able to get news out, using international sim cards or satellite phones. Some moved closer to the southern border with Egypt, hoping to pick up that country’s network.

AP spoke to 28-year-old Palestinian journalist Hind al-Khoudary, who said the massive airstrikes that shook the ground exceeded anything she had experienced over the past three weeks or any of the four previous Israel-Hamas wars.

Here’s some detail from AP’s report:

“It was crazy,” she said. When the pace of bombardment slowed Saturday morning, residents rushed to the homes of loved ones with whom they had lost touch overnight.

“People right now are walking, using their cars because there isn’t internet,” al-Khoudary said. “Everyone is checking on us, seeing us, and now we are going to check on others.”

She went directly to Shifa Hospital, Gaza’s largest, where doctors, exhausted from operating on patient after patient with dwindling fuel and medical supplies, pressed on, despite the crowds of some 50,000 people sheltering in the compound.

The wounded poured in from Shati refugee camp in Gaza City, al-Khoudary said, where Israeli bombs wrought destruction the night before.

Here’s a recap of the Benjamin Netanyahu’s latest comments, televised on Saturday night, in which he said the military had opened a “second stage” in the war against Hamas by sending ground forces into Gaza and expanding attacks from the ground, air and sea.

He said the war will be “long and difficult,” calling it a battle of good versus evil and a struggle for Israel’s existence.

Netanyahu told Israelis: “We have unanimously approved the widening of the ground invasion … Our objective is singular: to defeat the murderous enemy. We declared ‘never again’, and we reiterate: ‘never again, now’.”

Describing the expanding war as Israel’s “second war of independence” Netanyahu continued: “In the initial weeks of the war, we launched massive airstrikes that dealt a severe blow to the enemy.

“We eliminated many terrorists. However, we are only at the beginning. The battle within the Gaza Strip will be difficult and long; this is our second war of independence.”

NetBlocks, a watchdog organisation that monitors cybersecurity and the internet, has reported that internet connectivity is being restored in the Gaza Strip. Most communications in the territory were knocked out late on Friday, with the Palestinian Red Crescent saying the blackout had blocked emergency calls and disrupted critical ambulance services.

⚠️ Confirmed: Real-time network data show that internet connectivity is being restored in the #Gaza Strip; service was disrupted on Friday amid heavy bombardment by Israel, leaving most residents cut off from the outside world at a critical moment 📈

— NetBlocks (@netblocks) October 29, 2023

Opening summary

Welcome to our new live blog continuing our rolling coverage of the Israel-Hamas war, now on day 23. This is Rebecca Ratcliffe and here’s a look at the latest:

  • Telephone communications and internet connectivity were gradually returning to the Gaza Strip in the early hours of Sunday morning, according to reports by Palestinian media. The destruction of phone and internet connections plunged Gaza into a communications blackout on Friday night, creating an information vacuum amid the heaviest aerial bombardment of the war so far. Gaza’s 2.3 million people were already in darkness after most electricity was cut off and fuel for generators ran out. No international aid entered the Gaza Strip on Saturday, according to the Palestinian Red Crescent.

  • Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Saturday night that the military had opened a “second stage” in the war, which aimed to “destroy the military and governmental capabilities of Hamas and bring the hostages home”. He said: “The battle within the Gaza Strip will be difficult and long; this is our second war of independence.”

  • Netanyahu met with the families of hostages on Saturday evening following a protest by relatives outside the defence ministry headquarters in Tel Aviv. It was unclear what reassurances he could offer as there appears to be no plan to negotiate prisoner exchanges or pause the offensive, which Hamas has said is a condition of any releases. Last week Hamas said approximately 50 hostages died in the bombardment. Relatives fear the recent escalation of Israel’s assault on Gaza will lead to further deaths.

  • Saudi Arabia’s defense minister Khalid bin Salman is expected to visit Washington on Monday, sources told Axios. The visit had been long-scheduled, but comes as Netanyahu announced the beginning of the “second stage” in the war. US President Joe Biden and Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman spoke on a call on Tuesday, and discussed efforts to prevent the Israel-Hamas conflict from widening.

  • Qatar-mediated negotiations between Israel and Hamas aimed at de-escalating fighting in Gaza continued on Saturday, a source briefed on the negotiations said. “Talks have not broken down, but are taking place at a ‘much slower pace’ than before the escalation from Friday evening,” a source told Reuters.

  • UN chief António Guterres met with Qatari prime minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim Al-Thani to discuss the war. “I came to Doha to express to Prime Minister@MBA_AlThani_ our full gratitude, appreciation and support for Qatar’s tireless mediation initiatives, namely for the release of the hostages kept in Gaza,” Guterres tweeted on Saturday.

  • Israel’s foreign minister, Eli Cohen, has ordered the return of Israeli diplomats from Turkey following Turkish president Tayyip Erdoğan’s comments at a pro-Palestinian rally in which he called Israel an “occupier.” Cohen tweeted on Saturday: “Given the grave statements coming from Turkey, I have ordered the return of diplomatic representatives there in order to conduct a reevaluation of the relations between Israel and Turkey.”

  • The USS Dwight D. Eisenhower aircraft carrier and its strike group has moved through the Strait of Gibraltar, putting two American carriers in the Mediterranean Sea, a rare sight in recent years. The USS Gerald R. Ford Carrier Strike Group is already in the eastern Mediterranean, part of a buildup of forces as the US supports Israel in its war against Hamas.

  • Médecins Sans Frontières has called for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza “to prevent more deaths … and allow desperately needed humanitarian supplies in.” “We have teams on standby ready to send medical supplies and to enter Gaza, as soon as the situation allows it. But if the bombing continues with the current intensity, any effort to increase medical aid will inevitably fall short,” the organization said.

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