Netanyahu meets with elite Israeli force as possible ground incursion looms
Gaza’s infrastructure severely damaged by Israeli attacks: UN report
9 British nationals have been killed and 7 missing after Hamas attack on Israel: UK
At least nine British nationals were killed and seven are still missing after Hamas’ attack on Israel on October 7, a spokesperson for United Kingdom Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said Thursday.
The spokesperson added some of those missing “are feared to be among the dead or kidnapped.”
Sunak has landed in Saudi Arabia on the second stop of his visit to the Middle East.
Earlier on Thursday, he met Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem and stated Britain supported Israel’s “right to defend itself in line with international law,” while also adding to calls for humanitarian aid to be allowed into Gaza.
Medical aid is “ready to go” at Gaza crossing: WHO chief
Trucks of medical aid are “ready to go” at the border between Gaza and Egypt, the World Health Organization announced Thursday, welcoming Israel’s announcement that it will not block the entry of water, food and medicines into Gaza from Egypt.
“Our trucks are loaded and ready to go. We are working with the Egypt and Palestine Red Crescent Societies to deliver our supplies into Gaza as soon as the Rafah crossing is opened, hopefully tomorrow,” WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said at a press conference.
“Fuel is also needed for hospital generators, ambulances and desalination plants – and we urge Israel to add fuel to the life-saving supplies allowed to enter Gaza,” Tedros added.
The WHO noted earlier on Thursday that Egypt and Israel’s agreement to allow some aid into Gaza was “a start,” as Palestinians living in the besieged enclave await much-needed help.
While Israel has said it will not block humanitarian aid going into Gaza from Egypt, according to a statement from the office of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday, it will not allow supplies into Gaza from its own territory until Hamas releases all hostages.
European Union calls for “unhindered humanitarian access” to Gaza
A European Union spokesperson welcomed reports that Egypt has agreed to allow aid trucks into Gaza but stated that any restrictions on the amount allowed into the enclave is not in line with international humanitarian law.
European Commission spokesperson Balazs Ujvari said that the bloc “welcomes the announcement by Egypt, according to which critically needed humanitarian aid will be able to start being delivered into the Gaza Strip,” and reiterated that, “international humanitarian law obliges all parties to ensure safe and unhindered humanitarian access to people in need.”
“Restrictions on a quantity, destination and categories of items are not in line with this obligation,” Ujvari added.
Ujvari confirmed that a second humanitarian flight from the EU would be landing in Egypt later on Thursday afternoon, after a first flight carrying aid arrived on Monday.
“If you put together the cargo of the flight from Monday and the one going today, we are talking about of 54 tonnes of essential humanitarian supplies. This includes hygiene items, sanitary material, but also food, water, and shelter,” Ujvari said.
Ujvari added the EU welcomed “the announcement made by Israel that it will not thwart the deliveries of food, water or medicine coming from Egypt.”
US President Joe Biden said on Wednesday that his Egyptian counterpart Abdel Fattah el-Sisi had agreed to open the Rafah crossing into Gaza for humanitarian aid and up to 20 aid trucks would be allowed into Gaza.
Israeli Ministry of Defense says US shipment of armoured vehicles has arrived
In a post on X, the defense ministry said the vehicles are “being transferred to the [Israeli army] to replace vehicles damaged during the war”.
The US has pledged to up its military support to Israel – which already averages $3.8bn a year – amid the war. The US Pentagon said as of Tuesday, five shipments of weapons and equipment have already been sent to Israel since October 7.
On Wednesday, State Department official Josh Paul resigned, arguing the continued pledges of US weapons was green-lighting an Israeli bombardment on Gaza that has shown little concern for the civilian toll.
Guterres reiterates call for ceasefire in Gaza
Israeli defence minister tells troops they’ll soon see Gaza ‘from inside’
7 Palestinians killed in West Bank refugee camp: Health ministry
At least six Palestinians were killed in an ongoing Israeli military operation in the Nur Shams refugee camp in the city of Tulkarem in the occupied West Bank on Thursday, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health.
The ministry told CNN that it had confirmed the deaths of seven people and that the toll was likely to rise.
The Palestinian Red Crescent announced its staff were trying to reach the casualties in Nur Shams, adding that, “There are difficulties in reaching some of the injured individuals, and ambulances with injured people inside are being detained by (Israeli) occupying forces.”
White House will request $40 billion for Israel and other support in supplemental budget
US President Joe Biden plans to request around $100 billion in a national security supplemental package this week, including $40 billion in aid for Israel, Taiwan and for the US southern border, and around $60 billion in aid for Ukraine, a senior administration official told CNN.
Biden himself had said this week that he planned to ask lawmakers to approve an “unprecedented support package for Israel’s defense.”
The request for aid to Israel as part of the supplemental package comes after Biden traveled to Israel to show the US ally his resounding support. Two officials told CNN Biden had wanted to finalize a decision on how much to request for Israel until after he had had the chance to meet in person with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his war cabinet and get a detailed sense of what the country’s defense needs were.
Meanwhile, additional funding to help Ukraine in its war against Russia has long been a top priority for the administration.
Egypt and Jordan leaders: If Israel-Hamas war doesn’t end, it could plunge region into catastrophe
Jordan’s King Abdullah and Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi during bilateral talks in Cairo Thursday reaffirmed their joint position against collective punishment policies in Gaza, including sieges, starvation and displacement, Jordan’s Royal Hashemite Court said in a statement.
The leaders rejected any attempts at forced displacement of Gazans into their respective countries.
They called for an immediate halt to the conflict in Gaza, the protection of civilians, the lifting of the siege and the delivery of humanitarian aid.
Both leaders in the statement warned that “if the war does not stop and expands, it threatens to plunge the entire region into a catastrophe.”
France says 28 nationals killed in Hamas attack
At least 28 French nationals were killed in Israel in the October 7 attack, the French foreign ministry has announced.
It added that several others are still unaccounted for.
Over 1,500 children killed by Israeli strikes in Gaza
At least 1,524 children and 1,000 women are among the 3,785 Palestinians killed by Israeli air strikes in Gaza since 7 October, the Palestinian health ministry confirmed.
Ministry spokesperson Ashraf al-Qudra said on Thursday that a further 12,493 Palestinians were wounded in that time.
Qudra added that 44 health workers were killed, while four hospitals and 14 basic healthcare services had stopped functioning.
“There are no medicine stocks in any of the hospitals in Gaza,” he stated.
Israel kills Hamas leader and family members
Reuters news agency, citing “Hamas media” reported that an Israeli air strike in Gaza has killed Jehad Mheisen, the leader of the movement’s National Security Forces.
It added that the strike also killed members of Mheisen’s family.
More than 3,500 Palestinians in Gaza have been killed in the Israeli bombing campaign and the vast majority of those have been non-combatants, including more than a thousand children and a thousand women.
The exact number of Palestinian fighters killed is not known at this time.
IDF has not ruled out possibility there may still be Hamas fighters in Israel
The Israeli military has not ruled out the possibility there may still be Hamas fighters in Israel after the attack on October 7, a spokesperson for the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) said in a briefing Thursday.
“The Gaza envelope area (i.e. the communities around Gaza) is still a war zone,” Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari added.
“One terrorist was caught yesterday, trying to make his way back to Gaza.”
The IDF spent days trying to secure the border between Israel and Gaza, which Hamas breached on October 7, allowing fighters to pour into Israel and mount an attack that killed more than 1,400 people and left thousands more wounded.
At least 306 Israeli troops killed since war began
At least 306 Israeli soldiers have been killed since 7 October, the military has announced on Thursday.
It added that at least 203 Israelis were being held hostage in Gaza.
Netanyahu says Israel fighting “Iran-led axis of evil”
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stated Thursday his country is fighting an “axis of evil” led by Iran.
“Hamas are the new Nazis, the new ISIS, and we have to fight them together,” Netanyahu said during a news conference with visiting British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, adding that it was “the battle of the entire civilised world” and on the other side was “an axis of evil, led by Iran”, which also included Hezbollah.
Netanyahu noted Israel was embarking on a “long war” and needed the UK’s “continuous support.”
Britain supported Israel’s “right to defend itself in line with international law,” Sunak said, while also adding to calls for humanitarian aid to be allowed into Gaza.
“We absolutely support Israel’s right to defend itself in line with international law, to go after Hamas, to take back hostages, to deter further incursions and to strengthen your [Israel’s] security for the long term,” Sunak stated, addressing Netanyahu.
He added: “We also recognize that the Palestinian people are victims of Hamas too and that is why I welcome your decision yesterday to ensure that routes into Gaza will be opened for humanitarian aid to enter.”
UK PM meets Israeli president
British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has said that the UK “stands in solidarity” with Israel during a meeting with Israeli President Isaac Herzog.
“We will stand with you in solidarity with your people and your right to defend yourself, to bring security back to your country to your people, to ensure the safe return of the hostages that have been taken,” Sunak stated.
“Palestinians are victims of what Hamas has done. It’s important that we continue to provide humanitarian access,” he added.
China’s Xi hopes for swift end to Israel-Hamas conflict and calls for two-state solution
A two-state solution to establish an independent Palestine is the “fundamental way out” of the Israel-Hamas conflict, Xi Jinping said Thursday in the Chinese leader’s first public comments on the war since it broke out nearly two weeks ago.
“The top priority now is a ceasefire as soon as possible, to avoid the conflict from expanding or even spiraling out of control and causing a serious humanitarian crisis,” Xi was quoted as saying by China’s state-broadcaster CCTV.
Xi, who made the comments in a meeting with Egyptian Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly in Beijing, stated China is willing to work with Egypt and Arab nations to “promote a comprehensive, just and lasting solution to the Palestinian issue,” according to CCTV.
Xi added the fundamental way to resolve the conflict is “to implement the ‘two-state solution,’ establish an independent Palestinian state and achieve peaceful coexistence” between the two sides.
Remains found of two people killed in Hamas attack
A boy and a woman among dozens of people killed by Hamas gunmen in an Israeli border village have been located and identified 12 days after the attack, the medical assistance and casualty recovery group Zaka said.
Remains of the victims were found during a search of a house burned down in the kibbutz of Beeri, the group announced in a statement.
“Their bodies were incinerated after they were murdered,” it added, without providing names for the two or elaborating on any possible relationship between them.
Overall, at least 1,403 Israelis have been killed since the war started and about 4,629 injured.
Israeli fighter jets destroy four residential towers in central Gaza
Israeli warplanes have fired several missiles at four residential towers in the al-Zahra area in the central Gaza Strip destroying them completely, Wafa news agency has reported on Thursday.
According to local sources, Israeli forces informed the residents of the 270 residential units of the intention to shell them, prompting residents to evacuate.
UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak arrives in Israel
The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Rishi Sunak arrived in Israel on Thursday ahead of meetings with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Isaac Herzog.
“I am in Israel, a nation in grief. I grieve with you and stand with you against the evil that is terrorism. Today, and always,” Sunak said in a post on X, formerly Twitter.
The prime minister’s official account also posted about the visit, writing that Sunak is in Israel to meet the country’s leaders, as well as leaders of “the wider region.”
“The UK is working to ensure Hamas’ terrorism is not a catalyst for further escalation. All efforts must be made to prevent further loss of innocent lives,” the post added.
“It’s a start”: WHO director says of agreement for up to 20 trucks of aid to enter Gaza
Getting aid into Gaza will be “an absolute marathon,” a regional representative for the World Health Organization said on Thursday following a deal made between US President Joe Biden and his Egyptian counterpart.
Speaking to CNN, Dr. Richard Brennan, the WHO’s Regional Emergency Director for the Eastern Mediterranean Region, stated there were “a lot of complexities to getting this aid operation going.”
On Wednesday, Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi agreed to open the Rafah crossing into Gaza for humanitarian aid, according to Biden.
“It’s a start,” Brennan said of the up to 20 trucks being allowed through under the initial agreement.
The aim is to get up to 100 trucks of aid distributed per day, Brennan added.
“This is not a sprint. This is just the start. This is a marathon. An absolute marathon,” he continued, adding, “We hope it’s not a non-starter.”
Brennan also noted that the need for aid has escalated as water shortages have impacted Gazans.
“We’re hearing figures now that suddenly people only have three liters of clean water per person per day,” said Brennan, adding that an “absolute minimum” was 15 liters for drinking, cooking and basic hygiene.
One in four Palestinians in Gaza taking refuge at UN facilities
More than 513,000 Palestinians are taking shelter at UN facilities across Gaza, a number roughly equal to one-quarter of Gaza’s population, according to the UN agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA).
UNRWA said that aside from overcrowding, one of the main issues they are facing is the lack of access to clean drinking water.
“If people do not die from Israeli Air Force strikes, they will die from pollution and the spread of infectious diseases,” UNRWA added.