Amnesty verifies images of Israeli forces with ‘white phosphorus-based rounds’
Responding to the Israeli forces’ denial of using white phosphorus in the besieged Gaza Strip, Marija Ristic of Amnesty International says the organisation has verified images of Israeli forces on Monday “near Sderot with artillery shells labelled D528 – the US Department of Defense Identification Code for white phosphorus-based rounds”.
She added on X: “From Sderot, northern Gaza is within range.”
Delivery of aid to Gaza ‘must happen’: WHO
The World Health Organisation says the delivery of aid to Gaza “must happen”.
“Hospitals are overwhelmed, people cannot get treatment, kids with burns have no pain relief – it’s absolutely critical,” WHO spokesperson Margaret Harris told Al Jazeera.
WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom met with Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi on Thursday to discuss the opening of a humanitarian corridor to Gaza.
Egypt agreed to opening the border, Harris said, but “the other side” – meaning Israel – has yet to agree to the aid delivery.
International aid could be streamlined to get into Gaza quickly, preventing many avoidable deaths.
“The will to open that border is the thing that’s missing,” the spokesperson stated.
Israeli airstrikes kill 9 captives in past 24 hours: Hamas
Hamas’ armed wing, the al-Qassam Brigades, claimed on Saturday Israeli air raids have killed nine captives including four foreigners in the past 24 hours.
There was no immediate comment by Israel.
On Friday, Hamas had announced 13 captives, including foreigners, had been killed in Israeli attacks.
Gaza hospitals flooded with injured people as death toll climbs above 2,200, Palestinian officials
Injured persons are continuing to stream into hospitals in central Gaza as the Palestinian Ministry of Health announced Saturday that more than 2,200 civilians in the Gaza Strip have been killed in the hostilities.
The Palestinian Ministry of Health said 2,215 civilians, including 724 children and 458 women, have been killed since the conflict broke out one week ago.
The health ministry also added that 8,714 citizens have been injured in Gaza with varying degrees of injuries sustained. Among the injured are 2,450 children and 1,536 women.
UN warns situation in Gaza is “matter of life and death” as 2 million people risk running out of water
The United Nations has described the situation in the Gaza Strip as a matter of “life and death,” warning that the clean water supply for the 2 million people there is running dangerously low.
The UN also warned of increasing risks of waterborne diseases.
“It has become a matter of life and death. It is a must; fuel needs to be delivered now into Gaza to make water available for 2 million people,” Commissioner-General of the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) Phillippe Lazzarini said in a statement Saturday.
Lazzarini highlighted the devastating impact of the blockade on Gaza, which has received no fresh humanitarian aid for one week now.
“Clean water is running out in the Gaza Strip, after its water plant and public water networks stopped working. People are now forced to use dirty water from wells, increasing risks of waterborne diseases. Gaza has also been under an electricity blackout since 11 October, impacting the water supply,” the statement added.
The UNRWA was forced to move its central operations from Gaza City to a location in southern Gaza following the Israeli evacuation order issued Friday. The agency warned that water is now “also running out” at its new location, as thousands of displaced civilians from northern Gaza continue to arrive.
“Only in the past 12 hours, hundreds of thousands of people have been displaced. The exodus continues as people move to the southern parts of the Gaza Strip. Nearly 1 million people have been displaced in one week alone,” the statement said.
“We need to truck fuel into Gaza now. Fuel is the only way for people to have safe drinking water. If not, people will start dying of severe dehydration, among them young children, the elderly and women. Water is now the last remaining lifeline,” Lazzarini continued, adding, “I appeal for the siege on humanitarian assistance to be lifted now.”
Medical supplies and fuel running out in hospitals in Gaza
No aid has so far reached the 2.3 million residents of Gaza, as medical supplies and fuel to power hospitals are running out. Some 220,000 displaced people are sheltering in schools run by the UN agency for Palestine refugees, UNRWA.
Bassim Khoury, CEO of the Pharmacare Group, said Gaza has a few small factories producing medical supplies but that none of them were working.
“The situation for medicines is dire,” he told Al Jazeera, adding, “Unless we can push for humanitarian relief into Gaza, it will be a catastrophe.”
Khoury stated that his staff on the ground reported hospitals are facing a lack of fuel to power generators, including at Al-Shifa Hospital, Gaza’s largest. Heavy bombardment also meant that many generators were destroyed or damaged.
Saudi FM decries civilian casualties after meeting Blinken
Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan has decried civilian casualties after meeting Blinken.
“It’s a disturbing situation. It’s a very difficult situation. And, you know, the primary sufferers of this situation are civilians and civilian populations on both sides are being affected,” he said.
“The priority now needs to be to stop further civilian suffering, and here we need to find a way to quickly de-escalate the situation to quickly bring back peace – at least stopping the guns – and then working towards addressing also the humanitarian challenges.”
The US secretary of state, for his part, highlighted efforts to establish “safe areas” in Gaza as well as “a corridor so that humanitarian assistance can reach people who need it”.
“None of us want to see suffering by civilians on any side, whether it’s in Israel, whether it’s in Gaza, whether it’s anywhere else, and we’re working together to do our best to protect them,” Blinken added.
Lebanon to complain at UN over ‘deliberate killing’ of Reuters cameraman
Lebanon’s foreign ministry has said it will submit a formal complaint to the UN Security Council over what it called “Israel’s deliberate killing” of Issam Abdallah, a Lebanese national and Reuters cameraman, according to state media reports.
Abdallah was killed in southern Lebanon on Friday when Israeli fire in the direction of Lebanon struck a group of journalists, witnesses at the scene said. The witnesses said there was no military activity in the vicinity of the journalists.
Gaza health ministry demands opening of crossings to evacuate wounded, allow aid in
Dr Ashraf al-Qudra, spokesperson for the Ministry of Health in Gaza has issued a statement, saying that the Ministry of Health “urgently demands the opening of the crossings to take the sick and wounded out for treatment abroad and to bring its emergency needs of medicines, medical consumables and fuel to hospitals and medical centres in light of the power outage due to the Israeli aggression”
“We fear that thousands of wounded and sick people will lose their lives due to the catastrophic situation in the health sector, in addition to the huge depletion of health teams as a result of this brutal Zionist aggression against all health and humanitarian sectors,” he added.
UN says its shelters in Gaza are not safe any more
The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) has said its shelters in Gaza “are not safe anymore”, calling it “unprecedented”.
“Wars have rules. Civilians, hospitals, schools, clinics & UN premises cannot be a target,” the UNWRA announced in a statement.
“We are sparing no effort to advocate with parties to the conflicts to meet their obligations under international law to protect civilians including those seeking refuge in UNRWA shelters,” the UN agency added.
Israel gives Red Crescent until 4pm to evacuate al-Quds hospital
The Palestinian Red Crescent Society has received an order from Israeli forces with a new deadline to evacuate its al-Quds hospital in Gaza City by 13:00 GMT (4pm local time) on Saturday, according to a statement.
An initial deadline was given for 03:00 GMT (6am local) but was later extended.
However, the association said they cannot evacuate the hospital and it is obliged under a humanitarian mandate to continue providing services to the sick and wounded.
Overwhelmed Gaza hospital resorts to using ice cream trucks as morgues
A hospital in Gaza has been using ice cream trucks from local factories as makeshift morgues to supplement the overflowing hospital mortuaries.
Yasser Khatab, a forensic pathologist in al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital, said in a video message on Saturday that the Martyrs Hospital in Deir al Balah is unable to accommodate the increasing number of deceased.
Khatab added that some bodies remain stored for days before being collected.
Echoing a plea for assistance, the forensic pathologist stressed that Gaza was in crisis.
“Gaza needs relief aids,” Khatab stated, specifying the need for mortuary refrigerators and medical equipment as well as “coffins and equipment to deal with dead bodies.”
Staff at northern Gaza hospital refuse Israeli order to evacuate and stay with patients
Citing patients in serious conditions and a continuing need for healthcare, medical teams at a hospital in the northern Gaza Strip are refusing the Israeli army’s order to evacuate, according to the hospital’s chief of medicine.
“I got a call from the Israeli army Friday asking us to evacuate the hospital,” Ahmed Muhanna of al-Awda Hospital in Jabalia told Anadolu news agency.
“This is not possible.”
“Some patients were evacuated, but some other patients cannot be transferred due to their serious condition,” he stated, indicating that the hospital is providing intensive medical care for five patients.
“The hospital staff, including 35 doctors and medical aides, are determined to stay and provide healthcare to patients,” he added.
Earlier reports claimed the Israeli army gave the hospital just two hours to evacuate and then gave it more time, but the evacuation order remains in effect.
Israeli city of Sderot placed under red alert after Hamas fire rockets on Saturday morning
The city of Sderot in southern Israel was placed under red alert on Saturday morning after Hamas fired rockets on the city.
In a post on Telegram Saturday, Hamas’ al-Qassam Brigades stressed it had fired “rockets at the occupied city of Sderot.”
More than 1,300 buildings destroyed in Gaza: UN
More than 1,300 buildings in the Gaza Strip have been destroyed in the Israeli bombardment, according to the United Nations.
The world body’s humanitarian agency OCHA confirmed “5,540 housing units” in those buildings were destroyed and nearly 3,750 more homes were so badly damaged they were uninhabitable.
Israel says it killed fighters attempting ‘to infiltrate from Lebanon’
Israel’s army says it has killed three fighters trying to cross from southern Lebanon.
The military “identified a terrorist cell which attempted to infiltrate from Lebanon into Israeli territory,” the spokesman stated, adding that a drone strike “targeted the terrorist cell and killed a number of the terrorists”.
It would be the second infiltration attempt in two days along the Israel-Lebanon border, according to reports.
Israel says air raid killed top Hamas commander; no comment from group
The Israeli military claimed a senior military commander of Hamas who headed the group’s aerial operations in Gaza City has been killed in Israeli air raids.
Murad Abu Murad was killed over the past day when fighter jets struck an operational centre of Hamas from where the group carried out its “aerial activity”, the military noted.
There was no immediate comment from Hamas.
Palestinian death toll in occupied West Bank this week rises to 52
Israeli fire has killed at least 52 Palestinians in the occupied West Bank since Hamas’s attack on October 7, according to Palestinian health officials.
The latest casualty was a Palestinian killed by Israeli soldiers’ gunfire in the city of Jericho.
Mahmud Shahade, 27, was taken to Jericho State Hospital after being shot in the head but doctors could not save him, the health ministry added.
Israel tells Gaza residents to use two routes to evacuate south
The Israeli army says it will allow safe movement for Palestinians in Gaza to move from Beit Hanoon in the north to Khan Younis in the south between 10am and 4pm.
Spokesperson Avichay Adraee stated residents can travel on two designated streets: Al-Bahr and Salah al-Din, “without any harm”.
“If you care about yourself and your loved ones, go south as instructed,” he wrote in Arabic on X.
UN says order to evacuate 1.1 million people is “outrageous” and defies “rules of war and basic humanity”
The “order to evacuate 1.1 million people from northern Gaza defies the rules of war and basic humanity,” United Nations aid chief Martin Griffiths has said.
“Gaza is under intense bombardment. Roads and homes have been reduced to rubble. There is nowhere safe to go,” Griffiths said on X, formerly Twitter.
“Forcing scared and traumatized civilians, including women and children, to move from one densely populated area to another, without even a pause in the fighting and without humanitarian support, is dangerous and outrageous.”
He reiterated that “without safe passage and access to basic services, such mass displacement of civilians will have catastrophic humanitarian consequences and long-term implications.
Israel has ordered a “complete siege” of crowded Gaza — including halting supplies of electricity, food, water, and fuel — while also bombarding the densely populated territory in retaliation for Hamas’ October 7 attacks.
At least 1,900 Palestinians have been killed by near-constant shelling in Gaza, according to the Health Ministry, including journalists, medics and other civilians.
Prior to the evacuation warning, more than 400,000 Palestinians had been internally displaced, the UN said in a statement.
Borrell calls Israel’s Gaza clearance plan a ‘humanitarian crisis’
The European Union’s foreign policy chief says the Israeli military’s order for more than one million Palestinians to leave northern Gaza in a day was “utterly impossible to implement”.
“To imagine that you could move one million people in 24 hours in a situation like Gaza can only be a humanitarian crisis,” Josep Borrell told a press conference in Beijing on Saturday.
“I am saying that, representing the official position of the European Union, … [Israel’s evacuation plan] is utterly, utterly impossible to implement,” he added.
EU’s von der Leyen ‘stands by’ Israel, no mention of 24-hour Gaza expulsion
Following meetings with Israel’s leaders on Friday, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen made no mention of Israel’s bombing of Gaza, the military blockade of the besieged enclave where more than two million people live, or Israel’s 24-hour ultimatum for 1.1 million people to leave Gaza’s northern region.
In two statements following meetings with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Israel’s President Isaac Herzog, von der Leyen reiterated her strong support for Israel’s war on Hamas, which has involved the dropping of thousands of bombs on Gaza that have killed more than 1,900 Palestinians so far.
“The atrocious attacks from Hamas. These are acts of war. Therefore, Israel has the right to defend itself. And Israel even has the duty to defend and protect its people,” the commission president said after meeting Herzog.
Following her meeting with Netanyahu, von der Leyen stated that “Hamas alone is responsible for what is happening”.
“The horror that Hamas has unleashed is only bringing more suffering upon innocent Palestinians … And I know that how Israel responds will show that it is a democracy,” she added.
The World Health Organization and other United Nations bodies have joined a call for Israel’s military to rescind its order for all Palestinians to leave northern Gaza within 24 hours.
China says “Palestine is now in a critical situation”
China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi warned Friday that “Palestine is now in a critical situation,” and the ongoing conflict “has caused heavy civilian casualties.”
In a joint press conference with the European Union’s foreign policy chief Josep Borrell on Friday, China’s top diplomat reiterated that Beijing is on the side of “fairness and justice” in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Warning that the humanitarian situation for Palestinians “is rapidly deteriorating,” Wang said that China “condemns all acts that harm civilians and opposes any violation of international law.”
He also listed four priorities that China deems “pressing given the severity of the current situation.”
First, as per Wang, is the need to “stop the fighting as soon as possible” to avoid further deterioration of the situation.
Second is to adhere to international humanitarian law and prevent a severe disaster by opening “a humanitarian rescue and assistance passage as quickly as possible,” Wang added.
The third priority, according to the diplomat, is for the “relevant countries” to “exercise restraint, take an objective and just position, work for de-escalation of the conflict.”
The fourth priority listed by Wang suggested “the UN should play its due role” and build international consensus and “take real measures” to achieve the first three goals.
Wang said that “China is communicating with the relevant parties” and added that Beijing “will provide emergency humanitarian assistance to Gaza Strip and the Palestinian National Authority through the UN.”
He also added that “the injustice to Palestine has dragged on for over half a century,” and called to end it with “the two-state solution and an independent State of Palestine,” saying “This is how Palestine and Israel could coexist in peace.”
Saudi Arabia ‘categorically rejects’ targeting of civilians in Gaza: Report
Saudi Arabia “categorically rejects” the targeting of civilians in the ongoing Israeli bombardment in the Palestinian territory of Gaza, according to a news report.
Saudi Arabian Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud was quoted by the Saudi Post as telling his British counterpart, James Cleverly, in a phone call that Riyadh also wants “an immediate halt to the military escalation” and the lifting of the siege in Gaza.
The United Kingdom is one of the closest allies of Israel, playing a pivotal role in its creation as a state in 1948.
The top Saudi diplomat also “stressed the importance of implementing resolutions on the Palestinian issue” in accordance with the previous peace agreement.
Israeli military strikes Hezbollah target in southern Lebanon after infiltration and fire on IDF drone
The Israeli military announced it has struck a Hezbollah target in southern Lebanon after one of its drones was fired on.
The move came in response to “the infiltration of unidentified aerial objects into Israel and fire on an IDF UAV [unmanned aerial vehicle],” the Israeli military said in a statement Saturday morning local time, adding that it intercepted both the aerial objects and the fire.
In an earlier statement, the Israeli military claimed the “infiltration of an unidentified object” took place near the city of Shfar’am in northern Israel.
Muslim American leader to Biden: ‘You failed us’
Nihad Awad, the executive director of the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), has slammed US President Joe Biden, accusing him of failing to recognise Palestinians’ humanity.
“You are not helping,” Awad said on Friday, addressing Biden.
“You are, in fact, giving the green light for Israel to commit a genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity. You failed us as American citizens. You failed us as Palestinians. And you failed the world community.”
Awad also called on Biden to put an end to Israeli atrocities in Gaza.
“You have the ability and power to prevent a mass crime and genocide from happening,” he added.
Tens of thousands have fled since Israel’s evacuation warning
Tens of thousands of people left their homes in Gaza on Friday after Israel’s military warned over one million people living north of Wadi Gaza to move south, according to a statement by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) on Saturday.
Prior to the warning, more than 400,000 Palestinians had been internally displaced, the statement added.
Meanwhile, the World Food Programme (WFP) said it had distributed food to 135,000 people in shelters across Gaza on Friday, but warned “humanitarian supplies are running low.”
OCHA added that most people in Gaza now have no access to water.
“As a last resort, people are consuming brackish water from agricultural wells, triggering serious concerns about the spread of waterborne diseases,” it noted.
WHO warns Israel’s evacuation order for Gaza ‘death sentence’ for patients
Israel’s evacuation order for Gazans amounts to a “death sentence” for vulnerable hospital patients, the World Health Organization has warned.
WHO spokesperson Tarik Jasarevic said health authorities in Gaza have advised that it is impossible to evacuate vulnerable hospital patients within 24 hours as ordered by Israel’s military.
“There are severely ill people whose injuries mean their only chances of survival is being on life support, such as mechanical ventilators,” Jasarevic stated on Friday
“So moving those people is a death sentence. Asking health workers to do so is beyond cruel.”
Israel’s military on Thursday ordered 1.1 million Palestinians trapped in Gaza to move south within 24 hours ahead of an expected ground offensive on the enclave.
The United Nations has warned that the relocation of so many people is “impossible” and could have devastating consequences. The European Union’s top diplomat Josep Borrell has described Israel’s directive as “utterly unrealistic”.
Hamas, which runs the Gaza Stip, has told residents to ignore Israel’s order, describing it as “fake propaganda”.
The WHO has already warned that hospitals in Gaza are at “breaking point” and called for a humanitarian corridor to allow in health workers and facilitate the evacuation of the sick and injured.
Jasarevic said that hospitals have only a few hours of electricity each day and are being forced to rely on generators to power critical functions, with patients in intensive care units and newborns among the most vulnerable.
“Time is running out to prevent a humanitarian catastrophe, if fuel, water, food and life-saving health and humanitarian supplies cannot be urgently delivered to the Gaza Strip amidst the complete blockage,” he added.
Israel targeted medical personnel during humanitarian missions: Palestinian Health Ministry
The Palestinian Ministry of Health accused Israeli forces of the “targeting and killing of medical and ambulance personnel during their humanitarian missions to evacuate the victims of aggression.”
At least 15 health facilities were damaged and 23 ambulances were destroyed in airstrikes Friday, according to the Palestinian ministry.
A dramatic video posted on the ministry in Gaza’s Facebook page captured the moment an ambulance was rocked by an explosion as it attempted to flee a chaotic scene.
In the video, explosions are heard going off when the person recording jumps into an ambulance. Several people can be seen inside the ambulance, including a woman on a stretcher and a young girl by her side.
An explosion rocks the ambulance carrying the child and woman. The young girl screams in panic as another explosion goes off.
It is not clear what happened to the woman and child. The exact source and cause of the explosion was unclear.
“The Israeli violations against medical personnel, health institutions, and ambulance units are a blatant attack on the laws, conventions, and international norms that stipulate the protection of medical personnel and their facilities during times of conflicts and wars,” the Palestinian Ministry of Health said Friday in a statement.
The ministry also added that “thousands of displaced citizens are sleeping in hospital courtyards, facing the immense number of wounded individuals who are congesting the hospital corridors, putting immense pressure on the fragile healthcare system.”
The ministry went on to call for “immediate action to open a secure passage to ensure the arrival of medical supplies, fuel, delegations, ambulance vehicles, and allow the departure of hundreds of wounded and patients before it is too late.”
The ministry also accused Israeli forces of targeting people in Gaza as they were trying to evacuate their homes.
“The Israeli occupation deceived the citizens and forced them into forced displacement, then multiplied its crimes by targeting them this afternoon,” the health ministry noted.
“The world witnessed that all the victims of this targeting are entire families, including unborn children. Three ambulances were targeted, and 10 of their crews were injured during the evacuation of the wounded.”
A Russian diplomat circulating a draft resolution calling for a ceasefire in Israel and Gaza
Vassily Nebenzia, the permanent representative of Russia to the United Nations, is circulating a draft resolution at the UN Security Council which calls for a ceasefire in the “Israel-Gaza” war.
Nebenzia called for de-escalation in the conflict and said the resolution received a mixed reaction from the other 14 member countries.
When asked why the resolution doesn’t mention Hamas, the militant group that governs Gaza and staged the deadly October 7th attacks on Israel, the diplomat stated it’s because his proposal is a humanitarian resolution.
The envoy added his country condemns any violence against residents of Israel and Gaza.
Nebenzia said Israel has the right to defend its territory, but that the day-after-day shelling of Gaza by Israel recalls the siege of Leningrad during World War II. He also added Israel’s plan to move over a million people in northern Gaza to the south is similar to creating a ghetto.
Nebenzia blamed the US for over the years blocking action by the Quartet on the Middle East, which consists of United Nations, the European Union, the United States and Russia. The group was established in 2002 to help mediate the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.
Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday urged both sides in the fighting between Israel and Hamas to “minimize or reduce to zero” civilian casualties, and the foreign ministry in Moscow made similar calls for calm on Friday.
These comments come as Russia wages a ruthless war campaign against Ukraine and is being investigated by the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity. That case includes, among other things, allegations of targeting civilians.
Commentators on Russian state TV have mocked the US and Israel after the Hamas attack, and Putin has framed the assault as a failure of US policy in the Middle East.
Biden concerned about civilian deaths should ground invasion go forward in Gaza
When President Joe Biden was asked about what worried him about a ground invasion of Gaza, he had one word: “Death.”
Biden was speaking while greeting attendees following an economic speech in Philadelphia on Friday.
Earlier, the US president voiced concern about Palestinian civilians in Gaza, who he said were bearing the repercussions of “Hamas’s terror” in Israel.
“We can’t lose sight of the fact that the overwhelming majority of Palestinians had nothing to do with Hamas,” Biden said at the start of his speech.
“They’re suffering as a result as well,” Biden said, adding US officials were working with regional partners to alleviate the humanitarian crisis.
Palestinian envoy to UN outlines 3-point plan for end to “carnage against Palestinian people”
The Permanent Observer of Palestine to the United Nations outlined a three-point plan Friday aiming to bring an immediate end to violence against Palestinians after millions of Gaza residents have been warned to flee south and signs point to an Israeli ground investigation in the coming days.
“All of us are united to stop this carnage against the Palestinian people now,” Riyad Mansour said to reporters at the United Nations.
Mansour stated the plan includes establishing a ceasefire, allowing for humanitarian assistance to be delivered to Gazans in need, and ultimately denouncing and rejecting the idea of displacing 1.1 million Gazans from the northern part of the territory.
“We should not allow, as humans and also as defenders of international humanitarian law and as UN and as Security Council, to allow after 75 years of our first Nakba, another Nakba to befallen on our people by depopulating the Gaza Strip of its 2.3 million and to throw them outside to Egypt and to make it an Egyptian problem,” Mansour added.
The ambassador thanked Egypt for opening El Arish Airport to allow for humanitarian assistance and acknowledged the efforts of global leaders, including US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, to stop the war and prevent what he called the implementation of “ethnic cleansing” by displacing more than 2 million Palestinian civilians.
Mansour called on the Security Council to shoulder its responsibility toward the Palestinian people and to avoid further destruction and killing in Gaza.
Mansour compared the calls for Palestinians to leave Gaza to the “Nakba”, which means “catastrophe” or “disaster” in Arabic. The term is used to describe the expulsion and flight of 700,000 Palestinians from their homes in what is now Israel during the 1948 Arab-Israeli War.
The United Nations says that Palestinian refugees and their descendants, some of them forcibly displaced during the Nakba, now number 5 million people, many living in camps in neighboring countries.
Gaza death toll rises to 1,900: Palestinian health ministry
At least 1,900 people have been killed by Israeli strikes in Gaza, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health. The toll includes 614 children and 370 women, officials confirmed.
An additional 7,696 people have been wounded, according to the ministry.
Families of 120 people taken hostage by Hamas have been notified: IDF
The Israel Defense Forces has notified the families of 120 hostages taken captive during the Hamas attack, IDF spokesperson Daniel Hagari said on social media on Friday.
“I can’t imagine their pain,” Hagari stated.
The IDF announced it also informed 265 families who lost a loved one.
“This Friday you all feel the national tragedy, the uncertainties, and the terrible pain for those who are not sitting with us now,” Hagari added.
Hagari added that “hundreds of thousands” of forces had been mobilized along Israel’s borders.
“Some of them at this moment are actually fighting in the field, some are guarding military posts, some of them are taking off for another attack in Gaza,” he said.
“Situation in Gaza has reached a dangerous new low”: UN secretary-general
United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres said Friday that the situation in Gaza “has reached a dangerous new low” after Israel warned 1.1 million residents of northern Gaza to flee south following days of near-constant airstrikes on the embattled territory.
“The horrific terror attacks by Hamas on Israel that killed more than 1,200 people and injured thousands more last Saturday were followed by intense bombardment of Gaza that has already killed 1,800 people, and injured thousands more,” said Guterres to reporters ahead of a closed-door meeting with the Security Council on the Middle East and other matters Friday afternoon.
“After days of airstrikes, the Israeli Defense Forces have ordered the Palestinians in Gaza City and its surroundings to move to the south of the territory. Moving more than 1 million people across a densely populated warzone to a place with no food, water, or accommodation, when the entire territory is under siege, is extremely dangerous – and in some cases, simply not possible,” he added.
“Hospitals in the south of Gaza are already at capacity and will not be able to accept thousands of new patients from the north. The health system is on the brink of collapse. Morgues are overflowing; eleven healthcare staff have been killed while on duty; and there have been 34 attacks on health facilities in the past few days.”
The Secretary-General called for “immediate humanitarian access throughout Gaza, so that we can get fuel, food and water to everyone in need.”
“Even wars have rules,” Guterres said, adding, “International humanitarian law and human rights law must be respected and upheld; civilians must be protected and never used as shields.”
He also called for the immediate release of all hostages held in Gaza.
Israeli PM says “it’s only the beginning” after nearly a week of strikes on Gaza
After nearly a week of deadly airstrikes on Gaza, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned Friday: “It’s only the beginning.”
“Today we all understand that we fight for our house, our house for all of us and we are fighting like lions,” Netanyahu said.
“We will never forget the atrocities of our enemies we are not going to forgive and not going to let the world forget or anyone else of what happened to the Jewish people in the past. And in the last dozens of years, we are fighting our enemies forcefully and its only the beginning our enemies have only just going to start the pay the price.”
“I’m telling you it’s only the beginning, I’m not going to give you additional details, but it is only the beginning,” Netanyahu added.
Israel’s military on Thursday warned 1.1 million people living in northern Gaza to evacuate their homes, amid signs it is set to ramp up its retaliatory offensive against Hamas following the group’s October 7 attacks that killed more than 1,300 people.
For six days, Israeli warplanes have pounded Gaza with airstrikes that have reduced streets and homes to rubble and killed more than 1,799 people, including 583 children, and injured 7,388 others, according to the Palestinian health ministry.
Blinken says Israeli actions are not retaliatory but defensive
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken defended Israel’s military actions Friday, saying they were not retaliatory but rather defensive.
“No county can tolerate having a terrorist group come in, slaughter its people in the most unconscionable way, and live like that,” Blinken stated at a news conference.
“What Israel’s doing is not retaliation. What Israel is doing is defending the lives of its people and, as I said, trying to make sure that this cannot happen again.”
“I think any country faced with what Israel has suffered would likely do the same thing,” he added.
Israeli forces appear to be poised to launch a ground incursion into Gaza and have bombarded the Hamas-run enclave with air strikes in the wake of the attacks last weekend.
The US, Israel, and “many other countries in the region” are also thinking about “the day after and where this goes,” the top US diplomat said.
“One thing is for sure: We can’t go back to the status quo that allowed this to happen in the first place. So that has to be part of the thinking, and it is,” Blinken added.
Israel gave Gaza hospital 2 hours to evacuate with patients still being treated: Medical aid group
Israel has given Al Awda Hospital in Gaza just two hours to evacuate, according to Doctors Without Borders, also known as Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF).
The hospital, which is one of several that MSF supports in Gaza, was “still treating patients,” the medical aid group said.
“We unequivocally condemn this action, the continued indiscriminate bloodshed and attacks on health care in Gaza,” the organization added. “We are trying to protect our staff and patients.”
Earlier on Friday, MSF General Director Meinie Nicolai in a statement had criticized Israel’s call for 1.1 million people in northern Gaza to evacuate as “outrageous,” saying “this represents an attack on medical care and on humanity.”
“We have consistently seen dehumanizing language and this violence is a manifestation of that. We are talking about more than a million human beings. ‘Unprecedented’ doesn’t even cover the medical humanitarian impact of this,” Nicolai had stated, adding, “Gaza is being flattened, thousands of people are dying, this must stop now. We condemn Israel’s demand in the strongest possible terms.”
Amnesty International says Israel’s evacuation order for civilians in Gaza “must be rescinded immediately”
Amnesty International, a human rights watchdog group, said Friday that Israel’s warning to civilians in Gaza to evacuate towards the south “cannot be considered an effective warning,” and called for the order to be “rescinded immediately.”
The order “may amount to forced displacement of the civilian population, a violation of international humanitarian law,” Amnesty International announced in a statement.
On Friday, Israel Defense Forces called on all civilians of Gaza City to evacuate “southwards” without specifying a deadline. Earlier, the United Nations said the Israeli military told the UN just before midnight local time Thursday that “the entire population of Gaza north of Wadi Gaza should relocate to southern Gaza within the next 24 hours.”
Amnesty International called the 24-hour announcement an “impossible demand,” and added that “regardless of timeframe, Israel cannot treat northern Gaza as an open-fire zone based on having issued this order.”
“Their forces have an obligation to take all feasible precautions to minimize harm to civilians wherever they are in Gaza,” the statement added.
15 French citizens confirmed dead in Hamas attacks: Foreign minister
The number of French citizens confirmed dead following Hamas attacks in Israel has risen to 15, French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna told TV channel France 5 on Friday.
“I must tell you that a 15th person has been confirmed dead,” Colonna said, revising the number she announced earlier Friday morning.
The number is changing due to the ongoing victim identification process in Israel, she added.
UN secretary general urges Israel “to avert a human catastrophe”
The UN Secretary-General António Guterres has urged Israeli authorities to “avert a humanitarian catastrophe”, a spokesperson said after Israel’s military warned 1.1 million people living in northern Gaza to evacuate their homes.
“Since last night the secretary general and his team have been working the phones. He’s been in constant contact with Israeli authorities urging them to avert a humanitarian catastrophe,” said Stéphane Dujarric, spokesperson for the secretary general, in a briefing at the UN headquarters in New York on Friday.
“He’s also had phone contacts with permanent representatives here in New York and other officials in the region,” Dujarric added.
The UN on Thursday said it was informed by its liaison officers in the Israeli military that “the entire population of Gaza north of Wadi Gaza should relocate to southern Gaza within the next 24 hours.”
Dujarric reiterated an earlier statement from the UN that the evacuation is “impossible” and has urged the Israeli military to withdraw.
“We consider it is impossible for such a movement to take place without devastating humanitarian consequences and we strongly appeal for any such order to be rescinded, avoiding what could transform what is already a tragedy into a calamitous situation,” Dujarric stated.
Dujarric also called for the safety of civilians, humanitarian assistance for them and protection of UN facilities, saying they “must never come under attack in accordance with international humanitarian law.”
He added, “We must ensure the immediate and unconditional release of all hostages being held in Gaza and we need of course to avoid a spillover of this conflict to the West Bank and to the wider region.”
Israel did not consult with US before issuing Gaza evacuation warning: White House
Israel did not consult with the United States ahead of issuing an evacuation warning to more than a million civilians in northern Gaza, the White House said Friday.
“There was no prior consultation that I’m aware of before the IDF (Israel Defense Forces) issued that evacuation warning,” National Security Council coordinator for strategic communications John Kirby said.
The US is “concerned” about civilian losses as it works “aggressively” on safe passage options, he added.
“We want to make sure that those who want to leave have the ability to leave. And so we are working very aggressively with the Israelis and the Egyptians to try to find a safe passage out of southern Gaza. And we also want to preserve the ability to get humanitarian assistance in,” Kirby said.
He declined to provide details on the ongoing diplomatic conversations on those efforts.
Kirby later stated that the US is “routinely” talking to Israeli counterparts “about issues regarding the law of armed conflict and respect for human life.”
“That’s a conversation we have had and will continue to have with them,” he added.
Red Cross warns northern Gaza evacuation will have catastrophic humanitarian consequences
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has raised an alarm over the evacuation order in Gaza, warning of catastrophic humanitarian consequences, the organization said in a statement Friday.
With a military siege in place, humanitarian organizations, including the ICRC, face challenges in assisting the massive displacement of people in Gaza. Their Gaza City office received the same instructions to leave, as did other international organizations.
The ICRC emphasized that recent attacks in Israel should not justify the limitless destruction of Gaza, urging parties to adhere to legal obligations regarding warfare methods.
“The instructions issued by the Israeli authorities for the population of Gaza City to immediately leave their homes, coupled with the complete siege explicitly denying them food, water, and electricity, are not compatible with international humanitarian law,” ICRC said.
Given Gaza’s limited resources and closed space, the ICRC stressed that all civilians, including the elderly, disabled, and sick, must be protected.
The organization also highlighted the need to ensure that basic necessities are provided for displaced populations and to prevent family separations.
The ICRC is scaling up its relief efforts but called for pauses in fighting to operate safely and efficiently.
US defense secretary: “No time for neutrality, or for false equivalence”
A forceful US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin pledged unwavering US support to Israel in the wake of the deadly Hamas attack, stressing that “this is no time for neutrality, or for false equivalence or for excuses for the inexcusable.”
“In times like these, sometimes the best thing that a friend can do is just to show up and to get to work,” said Austin emphatically offering full US support to Israel at a joint news conference.
The defense secretary who is traveling to Israel today offered a soft reminder to the Israelis that “this is a time for resolve and not revenge” as the IDF is under scrutiny for causing civilian casualties in Gaza in response to the Hamas attack.
“Democracies like ours are stronger and more secure when we uphold the laws of war,” Austin added.
Austin also pledged continued US support with munitions. Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said Israel is expecting the second shipment of lethal military aid from the US today as Israel warns civilians to evacuate Gaza.
“US security assistance to Israel will flow in at the speed of war,” stated Austin.