Israel-Palestine conflict: Gaza Strip’s sole power plant shuts down as Israel cuts supplies

Palestinian group, Hamas, which runs the Gaza Strip, has announced the start of military the operation Al-Aqsa Flood against Israel. Thousands of rockets have been fired from the blockaded enclave towards the occupied territories as far away as Tel Aviv, killing over 1,200 Israelis, including both military and settlers. More than 1,100 Palestinians have been so far killed in an exchange of fire between the two sides.

IDF rules out “suspected infiltration” from Lebanon it reported earlier

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) issued an updated statement, ruling out a “suspected infiltration” into Israel from Lebanon “as of right now”.

There is no major security incident in northern Israel, IDF chief spokesperson Daniel Hagari stated at a press briefing on Wednesday.

This comes after the IDF earlier said a report was received regarding a suspected “infiltration from Lebanon into Israeli air space”. Sirens warning of incoming rocket fire were activated in most of northern Israel following the IDF’s warning.

“There was an error – whether technical or human error,” Hagari said at the press event.

Palestinian death toll in Gaza climbs to 1,100

The Palestinian death toll in Gaza rose to 1,100, the ministry of health in the besieged coastal enclave has said. At least 5,339 others have been injured.

The death toll in the West Bank rose to 27, the ministry added. At least 150 others have been injured.

Three Canadians killed in Israel: Minister

Three Canadians died in Israel over the weekend and three others remain missing, Canadian Foreign Minister Melanie Joly has stated.

Speaking at a news conference, Joly said that more than 4,700 Canadian citizens and permanent residents in Israel, Gaza and the West Bank had registered with the government.

At least 22 Americans have died in Israel: State Department

At least 22 US citizens have died in Israel, a State Department spokesperson said Wednesday.

“We extend our deepest condolences to the victims and to the families of all those affected,” the spokesperson stated.

This is an update from Tuesday when President Joe Biden had said at least 14 American citizens had died.

France says 10 citizens are dead and 18 others, including children, are missing in Israel

France believes several children are among the 18 French nationals missing after the Hamas attacks in Israel, and that they are likely being held hostage.

French officials are in “constant contact with the families,” of the missing, Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne said Wednesday, telling the senate that 10 French nationals were confirmed dead.

The president of the Senate Gerard Lacher compared the Hamas attacks to the 9/11 attacks, stating there will be “a before and after October 7.”

IDF says it received a report regarding a “suspected infiltration from Lebanon into Israeli air space”

A report was received regarding a suspected “infiltration from Lebanon into Israeli air space,” Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said Wednesday.

It did not provide further details and it was not clear whether the infiltration involved aircraft, drones, gliders, balloons or people.

It comes as sirens warning of incoming rocket fire have been activated in most of northern Israel.

People in Upper Galilee, in northern Israel near the border with Lebanon, have been ordered by the IDF to take cover in bomb shelters “against the backdrop of the concern of an aerial infiltration to the area,” the regional council said on its Facebook account on Wednesday.

The residents in the northern Israeli city of Haifa have been told to “immediately” enter a building, close and lock the doors and windows, and turn off the lights, Haifa municipality announced on Wednesday.

“Do not leave the building until you are notified the incident is over,” the municipality said on its Facebook page.

“Traffic in the area is prohibited and there is no access until further notice.”

No crashes have been detected or casualties reported so far in Israel’s territory following these reports, Israeli Air Force said on X, formerly known as Twitter.

“IDF forces are scanning the area from the ground and from the air,” it added, urging people to “continue to obey the instructions of the Home Front Command and act accordingly.”

Biden reiterates “unshakeable” US support for Israel

United States President Joe Biden said he is monitoring the situation in Israel “very closely”.

Speaking at a Rose Garden event on junk fees, Biden sought to balance his efforts to appeal to voters with kitchen table issues and his role as commander-in-chief during a crisis.

Biden stated he spoke Wednesday morning with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, adding that he would have more to say this afternoon as he attends an event with Jewish leaders. US Vice President Kamala Harris and Biden’s national security team were also involved in the call, he added.

“This attack has brought to the surface the painful memories and scars built by a millennium of antisemitism and genocide against the Jewish people. And in this moment, we have to be crystal clear: there is no justification for terrorism.”

Biden reiterated the “unshakeable” US commitment to the security and safety of Jewish people.

“The United States has your back and we’re going to be working on this all day and beyond,” he continued.

Biden administration is still unclear on the condition of Americans taken by Hamas

The Joe Biden administration still does not know anything about the condition of Americans taken hostage by Hamas, a US official told CNN Wednesday.

There are around 20 Americans currently unaccounted for, National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said Tuesday. But he stated the government does not know how many of them have been taken hostage by Hamas.

That number would be revised down if the person is confirmed dead, the US official added, and many of those 20 are expected to be dual Israeli-American citizens.

The US special operations forces that have been deployed to offer their expertise on hostage situations are not engaged in a mission to physically extract American hostages, the official continued.

The Biden administration is engaged in a cross-government effort to try to account for missing Americans in Israel and those who may have been taken hostage into Gaza.

A US official familiar with the efforts says the administration is working through phone calls coming into the US embassy in Israel, the FBI and the White House from family and friends of Americans believed to be missing. Those individuals are being directed to fill out an intake form, which launches a formal verification process by the State Department and FBI.

Some of these phone calls have been based on eyewitness accounts of people being taken by Hamas. But one challenge has been trying to verify second-hand accounts, the US official said.

The government has been in touch with the next-of-kin of any American they are aware of as being missing.

Israel preparing hospitals ahead of expected escalation of violence: Health ministry

Israel is readying its hospitals and health care system for “possible escalations in the security situation”, according to health officials.

The ministry of health is “facilitating the transfer of patients from the hospitals in the north of the country to hospitals in the center to allow preparedness of the hospitals in the north for any possible future escalations that may occur”, ministry of health spokesperson Shira Solomon said in a statement.

The move comes ahead of an expected ground incursion by the Israel Defense Forces into Gaza and attacks coming from within Lebanon and Syria.

NATO’s Secretary General says he expects Israel to respond proportionately to Hamas attack

NATO’s Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg stated that while Israel has the right to defend itself against attacks, he expects the response to Hamas’ weekend assault to be proportionate.

“(I) expect that of course when we see Israel responses it will be proportionate and it is important as this conflict continues to do whatever is possible to prevent the loss of innocent civilian lives”, he told reporters.

Rocket fire from Lebanon into Israel worrisome: White House

The United States is watching developments on the Lebanon-Israel border closely and does not want to see the conflict widened or expanded, says White House national security spokesman John Kirby.

“We have seen rocket fire coming from southern Lebanon … into northern Israel. We obviously are watching this with great concern. We don’t want to see this conflict widened or expanded,” Kirby stated in an interview with MSNBC.

He added that it is not in Israel’s interest to have a second front to fight and defend.

UN chief says concerned over reports of attacks from Lebanon

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has said he is concerned about reported attacks on Israel from southern Lebanon, calling on those involved to avoid a spillover of the conflict.

He spoke as Israeli officials suggested as many as 15 paragliders had entered airspace in northern Israel, although details of the apparent incursion were not immediately clear.

“I appeal to all parties, and those who have an influence over those parties, to avoid any further escalation and spillover,” he told reporters.

Guterres has called for the immediate allowance of humanitarian aid into Gaza.

“Crucial life saving supplies including fuel, food and water, must be allowed into Gaza. We need rapid and unimpeded humanitarian access, now.”

He added that 220,000 Palestinians are sheltering in 92 UNRWA facilities.

Israeli forces target Palestinian mourners at funerals in the West Bank

As Israel continues to bombard Gaza, violence has also erupted in the occupied West Bank, with 23 Palestinians killed by Israeli forces.

Israel has enforced a complete closure of the West Bank since hundreds of Palestinian fighters poured in from Gaza and killed around 1,200 Israelis.

Israeli soldiers have been storming neighbourhoods to suppress marches to denounce Israel’s attacks.

Eleven UN staff, five paramedics killed since Saturday

Eleven workers with the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) and five members of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) have been killed in the conflict, the aid groups say.

“We are very saddened to confirm that 11 UNRWA colleagues have been killed since 7 October in the Gaza Strip,” the UN agency announced in a statement.

Five worked as teachers at UNRWA schools, one was a gynecologist, one an engineer, one a psychological counselor and three were support staff, it added.

The IFRC said in a separate statement that five of its members – four in Gaza and one in Israel – had been killed.

IFRC added four Palestine Red Crescent paramedics were killed when their ambulances were hit in two incidents on Wednesday.

On Saturday, an ambulance driver for Magen David Adom, Israel’s national emergency service, lost his life while driving an ambulance to treat the injured, the IFRC noted.

Uprooting Hamas will deter fighters everywhere: Israel intelligence minister

Israel’s ongoing war with Hamas will stop armed groups and fighters from attempting to carry out attacks across the world, the country’s intelligence minister has told AFP news agency.

“We have to uproot it so it doesn’t happen, there won’t be any option, even a thought, to others in the world that they could use what happened [in Israel] as a model” for future attacks, Gila Gamliel said.

100 newborns, 1,100 dialysis patients face looming power outages in Gaza: Doctor

Speaking to Al Jazeera, Hassan Khalaf, the medical director of Al-Wafa Hospital in Gaza City, said hospitals in the besieged enclave are relying on generators, which are not equipped to power many medical devices.

He predicted the generators have only “maximum: a few days”, and may be as short as a day or two, amid dwindling fuel supplies resulting from the “complete siege” announced by Israeli Defence Minister Gallant.

Khalaf added there are currently 100 newborn babies relying on medical equipment currently in Gaza.

“These newborns, they could not survive … because they depend in every aspect of life on electricity and equipment,” he said, adding, “They are very tiny. They are very weak”.

The doctor also said there were about 1,100 patients who rely on dialysis machines for survival in Gaza, adding the Israeli siege amounts to “mass killing”.

UK foreign secretary scrambles for safety as raid sirens sound

British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly was seen running into a building in Israel as a siren sounded in a video clip posted on X by the Israeli foreign ministry.

The siren warned of incoming Hamas rocket fire and went off during his visit to Ofakim in southern Israel.

The UK, along with its Western allies, has expressed steadfast support for Israel and condemned the attacks by Hamas.

“I’m here in Israel today to show that the UK’s support for the Israeli people is unwavering,” Cleverly posted before the video was published.

Netanyahu and Gantz agree to form an emergency government

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and opposition MP Benny Gantz have agreed to form an emergency government, according to Israeli media.

A source in Netanyahu’s Likud party said that an agreement has been reached between Netanyahu and the leader of the National Unity party.

The source added that it was agreed in the security cabinet that Netanyahu, Defence Minister Yoav Gallant and Gantz will be part of the emergency government.

Israeli response to Hamas in Gaza a ‘massacre’: Erdogan

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said that Israel’s blockade and bombing of Gaza in retaliation for Hamas’s attack was a disproportionate response amounting to a “massacre”.

Erdogan stated even war had a “morality” but the flare-up since the weekend had “very severely” violated that.

“Preventing people meeting their most fundamental needs and bombing housing where civilians live – in short, conducting a conflict using every sort of shameful method – is not a war, it’s a massacre,” he added, referring to Israel cutting off electricity and water to Gaza and destroying infrastructure.

Erdogan criticised Israel’s “disproportionate” attacks on Gaza as “devoid of any ethical foundation”, and called on the world not to “blindly” take one side.

American death toll in Israel expected to rise: US State Department spokesperson

The number of Americans killed in Israel is expected to rise, State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller told CNN Wednesday.

“Every day we get new information. Look, there’s a list of Americans who we have confirmed dead. There are Americans who remain unaccounted for. I do expect that, unfortunately, that the list of Americans who are confirmed dead will rise today,” Miller said.

The US continues to work to find the Americans who are unaccounted for, he added, noting that “it’s a moving target all the time.”

US President Joe Biden stated on Tuesday that at least 14 Americans had been killed as a result of the Hamas attacks. National security adviser Jake Sullivan confirmed that “20 or more” Americans were unaccounted for as of Tuesday.

Gaza’s sole power plant now out of service

The Gaza Strip’s sole power plant is now out of service due to a lack of fuel, the energy authority announced on Wednesday.

“The only power plant in the Gaza Strip stopped functioning at 2:00pm (11:00 GMT),” the authority’s head Jalal Ismail said in a statement, having earlier warned that it was running short of fuel.

On Monday, Israel said it would impose a “total siege” on the besieged enclave, blocking food, water and fuel from coming in.

Gaza hospital will run out of fuel for generators on Thursday: Palestinian health ministry

Fuel used to operate generators in Gaza’s hospitals will run out on Thursday, the Palestinian health ministry in Gaza said, warning the lack of power could lead to “catastrophic” conditions, particularly with an anticipated electricity outage Wednesday.

Gaza’s Hamas-controlled government warned earlier Wednesday that electricity generaiton would “completely stop within hours,” limiting basic services.

“All basic services in Gaza depend on electricity, and it will not be possible to partially operate them with generators due to the prevention of fuel supplies through the Rafah gate,” the government media office announced in a statement.

Israeli Defense Ministry Yoav Gallant on Monday ordered a “complete siege” of Gaza, saying he would halt its supply of electricity, food, water and fuel following attacks by Hamas.

With conditions deteriorating amid Israel’s retaliatory airstrikes, a humanitarian crisis has already begun to unfold.

Nine UN staffers killed in Israeli bombing

UNRWA, the UN agency for Palestine refugees, confirmed nine UN staffers have been killed in the Israeli bombing of Gaza since Saturday.

“The protection of civilians is paramount, including in times of conflict. They should be protected in accordance with the laws of war,” director of communications Juliette Touma said.

Israeli army confirms they have no information confirming allegations that ‘Hamas beheaded babies’

An Israeli army spokesperson told Anadolu that they had no information confirming allegations that “Hamas beheaded babies”.

Many international media outlets alleged that Hamas had murdered 40 babies, following a tour in Israel with journalists and the Israeli army.

When Anadolu contacted the Israeli army spokesperson unit over the phone and asked about the allegations, she stated: “We have seen the news, but we do not have any details or confirmation about that.”

Palestinians report Israeli use of ‘white phosphorus’ in Gaza

Palestine’s foreign ministry has accused Israel of using banned white phosphorus during its bombardment of Gaza on Tuesday.

The incendiary weapon was reportedly used during attacks on the al-Karama complex, a collection of residential towers in northern Gaza, which housed hundreds of families.

“Israeli warplanes and artillery use internationally prohibited white phosphorus, destroying Al Karama neighborhood in the northwest of Gaza City with a continuous series of airstrikes,” the ministry wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter, on Tuesday night.

“There are casualties and wounded, while ambulances and civil defense vehicles are unable to reach the area due to the intensity of the airstrikes and the destruction of the leading roads,” the post continued.

UK foreign secretary arrives in Israel to show solidarity

UK Foreign Secretary James Cleverly arrived in Israel on Wednesday, a spokesperson for the British Foreign Office said, in an effort to “demonstrate the UK’s unwavering solidarity with the Israeli people following Hamas’ terrorist attacks.”

Cleverly “will be meeting survivors of the attacks and senior Israeli leaders to outline UK support for Israel’s right to defend itself,” the spokesperson added.

Israel says 300,000 reservists called up to fight are “close to Gaza Strip”

Israel has called up 300,000 reservists to fight for its military, Israel Defense Forces (IDF) spokesperson, Major Doron Spielman told CNN Wednesday.

“There’s not a family that does not have somebody that’s been called up. Or unfortunately, since we’re such a small country, a family that does not have friends, or loved ones that are still missing,” Spielman told CNN.

Spielman pointed towards reports indicating that the mobilization in Israel, which has a population of around 9.2 million people, was on the “scale of a major country” such as the United States.

He reiterated remarks made by the IDF’s Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi, stressing that Israel is “preparing for any scenario” as it continues to amass ground forces along its southern border.

In a press briefing Wednesday, another IDF spokesperson said its “mission” is “to make sure that Hamas at the end of this war won’t have any military capabilities by which they can threaten or kill Israeli civilians.”

“We have sent our infantry, armored soldiers, our artillery corps and many other soldiers from the reserves. 300,000 in numbers in different brigades,” IDF Spokesperson Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus noted.

“They are now close to the Gaza Strip,” he added.

Spielman also gave an update on the situation with hostages taken by Hamas, telling CNN that two major generals have been appointed to deal with the issue on an operational level.

Hamas fighters are holding as many as 150 people hostage in locations across Gaza, Israel’s ambassador to the United States said Monday. Hamas announced it would start executing civilian hostages if Israel targeted people in Gaza without warning.

“Obviously, the best situation would be if Hamas was to release those hostages and send them back to their loved ones who are waiting here in Israel. For us, it puts us in an incredibly difficult situation,” Spielman added.

Hamas says it ‘does not target children’

The Palestinian group Hamas has said it “does not target children”, adding that Western media should be accurate and “not blindly side with the Zionist narrative, which is full of lies and slander”.

In a statement, it announced the resistance and Al-Qassam Brigades targeted the “Zionist military and security system”.

“We… categorically affirm the falsehood of the fabricated allegations promoted by some Western media outlets, which unprofessionally adopt the Zionist narrative full of lies and slander against our Palestinian people and their resistance, the latest of which was the claim of killing children, beheading them, and targeting civilians,” it added.

Pope Francis calls for release of Hamas hostages

Pope Francis on Wednesday called on Hamas to release all hostages it captured during its unprecedented attacks on Israel.

“I pray for those families who have seen a day of celebration turned into a day of mourning and ask for the immediate release of the hostages,” the Pope said during Wednesday’s general audience in front of St. Peter’s Basilica.

Pope Francis went on to acknowledge Israel’s right to self-defense, saying, “It is the right of those who are attacked to defend themselves.” He also expressed concern for the “total siege facing the Palestinians in Gaza, where there have also been many innocent victims.”

He added: “Terrorism and extremism do not help to reach a solution to the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians, but fuel hatred, violence and revenge, causing suffering to both sides.”

The Pope’s comments come several days after he first addressed the conflict during his weekly Angelus prayer on Sunday, in which he pleaded for a halt to the attacks and fighting, adding, “War is a defeat, every war is always a defeat.”

Death toll in Gaza surpasses 1,000

The death toll in Gaza from Israeli attacks has risen to 1,055 while 5,184 people have been wounded, the Palestinian health ministry in Gaza has reported.

Palestine’s Ministry of Health added that 60 percent of the wounded are children and elderly.

At least 22,639 residential buildings and ten medical facilities have been destroyed by Israeli air strikes on the Gaza Strip, the Palestinian Foreign Ministry wrote on the X social network, previously known as Twitter.

According to the report, a total of 48 local schools have also been damaged.

Hospitals in Gaza operating ‘beyond their capacity’

Palestinian Minister of Health doctor Mai al Kaila stated that hospitals in Gaza are “working beyond their capacity to treat the wounded as a result of the occupation’s aggression, and as a result the hospitals in the Strip are out of service.”

She also warned against an impending “health disaster” as hospitals run out of fuel.

Doctors Without Borders, a humanitarian organisation called on medical facilities to be respected following Israel’s bombardment of Gaza last night.

“The situation in Gaza is catastrophic; the hospitals are overwhelmed. The number of wounded is extremely high – there is a constant influx into all the hospitals in the Gaza Strip. The medical teams are exhausted, working around the clock to treat the wounded,” Leo Cans, the head of their mission for Palestine said.

‘There is no safe place in Gaza’

Yousef Hammash, the advocacy officer for the humanitarian organisation the Norwegian Refugee Council is currently on the ground in Gaza, and says that there is “no safe place” left in the besieged enclave.

“This is Gaza City, which people used to consider safe, this is just to prove that there is no safe place left in Gaza,” he stated in the video, to a backdrop of complete destruction.

Much of Gaza has been reduced to apocalyptic scenes, with people on the ground questioning where survivors can flee too.

UN agency for Gaza has food and water supplies for 12 days

The UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees told Al Jazeera it has less than two weeks’ supply of food and water to assist the more than 180,000 people who have sought refuge in their schools in Gaza.

“We’ve got supplies for 12 days for food and water. Roads are blocked, we don’t have telephone lines, we have had networks hit by air strikes. It is really difficult for us to know what’s happening,” Jennifer Austin, deputy director of the agency, said.

“We are relying on our staff, who are themselves refugees, who are going out to provide a service. It is really unprecedented situation we are facing,” Austin added.

Gaza hospitals overwhelmed: Aid agency

Hospitals in Gaza are overwhelmed and experiencing shortages of drugs, medical supplies and electricity, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) warned on Wednesday, as a humanitarian crisis rapidly unfolds in the Palestinian enclave under Israeli bombardment.

Israel has stepped up its aerial offensive in Gaza, leaving hundreds of thousands displaced, many cut off from food and electricity.

In a statement, Avril Benoît, executive director of MSF-USA, said the aid agency — also known as Doctors Without Borders — was “seeing shortages of water, electricity, and fuel, which hospitals rely on for their generators.”

“Some hospitals only have enough fuel for four days,” she added.

An MSF clinic in Gaza City was “slightly damaged” by an explosion on Monday, but is still operational, Benoît said. A nurse and ambulance driver were killed in strikes, and several others were injured, she added.

The death toll in Gaza rose to 950 and 5,000 others have been wounded in the Israeli airstrikes, according to the Gaza Health Ministry on Wednesday.

MSF announced it does not currently operate medical programs in Israel but has offered its support to Israeli hospitals treating “a high number of casualties.”

Gaza death toll rises to 950: Health ministry

Nearly a thousand people have died in Gaza since Israel began airstrikes on the Palestinian enclave Saturday in response to Hamas’ attacks, the Gaza Ministry of Health said Wednesday.

Some 950 people have been killed and 5,000 others have been wounded in the strikes on Gaza, the ministry said.

Israeli defense minister Yoav Gallant on Monday ordered a “complete siege” of Gaza, and said he would halt the supply of electricity, food, water and fuel to the enclave.

The Hamas-controlled government in Gaza announced on Wednesday that electricity supply “will completely stop within hours,” limiting the ability to provide basic services.

Gaza is one of the most densely populated places on Earth, where some 2 million people live in an area of 140 square miles. More than half of its population lives in poverty and is food insecure, with nearly 80% relying on humanitarian assistance.

Over 263,000 people displaced in Gaza: UN agency

More than 263,000 people have been displaced in Gaza during ongoing Israeli airstrikes, with the number “expected to rise further,” the United Nations Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said early Wednesday.

The figure represents more than one in 10 of the population in the densely populated enclave.

Among those displaced, at least 175,486 people are seeking shelter in United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) schools, while about 3,000 people remain displaced due to previous escalations, OCHA said in its update.

It marks the highest number of internally displaced Palestinians since the 50-day escalation of hostilities in 2014, OCHA noted.

“This is increasing the caseload for humanitarian organizations to meet displaced people’s basic needs of shelter, bedding, food, water and sanitation facilities,” the UN agency added.

The Israeli airstrikes have targeted telecommunication installations, destroying two of the three main lines for mobile communications that has disrupted mobile and internet service, OCHA said.

Basic needs such as access to water have also become a challenge due to damage and the reduction in power supply to sewage infrastructure, OCHA announced. In Beit Lahia and northern areas, sewage and solid waste have accumulated in streets due to damage to sewage lines and infrastructure, it added.

The Hamas-controlled government in Gaza announced on Wednesday that electricity supply “will completely stop within hours,” limiting the ability to provide basic services.

A humanitarian crisis is swiftly unfolding in Gaza, as trapped residents, many cut off from food and electricity, face a fifth day of Israeli airstrikes in response to Hamas’ deadly attack on Israel.

More than half of its 2 million population lives in poverty and is food insecure, with nearly 80% relying on humanitarian assistance.

Israel death toll rises to 1,200: IDF

At least 1,200 people have died as a result of the Hamas attacks on Israel, IDF spokesperson Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus said in an update on Wednesday.

More than 900 people have died in Gaza since Israeli airstrikes began Saturday, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health.

Electricity will stop “within hours”: Gaza government

The electricity supply to Gaza “will completely stop within hours,” limiting the ability to provide basic services, the enclave’s Hamas-controlled government said on Wednesday.

Israeli forces have been hammering Gaza with airstrikes since Saturday, hitting hundreds of targets and reducing neighborhoods to rubble, following unprecedented Hamas attacks on Israel.

“All basic services in Gaza depend on electricity, and it will not be possible to partially operate them with generators due to the prevention of fuel supplies through the Rafah gate,” the Gaza government media office announced in a statement.

On Monday, Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant ordered a “complete siege” of Gaza, saying he would halt the supply of electricity, food, water and fuel to the Palestinian enclave following Hamas’ attack.

Gaza is one of the most densely populated places on Earth, where some 2 million people live in an area of 140 square miles. It has been almost completely cut off from the rest of the world for nearly 17 years. More than half of its population lives in poverty and is food insecure, with nearly 80% of its population relying on humanitarian assistance.

Ukraine accuses Russia of supporting Hamas operations

Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky has accused Russia of supporting Hamas in its conflict with Israel.

“We are certain that Russia is supporting, in one way or another, Hamas operations”, Zelensky said in an interview with the France 2 television channel.

“Russia is really trying to carry out destabilising actions all over the world.”

Zelenskyy added violence engulfing Israel and Gaza threatened to distract the focus from the war in his own country.

“There is a risk that international attention will turn away from Ukraine, and that will have consequences.”

The tragedies affecting Ukraine and Israel “are different but both are immense”, he stated.

At least 4 UN relief workers killed in air strikes in Gaza

Officials with the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) has said four of its employees have died as a result of air strikes on Gaza.

At least 14 of their facilities in Gaza have been damaged directly or indirectly, UNRWA Director of Communications Juliette Touma told United Nations news.

The agency has been unable to bring any aid into the Gaza Strip since Saturday, Touma added.

The UNRWA hosts 170,000 people in more than 80 schools and other facilities throughout Gaza. As schools reach their capacity, people have been forced to seek shelter in health care facilities, Touma said.

UNRWA headquarters were subjected to collateral damage on Tuesday morning due to airstrikes in the surrounding neighborhoods, she said. Some of UNRWA’s employees were taking shelter in the same compound in a nearby building during the strikes, she added.

Israeli broadcaster says death toll from Hamas attacks has grown to 1,200 people

At least 1,200 people have died as a result of the Hamas attacks on Israel, public broadcaster Kan reported early Wednesday.

On Tuesday, Israel’s Army Radio said at least 1,000 people had died after Hamas unleashed an unprecedented attack Saturday in Israel territory.

At least 20 Americans unaccounted for in Israel: White House

The Joe Biden administration believes there are “20 or more Americans” missing from Israel as of Tuesday, but that number does not necessarily reflect the number of hostages in Hamas custody at this time, White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan said.

“We do not know about their condition, and we cannot confirm a precise number of American citizens,” Sullivan said during Tuesday’s White House press briefing.

President Biden has confirmed that 14 Americans were among those killed during Hamas’ attack over the weekend and he said that US citizens are among those held hostage by Hamas in Gaza.

“We will work hour by hour, both to determine whether we can account for any of those Americans, or to confirm exactly what the number of Americans are being held hostage, and we will come back to you with that information as soon as we have it,” Sullivan added.

“As you know, very sadly and tragically, the number of dead has risen with each passing hour, and that’s true of the total number, it’s also true of Americans, which has gone up just today from an earlier report this morning of 12 and 13 — now 14.”

Sullivan declined to weigh in on the possibility of a ground incursion into Gaza and how that might affect American hostages.

“I’m not going to get into the operational discussions that the president and the prime minister had,” he stated, referring to a phone call between Biden and Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu.

“That is important for them to be able to keep in his discreet channel between them.”

White House National Security Council Coordinator for Strategic Communications John Kirby called on Hamas to release the hostages.

“They belong to be freed. We call on Hamas to release them now,” Kirby told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer.

“Short of that, we’re going to do everything we can to get them back with their families.”

Kirby said the US doesn’t have much information about the hostages right now, noting that an active war zone makes recovering them much more difficult.

The first step is communicating with the Israelis, he added.

“They’re on the ground, they’re closer to it, they have contacts that we probably could benefit from,” he said, adding, “We’re having active conversations with the Israelis about what they’re seeing, what they possibly know.”

Kirby acknowledged the Israelis are very good at hostage recovery but confirmed the US has offered members of the US military, law enforcement and intelligence community to help with the hostage situation.

Earlier, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin noted that the US has military special operators who “are going to help” the Israeli military “with intelligence and planning” for potential operations regarding hostages taken by Hamas.

First plane carrying US ammunition lands in Israel: IDF

The first supply of US weapons since Israel faced a devastating attack by Hamas arrived in Israel late Tuesday evening, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) announced in a statement.

“This evening a plane carrying advanced armaments landed at the Nevatim Airbase in southern Israel this evening,” the IDF said, adding, “The armaments are designed to facilitate significant military operations and increase preparedness for other scenarios.”

“We are grateful for the US backing and assistance to the IDF, and to the State of Israel in general, during this challenging period. Our common enemies know that the cooperation between our militaries is stronger than ever, and is a key part in ensuring regional security and stability,” the statement read.

Earlier Tuesday, President Joe Biden pledged that the US would make sure Israel has the tools it needs to defend itself and that it was surging military assistance to Israel.

Israeli DM: “Gaza will never return to what it was”

Israel’s defense minister said he has “released all restraints” on the Israel Defense Forces’ troops in their fight against Hamas.

“Whoever comes to decapitate, murder women, Holocaust survivors — we will eliminate him at the height of our power and without compromise,” Yoav Gallant told soldiers during an inspection of the front line along Israel’s border with the Gaza Strip on Tuesday.

“Hamas wanted a change in Gaza, it will change 180 degrees from what he thought. They will regret this moment. Gaza will never return to what it was,” Gallant stressed, calling Hamas the “Daesh of Gaza.”

“We will be back here, in Be’eri, in a few months, and the situation will be different. We will settle the kibbutz to the last meter, and what happened in Gaza will not happen,” Gallant added.

At least 21 people killed and 130 injured in the West Bank: Palestinian health ministry

The death toll in the West Bank since Saturday has now risen to 21 killed and 130 injured, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health in Ramallah.

The deaths occurred in clashes due to Israeli “aggression” and many of the victims were shot, the ministry added.

Clashes erupted in several parts of the occupied West Bank amid a closure that was imposed by the Israeli army following Hamas’ attack in southern Israel Saturday morning.

Gaza toll rises to 900 killed and 4,500 wounded: Palestinian health ministry

The death toll in Gaza has risen to 900, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health, with another 4,500 wounded since Israeli air raids began.

Those killed include 260 children and 230 women, the ministry added, including 22 families killed in their entirety.

Fifteen paramedics and 20 journalists have also been injured, the ministry said in a statement.

US secretary of state will travel to Israel in coming days

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken will travel to Israel in the coming days “to engage our Israeli partners directly about the situation on the ground” and to navigate how the US can continue to support them, State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller said Tuesday.

Blinken is expected to leave on Wednesday and will arrive in Israel Thursday, Miller added.

“The secretary looks forward to meeting with senior leaders in the Israeli government and continuing the discussions he and the president have been having with them since the initial attacks on Saturday,” Miller stated at a State Department briefing.

US engaged in contingency planning in case situation in Israel escalates

The US is engaged in contingency planning in the event the current conflict in Israel escalates, according to US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan.

President Joe Biden ordered the planning, which includes consulting with US allies.

The movement of a US carrier strike group to the Eastern Mediterranean is meant to deter other nations or groups from exploiting the situation.

“Let me be clear, we did not move the carrier for Hamas,” Sullivan told reporters at the White House.

“We moved the carrier to send a clear message of deterrence to other states or non-state actors that might seek to widen this war.”

“The president has also tasked us with engaging in contingency planning for any and all escalation scenarios,” Sullivan continued, adding, “And we are now deeply engaged in that planning. And we’re consulting with allies and partners as well about all of the potential scenarios that might unfold in the days ahead.”

US has enhanced “military force posture in region” to ensure deterrence: Biden

US President Joe Biden said Tuesday that the United States has “enhanced our military force posture in the region to strengthen our deterrence.”

“The Department of Defense has moved the USS Gerald R. Ford Carrier Strike Group to the eastern Mediterranean and bolstered our fighter aircraft presence. And we stand ready to move in additional assets as needed,” he stated.

Biden also warned any hostile parties against taking advantage of the situation in Israel.

“Our hearts may be broken, but our resolve is clear,” he continued, adding, “Yesterday, I also spoke with the leaders of France, Germany, Italy and UK to discuss the latest developments with our European allies and coordinate our united response.”

“This is not about party or politics”: Biden says about funding for US allies

President Joe Biden stated the US would ensure Israel has the tools it needs to defend itself against attacks from Hamas, saying a call for Congress to help fund the national security of America’s “critical partners” was “not about party or politics.”

“When Congress returns, we’re going to ask them to take urgent action to fund the national security requirements of our critical partners,” Biden said.

“This is not about party or politics. It’s about the security of our world, the security of the United States of America.”

Biden added his administration was “surging” additional military assistance to Israel, including ammunitions and interceptors that would replenish the Iron Dome.

“We’re going to make sure Israel does not run out of these critical assets to defend its cities and its citizens.”

Americans among hostages held by Hamas: Biden

US President Joe Biden said Tuesday that there are Americans among hostages taken by Hamas as part of the militant group’s attack on Israel.

“We now know that American citizens are among those being held by Hamas,” he stated.

Biden added that he has directed his team to “share intelligence and deploy additional experts from across the United States government to consult with and advise Israeli counterparts on hostage recovery efforts.”

“Because, as president, I have no higher priority than the safety of Americans being held hostage around the world,” he continued.

Biden confirmed there were at least 14 American citizens among those killed following the attacks by Hamas on Israel.

That’s a slight increase from the death toll on Monday, when there were 11 US citizens confirmed dead.

Israel has right to defend itself, but “collective punishment” of all Palestinians unfair: EU diplomat

Israel has the right to defend itself against Hamas attacks, but it has to do it in accordance with international law, the European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell stated Tuesday.

“A collective punishment against all Palestinians will be unfair and unproductive. It will be against our interest and against the interest of peace,” Borrell said after an informal meeting of EU foreign ministers in Muscat, Oman.

“Not all the Palestinian people are terrorists.”

While the EU considers Hamas a terrorist organization, the Palestinian Authority “is our partner,” Borrell added.

“Israel has the right to defend, but it has to be done accordingly with international law, humanitarian law, and some decisions are counter to international law,” he continued.

Any steps toward peace should be made “with the Palestinians,” otherwise “the cycle of violence will restart again,” he warned.

“Our will is to continue supporting the Palestinian Authority,” he said, discouraging the blockage of funding for Palestinians.

National security ministry will arm Israelis with 10,000 guns: Official

Far-right national security minister, Itamar Ben Gvir, has announced his ministry is buying 10,000 guns to arm “civilian security teams” across Israel and the occupied West Bank, the Times of Israel reported.

The report added the weapons, 4,000 of which have already been bought, will go to Israeli towns close to the borders, but also to illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank and to mixed Palestinian-Jewish cities inside Israel, like Haifa.

Ben-Gvir is a hardline Jewish settler who has past convictions for supporting terrorism and incitement against Palestinians.

“We will turn the world upside down so that towns are protected,” Ben Gvir was quoted as saying.

“I have given instructions for massively arming the civilian security team.”

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