Israel-Hamas war live: Israeli forces say ‘dozens’ of Hamas fighters killed in overnight operations | Israel-Hamas war

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Israeli forces say ‘dozens’ of Hamas fighters killed in overnight operations

Israel’s air force has released a statement saying IDF fighters and armored forces were fired on with anti-tank weapons and grenades in overnight operations.

The forces engaged in prolonged battles with the terrorists, assisted by brigade fire from artillery and tanks, while directing an aircraft to attack from the air and directing a missile ship to attack from the sea. At the end of the fighting, dozens of terrorists were killed.”

Key events

Egypt’s foreign ministry has said it will help evacuate “about 7,000” foreigners and dual nationals from the Gaza Strip, according to news agency Agence France-Presse.

In a meeting with foreign diplomats, the country’s assistant foreign minister said Egypt was preparing “to facilitate the reception and evacuation of foreign citizens from Gaza through the Rafah crossing”.

The official said the figure of “about 7,000” represents “more than 60” nationalities.

An estimated 1.4 million people are currently displaced in the Gaza Strip, according to the main UN agency in Palestine.

Since 7 October, UNRWA said 70 of its colleagues have been killed and another 22 injured.

“This is the highest number of UN aid workers killed in a conflict in such a short time,” it added.

Peter Beaumont

Peter Beaumont

In the north of Israel, the sound of exchanges between the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) and Hezbollah and other armed factions in Lebanon have become a daily fact of life for the few who have opted to stay in its deserted towns and communities.

The roads close to the frontier, planted years ago with eucalyptus trees to screen cars from overlooking heights across the border, have signs warning drivers they are entering a danger zone.

The gates to border communities in the Upper Galilee such as Metula and Menara are closed and guarded by soldiers. The tourist cabins and attractions are empty. The sound of drones is now a constant, irritating buzz. Occasionally, a boom can be heard in the distance.

In recent days, anti-tank guided missiles, mortars and an anti-aircraft missile have been fired from the Lebanese side of the frontier, while Israel has used artillery and drone strikes to kill at least 50 members of Hezbollah.

Smoke on the skyline in the Israeli-Lebanese frontier region.
Smoke on the skyline in the Israeli-Lebanese frontier region. Photograph: Fadel Senna/AFP/Getty Images

Amir Ottolenghi, 65, was at home with his wife in the northern Israeli town of Kiryat Shmona when a rocket struck his neighbour’s residence next door, smashing through the red-tiled roof and setting it on fire.

We heard the missile come from the Lebanese side of the frontier, and then the boom-boom of Iron Dome [Israel’s anti-missile system]. Then another bang as the rocket hit the house. The instruction is to wait for 10 minutes. But we could hear the house opposite on fire. The sound of glass being blown out.”

The meaning of the exchanges, however, remains ambiguous, with some analysts suggesting that while Hezbollah is keen to signal that it is engaged at a low level, it does not want to escalate to a full-blown conflict, amid opposition to war from a large section of Lebanese society already battered by economic and political crisis.

Israeli forces say ‘dozens’ of Hamas fighters killed in overnight operations

Israel’s air force has released a statement saying IDF fighters and armored forces were fired on with anti-tank weapons and grenades in overnight operations.

The forces engaged in prolonged battles with the terrorists, assisted by brigade fire from artillery and tanks, while directing an aircraft to attack from the air and directing a missile ship to attack from the sea. At the end of the fighting, dozens of terrorists were killed.”

Japan’s foreign minister has said she will communicate Japan’s readiness to provide aid in meetings with Palestinian counterparts this week.

Yoko Kamikawa is also set to meet Israeli foreign minister Eli Cohen during her two-day trip from Friday.

“I hope to discuss how to respond to the grave humanitarian situation in the Gaza region as well as directly communicate Japan’s readiness to continue providing aid,” Kamikawa said of her meeting with her Palestinian counterparts.

All 10 Japanese nationals and their eight Palestinian family members wishing to leave Gaza evacuated to Egypt on Wednesday, Kamikawa said, adding that the evacuees were in good health.

She said Japan would remain in touch with one Japanese national living in Gaza who wished to remain there and did not evacuate.

More than 20,000 wounded people are still trapped in the Gaza Strip, according to Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), despite the evacuation of some foreign passport holders and badly injured Palestinians across the border to Egypt on Wednesday.

MSF said that 22 of its international staff members in Gaza had been among those who left the territory via the Rafah border crossing.

“However, there are still over 20,000 injured people in Gaza with limited access to healthcare due to the siege,” it said.

MSF’s Palestinian staff were still offering care in the territory, it added, and another international team was waiting to enter the territory to replace those who left “as soon as the situation allows”.

The organisation went on to call for a greater number of people to be evacuated, as well as for a ceasefire and for more critical aid to be allowed in.

“Those who wish to leave Gaza must be allowed to do so without further delay. They must also be allowed the right to return,” the statement said.

Patrick Wintour

Patrick Wintour

Egypt has been caught in a dilemma for weeks about opening the Rafah crossing into Gaza: wanting to help the most seriously injured Palestinians leave, but adamantly refusing to contemplate a surge of Palestinian refugees into the Sinai peninsula.

Some have criticised Egypt and its authoritarian president, Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, for not opening his borders, but Palestinians also fear a repeat of what they call the Nakba, or catastrophe – the expulsion of 700,000 Palestinians in 1948 after the creation of Israel.

It appears also that Egypt does not want to repeat the experience of Lebanon and Jordan, which have been housing Palestinian refugees for decades. Sisi considers the housing of up to 1 million Palestinians in camps in his country a political risk not worth taking.

References to a mass exodus makes Sisi jumpy. The Cairo-based Mada Masr news outlet was suspended for six months and referred to the prosecutor-general after running a report on what it said were plans for the displacement of Gaza’s Palestinians in Sinai.

On Wednesday, Rafah opened for the evacuation of dozens of injured Palestinians and hundreds of foreign passport holders, but no one knows how long that situation will last. Moreover, the selection process for who can leave – negotiated between Israel and Egypt in Qatar – is opaque. National embassies, it seems, can lobby for nationals to cross the border, but do not have a say.

Egypt’s concern is that the current trickle turns into an avalanche: Sisi has assembled a mass of tanks on the Egyptian side of the border to prevent such an occurrence.

It’s now 8am in Gaza and 6am in London.

If you’re just waking up and want to get up to speed, we’ve published a fresh wrap of all the latest news from the Israel-Hamas war. You can read it here:

The Associated Press has sent through a dispatch from the Gaza side of the Egyptian border, as hundreds wait to leave via the Rafah crossing.

The news agency reports that hundreds of Palestinians with foreign passports and dozens of seriously wounded patients desperate to escape the war in Gaza crowded at the border gate.

AP reporters describe restless children pressing their faces against the wire mesh, as families wait for the Hamas authorities to call their names over a scratchy loudspeaker.

Palestinians wait to cross into Egypt at Rafah.
Palestinians wait to cross into Egypt at Rafah. Photograph: Fatima Shbair/AP

“We are relying on God and hoping that we get out,” Rania Hussein, a Jordanian resident of Gaza said. She said entire neighbourhoods had been razed by airstrikes with families crushed to death.

A large number of foreign passport holders remain stuck in Gaza, including an estimated 400 Americans who want to leave. AP says a widely shared Google spreadsheet outlined just a few hundred names of those cleared for departure.

“No one understands how you get on this list or why you’re not on this list,” said Hammam al-Yazji, a Palestinian businessman trying to get out of Gaza with his 4-year-old American son.

Palestinians on the Gaza side of the Rafah crossing.
Palestinians on the Gaza side of the Rafah crossing. Photograph: Fatima Shbair/AP

“We came here today to the Egyptian borders hoping to leave Gaza, but our Canadian embassy didn’t contact [us] due to the bad network,” said Asil Shurab, a Canadian citizen.

The US says it expects more foreign nationals will be allowed to leave over the coming days.

Thai officials hold talks with Hamas in Iran

Thai officials held direct talks with Hamas in Iran last week, reports Agence France-Presse, citing the Thai negotiating team.

Negotiators met Hamas officials in Tehran on 26 October and were given a pledge that the 22 Thais being held in Gaza would be released at the “right time”, Areepen Uttarasin told reporters in Bangkok on Wednesday.

Areepen, who led the three-person team appointed by the speaker of the Thai parliament, said they held a two-hour meeting with Hamas officials in Iran.

“I asked them to release them because they are innocent,” he said, adding “they assured me that they were taking good care of them, but they couldn’t tell me the release date… they were waiting for the right time.”

He said after the talks the Thai team prayed with the Hamas representatives.

Israeli authorities say 1,400 people, many of them civilians, were killed and more than 230 hostages taken in the 7 October attack launched by Hamas from Gaza.

Thai prime minister Srettha Thavisin has said his government is working hard to bring the hostages home, and his foreign minister held talks in Qatar and Egypt this week.

Srettha spoke by phone with Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday.

“He told me he would do his best to help the Thai hostages immediately,” Srettha said.

Netanyahu’s office said after the call that he had assured Srettha that “Israel is making every effort to free all of the hostages”.

About 30,000 Thais are working in Israel, mostly in the agriculture sector, according to the kingdom’s labour ministry. Thirty-two Thai nationals have been killed and 19 wounded in the conflict, and the kingdom has evacuated more than 7,000 of its citizens on repatriation flights.

You can read more of the Guardian’s coverage of the Thai hostages being held in Gaza here:

The Associated Press is reporting that democrats in Michigan have warned the White House that president Joe Biden’s handling of the Israel-Hamas conflict could cost him enough support within the Arab American community to sway the outcome of the 2024 election in a state he almost certainly can’t afford to lose.

The situation has prompted the White House to discuss ways to alleviate tensions with some of the state’s prominent democrats, including several who have been vocal critics of the president over the war.

“The message has been relayed. We’ve had calls with the White House,” said Abraham Aiyash, the third-ranking democrat in the state’s House of Representatives. “We’ve been clear in saying the humanity should matter, but if that is not a calculation that you’re going to make in this moment, recognise that there will be electoral reverberations to this.”

Victory in Michigan was critical in helping Biden win the White House in 2020, after Donald Trump unexpectedly won the state in 2016. In the last few years Democrats have felt more confident about their standing in Michigan, particularly after the state’s governor notched a commanding 10-point reelection victory last year.

But local democrats are concerned the war may have a more lasting political impact. Michigan holds the largest concentration of Arab-Americans in the nation and over 310,000 residents are of Middle Eastern or North African ancestry. Many in the community are pledging not to support Biden’s reelection unless he calls for a ceasefire in the war.

In 2020, Muslim voters nationally supported Biden over Trump 64% to 35%, according to polls.

On Wednesday the White House announced that it would develop a national strategy to battle Islamophobia, a plan that has been expected for months but which has gained momentum in the wake of the conflict in the Middle East.

The Biden administration in May released a national strategy to combat antisemitism that also made a reference to countering hatred against Muslims.

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