Israel-Hamas war live: Syria says Aleppo airport hit as Israel prepares ground invasion of Gaza | Israel-Hamas war
“The next stage is coming,” the Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, told troops today.
He was speaking in southern Israel, in a video posted by his office.
“We’re all ready,” the prime minister wrote on social media.
Russia has asked the United Nations security council to vote on Monday on a draft resolution on the Israel-Hamas conflict that calls for a humanitarian ceasefire and condemns violence against civilians and all acts of terrorism.
Reuters reports that Russia’s deputy UN ambassador, Dmitry Polyanskiy, said no changes had been made to the text since it was given to the 15-member body on Friday and that he expected the vote to be scheduled for 3pm EDT (1900 GMT) on Monday.
It is slightly past 2am in Gaza where thousands of Palestinians have been evacuating towards the southern part of the Gaza Strip as Israel prepares for a ground invasion. Here is where things stand:
The World Health Organization has issued a statement condemning Israel’s orders of the evacuation of 22 hospitals in northern Gaza that are treating more than 2,000 inpatients. In a statement on Saturday, the WHO warned that the “forced evacuations of patients and health workers will further worsen the current humanitarian and public health catastrophe”.
Iran has warned of “far-reaching consequences” if Israel’s “war crimes and genocide” are not stopped immediately. On Saturday, the permanent mission of Iran to the United Nations added: “The responsibility of which lies with the UN, the Security Council & the states steering the Council toward a dead end.”
Iranian foreign minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian appears to have met with Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh in Doha, Qatar, this evening. The exact meeting details have yet to be disclosed.
US president Joe Biden spoke separately with Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas on Saturday. Netanyahu’s office said that the prime minister told Biden that “unity and determination” are needed to achieve Israel’s goal of defeating Hamas. Meanwhile, Abbas’s office said that the president told Biden that he rejects the displacement of Palestinians from Gaza as thousands flee amid deadly Israeli airstrikes.
Israel’s military said on Saturday that it has fired back at Syrian areas from which two rockets were launched towards Israeli territory and fell into open areas. The military also said it fired an interceptor towards a “suspicious target” that crossed into Israeli territory from Lebanon but did not provide any additional details.
The European Council chief has called on a virtual summit with EU leaders next week to discuss the ongoing war between Israel and Hamas. “It is of utmost importance that the European Council, in line with the treaties and our values, sets our common position and establishes a clear unified course of action that reflects the complexity of the unfolding situation,” said Charles Michel, president of the European Council.
Médicins Sans Frontieres has called on the ‘Israeli authorities to ‘show humanity’. In a statement issued on Saturday, MSF condemned Israel’s bombardment of the Gaza Strip “without restraint for a week”.
Israel has admitted to intelligence ‘mistakes’ in failing to predict Hamas’s attacks last weekend. “It’s my mistake, and it reflects the mistakes of all those making [intelligence] assessments,” Israel’s national security adviser Tzachi Hanegbi said at a press briefing.
The Israeli military announced on Saturday that its forces are preparing to implement a wide range of operational offensive plans. It also announced that its forces have been deployed throughout Israel and is preparing for the next stages “with an emphasis on significant ground operations”.
Lebanon said on Saturday that Israel had launched a deadly strike on Friday that killed a Reuters journalist and injured six other journalists from Agence France-Presse, Reuters and Al Jazeera. The Lebanese army said in a statement that “the Israeli enemy fired a rocket shell that hit a civilian car belonging to a media team, leading to the death of Issam Abdallah”.
The UN’s under-secretary general for humanitarian affairs and emergency relief coordinator, Martin Griffiths, has warned that the humanitarian situation in Gaza is “fast becoming untenable”. In a statement issued on Saturday, Griffiths said: “Even wars have rules, and these rules must be upheld, at all times, and by all sides. Civilians and civilian infrastructure, including humanitarian workers and assets, must be protected.”
The European Commission announced this afternoon that it will triple humanitarian aid for Gaza. The move comes after the EU faced criticism for conflicting messaging from its senior leadership. The commission’s president, Ursula von der Leyen, spoke with the UN secretary general, António Guterres, today, the commission said.
Here are some images coming through the newswires of pro-Palestinian protests held across the world over the weekend as Gaza’s humanitarian crisis intensifies amid deadly Israeli airstrikes:
The World Health Organization has issued a statement condemning Israel’s orders of the evacuation of 22 hospitals in northern Gaza that are treating more than 2,000 inpatients.
In a statement on Saturday, the WHO warned that the “forced evacuations of patients and health workers will further worsen the current humanitarian and public health catastrophe”.
The lives of many critically ill and fragile patients hang in the balance: those in intensive care or who rely on life support; patients undergoing hemodialysis; newborns in incubators; women with complications of pregnancy, and others all face imminent deterioration of their condition or death if they are forced to move and are cut off from life-saving medical attention while being evacuated,” the WHO said.
Hospital directors and health workers are now facing an agonizing choice: abandon critically ill patients amid a bombing campaign, put their own lives at risk while remaining on site to treat patients, or endanger their patients’ lives while attempting to transport them to facilities that have no capacity to receive them.
Overwhelmingly, caregivers have chosen to stay behind and honor their oaths as health professionals to “do no harm”, rather than risk moving their critically ill patients during evacuations. Health workers should never have to make such impossible choices,” it added.
It went on to urge Israel to immediately reverse evacuation orders to hospitals in northern Gaza.
The White House has released readouts of president Joe Biden’s calls with Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority’s president Mahmoud Abbas.
On Biden’s call with Netanyahu, the White House said:
President Biden discussed with Prime Minister Netanyahu US coordination with the United Nations, Egypt, Jordan, Israel, and others in the region to ensure innocent civilians have access to water, food, and medical care. President Biden affirmed his support for all efforts to protect civilians.
As more information comes to light about Hamas’s brutal atrocities committed over the past week, President Biden reiterated the need for all countries to unequivocally condemn Hamas as a terrorist organization that does not represent the aspirations of the Palestinian people.
On Biden’s call with Abbas, the White House said:
President Biden condemned Hamas’ brutal attack on Israel and reiterated that Hamas does not stand for the Palestinian people’s right to dignity and self-determination. President Abbas briefed President Biden on his engagement in the region and his efforts to bring urgently needed humanitarian assistance to Palestinian people, particularly in Gaza. President Biden offered President Abbas and the Palestinian Authority his full support for these important and ongoing efforts.
President Biden discussed with President Abbas US efforts to work with the United Nations, Egypt, Jordan, Israel and others to ensure humanitarian supplies reach civilians in Gaza.
The Syrian defence ministry has confirmed Israel’s targeting of its Aleppo airport on Saturday night.
“The Israeli enemy carried out an air attack from the direction of the Mediterranean Sea, west of Latakia, targeting Aleppo International Airport, which led to material damage to the airport and it being out of service,” Reuters reports the ministry staying.
Iran has warned of “far-reaching consequences” if Israel’s “war crimes and genocide” are not stopped immediately.
On Saturday, the permanent mission of Iran to the United Nations tweeted:
If the Israeli apartheid’s war crimes & genocide are not halted immediately, the situation could spiral out of control & ricochet far-reaching consequences—the responsibility of which lies with the UN, the Security Council & the states steering the Council toward a dead end.”
An Israeli airstrike is reported to have hit Aleppo airport in Syria.
Speaking to Agence France-Presse, Rami Abdel Rahman, head of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, said:
An Israeli air strike coming from the direction of the sea struck Aleppo airport.”
Agence France-Presse reports that Syrian state media SANA has also confirmed the strike, with state TV reporting: “Israeli aggression targeting Aleppo International Airport.”
Syrian state media is also reporting that the Aleppo airport is out of service following the airstrike, Reuters reports.
According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, Saturday’s strikes hit the airport “hours after it went back into service, knocking it out of service again,” Agence France-Presse reports.
The reported strikes comes just days after Israeli forces launched missiles at the airports in Aleppo and Damascus, damaging their runways.
Reuters reports that sources have said the strikes on the airports are intended to disrupt Iranian supply lines into Syria.
Thousands of people attended rallies in London and other cities across the UK in a show of solidarity for Palestine.
Agence France-Presse reports that demonstrators took to the streets in London in the presence of more than 1,000 police officers.
Other pro-Palestinian rallies took place in cities including Manchester and Edinburgh.
“I think all just people around the world, not just in Britain, must stand up and call for this madness [to end],” Ismail Patel, chairman of the Friends of Al-Aqsa campaign, told Agence France-Presse in London.
Ferouza Namaz, a 34-year-old student from Uzbekistan joined the protest in London and said: “Just being Palestinian does not give the rights to kill them. These appalling atrocities have been taking place for so many years.”
Ben Jamal, director of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, which called the march, told Agence France-Presse it was designed to send a message to politicians who, he said, had “given the green light to Israel to commit war crimes”.
Jeremy Corbyn, the UK’s former Labour leader addressed the rally, saying:
What we’re searching for here today is a process for peace and a process for justice and a process for honor, particularly for the people of Palestine …
It is right to condemn the continuing occupation of Palestine by the Israeli military forces … The system that has been quite correctly described by the late archbishop Desmond Tutu as a system of apartheid has to be condemned and has to be opposed.”
The demonstrations come amid intensifying Israeli strikes on Gaza as thousands of Palestinians attempt to flee to the southern part of the strip, many of them being killed in the process.
Iranian foreign minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian appears to have met with Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh in Doha, Qatar, this evening.
The exact meeting details have yet to be disclosed.
Earlier this week, US secretary of state Antony Blinken met with Qatar’s prime minister Sheikh Mohammed Bin Abdulrahman al-Thani as part of his seven-country regional tour in attempts to contain the ongoing war between Israel and Hamas.
Reuters reports that Blinken did not directly answer a question about whether the US was demanding that Qatar shut down a Hamas political office in Doha. However, Blinken did say that every country “needs to condemn” Hamas following its attacks on Israel.
“I’ve also been making it clear in all of my conversations throughout this trip that there can be no more business as usual with Hamas,” Blinken said following the meeting.
US president Joe Biden spoke separately with Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas on Saturday, Reuters reports.
Netanyahu’s office said that the prime minister thanked Biden for his support and told him that “unity and determination” are needed to achieve Israel’s goal of defeating Hamas.
Meanwhile, Abbas’s office said that the president told Biden that he rejects the displacement of Palestinians from Gaza as thousands flee amid deadly Israeli airstrikes.
Israel’s military said on Saturday that it has fired back at Syrian areas from which two rockets were launched towards Israeli territory and fell into open areas, Reuters reports.
The military also said it fired an interceptor towards a “suspicious target” that crossed into Israeli territory from Lebanon but did not provide any additional details.
It also added that the Syrian rockets set off sirens in northern Israel including the town of Alma which is situated near the Lebanese border. Sirens also went off in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights town of Avnei Eitan, Reuters reports.
Following Hamas’s attacks on Israel last weekend, Israel has also exchanged fire with Lebanon’s Hezbollah and militants in Syria.
The European Council chief has called on a virtual summit with EU leaders next week to discuss the ongoing war between Israel and Hamas.
“It is of utmost importance that the European Council, in line with the treaties and our values, sets our common position and establishes a clear unified course of action that reflects the complexity of the unfolding situation,” said Charles Michel, president of the European Council.
Michel, who set the meeting for Tuesday 3.30pm GMT, went on to voice support towards Israel, saying: “We stand in full solidarity with the people of Israel and the victims of the terrorist attacks.”
“Israel has the right to defend itself in full compliance with international law, in particular international humanitarian law,” he added.
He also called called the ongoing evacuations of thousands of Palestinians in Gaza “tragic scenes”, saying that they “are raising alarm bells in the international community”.
Here are some images coming through the newswires as Israeli airstrikes continue to hit Gaza as thousands of Palestinians flee their homes:
Flights with humanitarian aid have been landing in Egypt’s Sinai peninsula amid efforts to open safe corridors into Gaza.
The Guardian’s Julian Borger reports:
Two new aid flights arrived on Saturday at El Arish airport in Sinai, 45km from the Gaza border, and another three landed earlier in the week.
One of the flights, the World Health Organization (WHO) said, was carrying trauma medicines and health supplies.
“Every hour these supplies remain on the Egyptian side of the border, more girls and boys, women and men, especially those vulnerable or disabled, will die,” the WHO director-general, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said in a statement.
Meirav Eilon Shahar, Israel’s ambassador to the UN,, insisting that Israel was taking “every feasible precaution available to mitigate unintended civilian harm”, including the dropping of leaflets and sending messages on social media warning people to leave northern Gaza. She blamed Hamas for using civilians as human shields.
Human rights lawyers say the forcible transfer for such a large population and the heavy bombing of residential areas could constitute war crimes, and the Israeli government has yet to allow humanitarian supplies to enter Gaza.
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Conservative American lawmakers including Florida’s governor Ron DeSantis and Georgia’s hard-right congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene have said the US should not accept refugees from Gaza as thousands of them continue to flee amid deadly Israeli strikes.
During an event for his 2024 presidential campaign, DeSantisscathing words against Gazan civilians, saying: “We cannot accept people from Gaza into this country as refugees … If you look at how they behave, not all of them are Hamas but they are all anti-Semitic, none of them believe in Israel’s right to exist.”
He went on to say that the neighbouring “Arab states should be taking them if you have refugees”.
Greene issued similar words,: “We cannot take in 1 million refugees from Gaza. We would be importing anti-Semitic people, many who support terrorism.”
The UN and numerous humanitarian organisations have called for the safe evacuation of Gazans and warned of a growing humanitarian crisis as they flee deadly Israeli airstrikes which have struck and reportedly killed dozens even in supposedly “safe” routes.
Canada’s foreign minister has confirmed death of fourth Canadian in last week’s attacks by Hamas
Twenty-two-year-old Shir Georgy went missing following Hamas’s attacks at a music festival near Kibbutz Re’im last Saturday. Her aunt, Michal Bouganim, mourned her niece’s death on Instagram, saying: “It is with great sadness and a broken heart that we announce the murder of our beloved Shir.”
Reuters reported Canadian foreign minister Melanie Joly said that Georgy’s death brings the total death toll of Canadians to four, with three still missing.
Joly also said that she is working on evacuating Canadians in Gaza through the Rafah border crossing into Egypt and out of the West Bank via bus and into Jordan.
“Canada has an agreement with Israel to get Canadians out of Gaza … Things are very volatile, obviously, in Gaza, where it is one of the worst places on earth right now to be living in,” Reuters reported Joly said in a phone call to reporters from Jordan.
Siren sounds appear to be ongoing in Tel Aviv as the Israeli military warns of possible incoming rockets, Reuters reports.
Here is footage showing moments before and after an Israeli airstrike that hit civilian convoys fleeing Gaza:
The strike killed dozens of people and occurred on Salah-ah-Din Road, a supposedly safe route Palestinians are using to flee northern Gaza.