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Israel-Hamas war Highlights: ‘Will target Hamas like human animals,’ says Israeli minister

Israel-Hamas war Highlights: The conflict began with a Hamas militant attack on October 7, prompting relentless Israeli retaliation.
Protesters during a rally for the release of hostages in Gaza held by Hamas operatives in the Times Square neighborhood of New York, US, on Thursday, Oct. 19, 2023.
Protesters during a rally for the release of hostages in Gaza held by Hamas operatives in the Times Square neighborhood of New York, US, on Thursday, Oct. 19, 2023.

Israel-Hamas war Highlights: On the 14th day of the Israel-Hamas conflict, airstrikes continued in Gaza, even in areas that Israel had declared as safe zones. The United States has reiterated its support for Israel and emphasised securing the release of hostages held by Hamas as a top priority. Meanwhile, Palestinians in Gaza were awaiting the emergency aid promised in a deal struck by US President Joe Biden. Israel maintained its bombardment of targets in the Hamas-controlled enclave....Read More

The Interior Ministry under Hamas reported casualties among displaced people who had sought shelter in a Gaza Strip church compound due to an Israeli strike on Thursday. Cargo planes delivered essential supplies like food, medicine, water purifiers, and hygiene products to Egypt's El Arish airport, with the opening of the Rafah border crossing into Gaza expected soon.

US State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller said in a press briefing that the United States is prepared not only to assist Israel in its efforts to counter Hamas but also to facilitate the delivery of humanitarian aid to Gaza.

President Joe Biden and US officials have said that US intelligence does not attribute the explosion at al-Ahli Hospital to an Israeli airstrike, reiterating this on Thursday.

The conflict began with a Hamas militant attack on October 7, prompting relentless Israeli retaliation. Israel claimed that at least 1,400 people, mostly civilians, were killed in the initial attack, with around 1,500 Islamist fighters killed in subsequent clashes. In response, Israeli bombings have led to casualties among Palestinians, with the Gaza health ministry reporting at least 3,785 deaths, primarily civilians.

Follow all the updates here:
Oct 21, 2023 4:25 AM IST

Two Americans held hostage by Hamas freed, govt to provide full support in recovery: Biden

Two American citizens held hostage by Hamas since October 7 have been released, US President Joe Biden announced Friday, assuring that his government would fully support the duo in their recovery and healing process.

Biden thanked the governments of Qatar and Israel for their partnership in securing the release of the two hostages -- a mother and her teenage daughter.

Oct 21, 2023 2:48 AM IST

Blinken calls on Hamas to free more US hostages after two released

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Friday voiced relief that Hamas has released two American hostages but said the militant group still holds up to 10 other US citizens among approximately 200 captives seized earlier this month.

Oct 21, 2023 1:30 AM IST

Biden says he thinks aid trucks will get through to Gaza within 2 days

U.S. President Joe Biden on Friday said he believed that trucks carrying aid will get through to Gaza in the next 24 to 48 hours, as he met with leaders from the European Union at the White House to discuss the war in the Middle East.

Oct 20, 2023 11:37 PM IST

Air Force Striking Hamas at 'Rate Not Seen in Decades': Israeli Spokesperson

The Israeli Air Force is striking Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip "at a rate not seen in decades," a military official said on Friday.

Speaking to reporters today, Israel Defense Forces spokesperson Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari said the air force was also preparing the way for the expected ground assault on the Hamas government in the Gaza Strip.

Oct 20, 2023 10:45 PM IST

Biden says Gaza aid likely to cross in 'next 24 to 48 hours'

US President Joe Biden said Friday he believed the first trucks carrying aid to Gaza would come through the Rafah crossing from Egypt within the next two days.

"I believe in the next 24 to 48 hours the first 20 trucks will come across the border," Biden said as he met European Union chiefs at the White House.

Biden said that he had a commitment from Israel and from Egypt's president to let the aid through but the "highway had to be repaved, and it was in very bad shape."


Oct 20, 2023 10:24 PM IST

Britain's Sunak meets Palestinian and Egyptian leaders in Cairo

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak met the leaders of Egypt and the Palestinian Authority in Cairo on Friday, agreeing with them on the need to let humanitarian aid into Gaza and avoid civilian casualties in Israel's war with Hamas.

Sunak met Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas as part of a diplomatic tour of the Middle East.

During the talks Sunak stressed the imperative of avoiding a wider regional conflict and preventing any further unnecessary loss of civilian life, his office said.

"We've also made good progress on tangible areas like ensuring access for humanitarian aid to those who need it," Sunak told broadcasters in Cairo.


Oct 20, 2023 10:07 PM IST

Israel-Hamas War LIVE: Germany sees over 1,100 offences linked to conflict

German police have recorded more than 1,100 offences in relation to the Israel-Gaza conflict since Hamas launched its deadly attack earlier this month, Interior Minister Nancy Faeser said Friday.

"These are preliminary figures... and investigations are underway everywhere," Faeser told journalists in a press conference at the Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA) in Wiesbaden.

Hamas militants stormed into Israel from the Gaza Strip on October 7, and killed at least 1,400 people, mostly civilians who were shot, mutilated or burnt to death on the first day of the raid, according to Israeli officials.

More than 4,100 Palestinians, mainly civilians, have been killed across the Gaza Strip in relentless Israeli bombardments in retaliation for the attacks by the Palestinian Islamist militant group, according to the latest toll from the Hamas health ministry in Gaza.


Oct 20, 2023 9:38 PM IST

Turkish President Erdogan urges Israel to stop attacks on Gaza 'amounting to genocide'

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan has called upon Israel to halt its actions in Gaza, which he characterized as a form of genocide. He has also urged the international community to facilitate a humanitarian ceasefire in the region.

Erdogan, in a message on the social messaging platform X, expressed concern that Israel's actions were not only escalating tensions but also involving non-regional entities. He emphasized the necessity of rescuing the region from what he termed the "frenzy of madness," which he believes is being encouraged by Western powers and media, Reuters reported.

Erdogan reiterated his appeal to Israeli leadership, emphasizing the importance of not expanding attacks on civilians and immediately terminating actions that he equates to genocide. He also noted that Ankara is actively working to prevent the conflict between Israeli and Palestinian forces from reaching a point of no return.

Oct 20, 2023 9:19 PM IST

Relatives of Israeli hostages urge Red Cross to aid in their release

Outside the Red Cross in Geneva on Friday, Assaf Shem Tov clutched a picture of his 21-year-old nephew who was abducted by Palestinian group Hamas and called on the international community to step up efforts to free Israeli hostages.

The nephew, Omer Shem Tov, was at a festival in Kibbutz Reim near the Gaza Strip when he was abducted. His family was told by authorities that he was in Gaza but have heard nothing since.

"I think that we need the Red Cross to first of all visit the hostages, make sure that they are well treated," he said.

"Make sure that they get human rights, and act as fast as possible for them to come back home."

Assaf Shem Tov and relatives of two other hostages were set to meet with Mirjana Spoljaric, head of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) which has offered to visit and help the hostages in any way and work towards their release.

"Any civilized country should put as much pressure as they can for the release of the hostages," said Michal Dorset, aunt of hostage Romi Gonen, who was abducted and taken to Gaza when trying to escape a nature festival.

"These are not military personnel. These are simple people that just went to enjoy themselves or live in that area."


Oct 20, 2023 9:09 PM IST

IDF conducts airstrikes targeting Hamas facilities in Gaza Strip

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) have launched a series of airstrikes against Hamas command centres, anti-tank guided missile launch sites, and underground infrastructure in the Gaza Strip since Friday morning, .

Additional airstrikes on sites affiliated with the terrorist group are currently in progress, as reported by the IDF.

IDF tweeted, “Since the morning the IDF has been attacking terrorist targets in the Gaza Strip, among the targets attacked were several operational headquarters, anti-tank launchers and underground infrastructure of the terrorist organization Hamas.”

Oct 20, 2023 8:52 PM IST

Canada committed to Israel-Palestine two-state solution: PM Justin Trudeau

Canada's commitment to a two-state solution for peace in the Middle East remains steadfast, reiterated Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Reuters reported.

He stated, "Canada remains firm and steadfast in our commitment to a two-state solution. The world and the region needs a peaceful, safe, prosperous, viable Palestinian state alongside a peaceful, prosperous, democratic, safe... Israel."

Oct 20, 2023 8:34 PM IST

Israeli Arabs face repercussions over online solidarity with Gaza

Arab citizens in Israel and Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem are facing repercussions, including arrests, job terminations, and dismissals, due to their social media expressions of solidarity with Gaza, Reuters reports.

These expressions of solidarity have been in response to the heavy bombardment of Gaza by Israel, resulting in a significant number of casualties, primarily civilians. This situation developed following an attack on October 7, where Hamas militants infiltrated southern Israel, leading to a large number of casualties, including civilians, on that day.

Oct 20, 2023 8:18 PM IST

IDF conducts drone strike on Lebanon border targeting terrorist cell

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) have reported a recent drone strike against a terrorist cell situated along the Lebanon border. Specific information regarding the cell's identity and the nature of their planned operation has not been disclosed at this time, Times of Israel report.

Additionally, the IDF notes that several anti-tank guided missiles were launched from Lebanon toward IDF outposts along the border. In response, IDF forces have initiated artillery shelling directed at the sources of the missile attacks.

Oct 20, 2023 8:09 PM IST

White House seeks $106 billion from Congress for Ukraine, Israel

The White House has submitted a request to Congress for an allocation of nearly $106 billion to support ambitious initiatives in Ukraine, Israel, and U.S. border security. However, the proposal does not include a specific strategy for securing the funds, considering the challenges presented by the current state of Congress, Reuters reported.

President Joe Biden's request for this funding comes shortly after his visit to Israel, where he expressed solidarity with the country during its conflict with Gaza, following an attack by Hamas militants that resulted in the death of 1,400 people in southern Israel.

By combining the funding for Israel with allocations for Ukraine, border security, refugee assistance, measures to address concerns related to China, and other contentious priorities, President Biden aims to create a national security spending bill that is deemed crucial and can garner support in the tumultuous House of Representatives. It's worth noting that the House has been without a leader for over two weeks since Republicans gained control last year.

Oct 20, 2023 7:37 PM IST

Russia gives advisory against travel to Israel, Lebanon

Russia on Friday advised its citizens against travelling to Israel, Lebanon, Jordan and the Palestinian territories amid flaring tensions over Israel's war with Hamas.

"The situation in the Middle East is heating up," Moscow's foreign ministry said. "The number of casualties and injuries is rising. Mass protests are taking place around the world."

"We strongly recommend that Russian citizens refrain from travelling to the region, especially to Israel, Lebanon, Jordan and the Palestinian territories," it warned.

Tensions in the region have escalated dramatically since Hamas militants stormed into Israel from the Gaza Strip on October 7.

Oct 20, 2023 7:20 PM IST

What does Nepal say about Israel-Hamas war?

The Nepal government on Friday urged for a "peaceful and negotiated settlement" of the Israel-Palestine issue as it condemned the attack on a hospital in Gaza in which hundreds of people were killed.

Around 500 people were reported to have been killed on Tuesday in the explosion at the al-Ahli Arab Hospital in Gaza, evoking strong international condemnation.

Palestinian authorities blamed Israeli air strikes for the explosion at the hospital, while Israel said it was caused by a misfired rocket launched from Gaza by militant group Palestinian Islamic Jihad.

Oct 20, 2023 6:54 PM IST

Thousands of Jordanians rally in Amman in support of Hamas

Chanting slogans that encouraged Islamist Hamas militants to escalate their attacks on Israel, a large gathering of Jordanians marched throughout the country, with over 6,000 participants taking part in a protest organized by opposition parties and tribal groups in downtown Amman, Reuters reported.

This demonstration reflects the heightened emotions in Jordan due to the ongoing escalation of violence between Palestinians and Israel.

Oct 20, 2023 6:32 PM IST

Saudi Arabia, UAE leaders meet amid Israel-Hamas war

The leaders of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates held a meeting on Friday, as reported by state media. This meeting comes as the two Gulf states are working to address their differences, especially in the context of the Israel-Hamas conflict, which has the potential to escalate and impact the entire Middle East, Reuters reported.

The encounter, which took place at Riyadh's airport, featured Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the de facto ruler of Saudi Arabia, welcoming UAE President Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan. Notably, public meetings between these leaders have been infrequent in recent years, as both countries have competed for investments and regional influence.

Oct 20, 2023 6:30 PM IST

‘Ready for anything’: IDF spokesperson at Gaza border

IDF spokesperson at Gaza border amid war with Hamas says,"...We are ready for anything...IDF is focused on a mission to ensure that Hamas leadership from top to bottom are unable to commit any more atrocities."

Oct 20, 2023 6:04 PM IST

Russia issues travel advisory for Israel, Lebanon, Jordan, and Palestinian Territories: Report

The Russian Foreign Ministry has issued a travel advisory for Israel, Lebanon, Jordan, and Palestinian territories, TASS reported.

Oct 20, 2023 5:45 PM IST

Sirens sound in Southern Modiin due to rockets

Rocket sirens wail in the small communities located in the Judean foothills region, to the south of Modiin, Times of Israel reported.

As of now, there have been no immediate reports of rocket impacts or interceptions.

Oct 20, 2023 5:31 PM IST

Israel-Hamas war LIVE | Cairo Peace Summit on Gaza conflict: Here are the attendees

Egypt is set to host an international conference on Saturday to address the escalating conflict between Israel and the Palestinian group Hamas in Gaza, Reuters reported. The Cairo Peace Summit will bring together several prominent leaders, including:

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, Bahraini King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, Kuwaiti Crown Prince Sheikh Meshal al-Ahmad al-Sabah, Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, Cypriot President Nikos Christodoulides, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock, French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna, Japanese Foreign Minister Yoko Kamikawa, British Foreign Minister James Cleverly, European Council President Charles Michel, and European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell.

Oct 20, 2023 5:20 PM IST

Lebanon MEA scale back flights following insurance coverage modifications

Middle East Airlines (MEA) in Lebanon will cut back on flights following alterations to its insurance coverage, as stated by Chairman Mohamad El-Hout in a televised interview on Friday. He further mentioned that, as of the coming week, only eight out of their 22 aircraft will be in operation due to the insurance adjustments, Reuters reported.

Oct 20, 2023 5:06 PM IST

Israel plans to end its responsibility for Gaza Strip: Defense Minister

Israel's Defense Minister Yoav Gallant outlined that one of the objectives of the military campaign in Gaza was to end Israel's responsibility over the Palestinian coastal enclave, Reuters reported.

During a briefing to the parliament's Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, he said, "The objectives of the campaign include eliminating Hamas, destroying its military and governing capabilities, completely relinquishing Israeli responsibility over the Gaza Strip, and establishing a new security reality in the region."

Oct 20, 2023 4:48 PM IST

Headquarters of Israel PM Netanyahu's party vandalized in Tel Aviv with fake blood

Overnight, a building in Tel Aviv, which serves as the headquarters for the ruling Likud party in the city, was defaced with fake blood. This act appears to convey a message holding the national leadership responsible for the casualties resulting from Hamas's attacks on October 7, Times of Israel reported.

At the entrance of the Metzudat Ze'ev office building, the display includes a collage of photos depicting hostages held in Gaza after the onslaught in southern Israel. Additionally, the photos of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have been covered with fake bloody handprints.

Police have initiated an investigation into the incident.

Oct 20, 2023 4:32 PM IST

Israeli Military says aircraft targets 3 Hezbollah fighters along Lebanon border

Israeli aircraft targetted three Hezbollah fighters along the Lebanon border, says Israeli Military, reports Reuters.

Oct 20, 2023 3:57 PM IST

Egypt needs support to handle fleeing Palestinians: EU president

European Council President Charles Michel, currently in Washington for a summit with US President Joe Biden and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, has announced his visit to Egypt on Saturday.

He emphasized the need for support for Egypt, a country bordering the war-torn Gaza Strip, saying, "Egypt needs support, so let's support Egypt." During his weekend visit, he will also meet with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.

Furthermore, at President Sisi's invitation, Michel will participate in a "conference on the current developments in the Middle East, Palestine, and the Peace Process," as confirmed by his spokesperson, Ecaterina Casinge.

Oct 20, 2023 3:41 PM IST

Israel-Hamas war LIVE: Strikes on Gaza and Hezbollah as Tensions Spread

Israel’s military said it struck Hamas targets in Gaza overnight and hit Hezbollah assets in response to fire from Lebanon, where the Iran-backed group is based.

There are fresh concerns that Israel’s war with Hamas will spark a bigger conflict in the energy-producing Middle East, after the US said its military bases in Iraq and Syria are increasingly under attack. An American destroyer also shot down cruise missiles and drones launched by Yemen-based Houthi militants toward Israel. Global stocks retreated and oil rose.

The Rafah border crossing between Gaza and Egypt remains closed, even as the US and Europe push for it to open to allow humanitarian aid into the territory. Hamas, designated a terrorist group by the US, has again called for a ‘Day of Rage’ on Friday, the most important day of prayer for Muslims.


Oct 20, 2023 3:24 PM IST

Israel-Hamas War LIVE: Greta Thunberg to protest in solidarity with Palestine and Gaza

Swedish climate change activist Greta Thunberg said on Twitter that she would protest in solidarity with Palestine and Gaza.

“Week 270. Today we strike in solidarity with Palestine and Gaza. The world needs to speak up and call for an immediate ceasefire, justice and freedom for Palestinians and all civilians affected.”

Oct 20, 2023 3:22 PM IST

Gunfire exchange and potential infiltration near Lebanon border

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) have reported gunfire directed towards the northern town of Margaliot along the Lebanon border, Times of Israel reported.

IDF units are conducting thorough scans of the area, with additional details yet to be provided.

According to reports from Hebrew-language media, there is a possibility that an armed individual may have crossed into Israeli territory.

In response to these developments, residents of neighboring towns have been advised to seek shelter in bomb shelters as a precaution, although many have already evacuated due to recurrent rocket and missile attacks from Lebanon.

Oct 20, 2023 2:56 PM IST

Israel-Hamas conflict puts global refugee resources at risk: UN official

"The conflict between Israel and Hamas may jeopardize already limited humanitarian resources needed in other parts of the world," warned Filippo Grandi, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, during a visit to Tokyo, Reuters reported.

He expressed concern that the war might escalate beyond Israel and Gaza, putting additional strain on countries like Lebanon and Egypt, which are already grappling with refugee crises.

Grandi emphasized that humanitarian resources are finite, and increased crises could result in "less resources for everybody."

Oct 20, 2023 2:40 PM IST

Rocket sirens wail in Ashdod, Ashkelon

Rocket sirens wail in Ashdod, Ashkelon, and surrounding localities.

As of now, there have been no immediate reports of rocket impacts or interceptions, Times of Israel reported.

Oct 20, 2023 2:24 PM IST

Entrance of aid to Gaza through Rafah to be determined: Israeli army spokesperson

The entrance of humanitarian aid to Gaza through the Rafah crossing is to be determined, says an Israeli army spokesperson, as per Reuters.

Oct 20, 2023 2:21 PM IST

Israel-Hamas war LIVE: China's Middle East envoy calls for Palestinian rights assurance

Zhai Jun, China's special envoy to the Middle East, attributed the Israel-Gaza crisis to the absence of guarantees for Palestinian rights. He emphasized the importance of increased coordination with Moscow during a meeting with his Russian counterpart in Qatar.

During the initial segment of his regional tour, the Chinese envoy arrived in Qatar on Thursday, where he reaffirmed China's alignment with Moscow in their joint endeavors to facilitate de-escalation in the Gaza crisis, AlJazeera reported.

Oct 20, 2023 2:17 PM IST

UN Refugee Chief warns of catastrophic consequences of military escalation in Gaza

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi, issued a stark warning on Friday, emphasizing that any further escalation or continuation of military activities in the Gaza Strip would be "catastrophic" for its residents, AFP reported.

Grandi, speaking to reporters in Japan, stressed that while the UNHCR does not have a formal mandate in the Palestinian Territories or Israel, he shares the deep concern expressed by many of his colleagues, including the UN Secretary-General, regarding the conflict.

Grandi also characterized the Hamas attacks in Israel on October 7 as "appalling" and cautioned that the potential spread of the conflict into Lebanon or other areas would have "incalculable" consequences.

Amid the ongoing crisis, international aid has been accumulating near Gaza, as the Palestinian population faces urgent needs for food and water.

Oct 20, 2023 2:00 PM IST

Israel-Hamas war LIVE: ‘Will target Hamas like human animals,’ says Israeli minister

Israeli Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Avi Dichter said on Friday that his country will target Hamas like ‘human animals’ during and after the war saying that the organisation have behaved like ‘animals’.

"You don't need justification to fight against an organization like Hamas that have behaved like animals hunting other animals. It's not going to be to be stopped and we are not going to take it as something that was done, and that's it. We are going to target those animals, human animals, whether during the war or after the war, nobody is going to escape," Dichter was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.

He further claimed that Hamas and its associates were responsible for the explosion at the Al Ahli Baptist Hospital in Gaza and highlighted that the incident happened the day when the US President was scheduled to land in Tel Aviv.

Oct 20, 2023 1:40 PM IST

Israel-Hamas war LIVE updates: Death toll in occupied West Bank rises to 13

The death toll resulting from an Israeli troops' operation in the occupied West Bank has reached 13, while the conflict continues along the Gaza strip, AFP reported quoting Palestinian health officials.

Since the eruption of the Gaza conflict on October 7, at least 81 Palestinians have been killed in the West Bank by Israeli troops or settlers, and one member of the Israeli security forces lost their life in the territory, the report further said.

"The Israeli occupation army committed a massacre from Nur Shams camp in Tulkarem during its attack yesterday, with the death toll reaching 13 martyrs, among them five children," the ministry said in a statement.

On Thursday, the Israeli military announced an airstrike that resulted in the death of "a number of terrorists" in Nur Shams. An army statement mentioned, "Exchanges of fire with armed gunmen, which included explosive devices being thrown at Israeli security forces, took place."

Oct 20, 2023 12:31 PM IST

Israel-Hamas war LIVE updates: Israeli defence minister says order to enter Palestine will be given soon, says report

Senior Israeli officials have discussed the possibility of launching a significant ground offensive into the Gaza Strip to eliminate Hamas, according to a Times of Israel report. Israel's Defense Minister Yoav Gallant told soldiers near Gaza that the order for entry into the Palestinian enclave would be issued “soon”. He stated, "You now see Gaza from a distance, soon you will see it from the inside... The order will come."

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also visited the frontlines, motivating a group of Golani soldiers near the Gaza border and expressing confidence in a major victory. He said, "We are going to win with all our might... All of Israel is behind you, and we are going to heavily strike our enemies so that we can achieve victory," as reported by The Times of Israel.

The head of the Israeli Defense Forces Southern Command, Major General Yaron Finkelman, anticipates that the expected ground offensive will be "long and intense."

Oct 20, 2023 12:14 PM IST

Israel-Hamas war LIVE: Aftermath of Israeli strike on a house in Gaza's Khan Younis shown in picture

A Palestinian boy walks with his belongings at the site of Israeli strikes on a house, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, in Khan Younis, southern Gaza Strip October 20, 2023.  (REUTERS)
A Palestinian boy walks with his belongings at the site of Israeli strikes on a house, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, in Khan Younis, southern Gaza Strip October 20, 2023. (REUTERS)
Oct 20, 2023 11:53 AM IST

Israel-Hamas war LIVE: UN experts condemn bombing of Gaza hospitals, schools; calls it crime against humanity

A collection of UN independent experts has asserted that the limited access to humanitarian aid in Gaza is leading to "crimes against humanity." In a press release, these experts have also expressed significant concerns of both humanitarian and legal nature regarding Israel's reinforcement of its 16-year-long blockade on Gaza. This blockade has been affecting the population's access to crucial resources such as food, fuel, water, electricity, and medicine, depriving 2.2 million people, as further indicated by the UN Human Rights Office in a press release on Thursday.

Oct 20, 2023 11:34 AM IST

Israel-Hamas war LIVE: Biden, First Lady Jill Biden meets family of Palestinian-American boy fatally stabbed in Illnois

US President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden have had a conversation with the family of a Palestinian-American boy who lost his life in a hate crime near Chicago this week. The White House issued a statement confirming that the Bidens expressed their condolences to the Alfayoumi family and offered prayers for the complete recovery of Wadea's mother. The conversation took place immediately after President Biden's rare Oval Office address to the nation over the ongoing Gaza conflict on Thursday.

Oct 20, 2023 11:05 AM IST

Israel-Hamas war LIVE: Britain PM Rishi Sunak to visit Egypt for Israel- Gaza talks

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is scheduled to visit Egypt on Friday as part of his Middle East tour, during which he aims to stress on the importance of preventing any escalation of violence in the region following the Hamas attack on Gaza.

In his visit to Jerusalem, Sunak aimed to express support for Israel and engage in negotiations to secure the release of hostages taken by Hamas, as well as to facilitate the provision of humanitarian aid to Gaza's residents.

During his meeting with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in Saudi Arabia, Sunak urged the Saudi leader to leverage the country's leadership role in the region to promote stability, highlighting concerns that the Hamas attack and Israel's response could potentially spark regional unrest.

In his discussions in Egypt, Sunak will emphasize "the imperative of avoiding regional escalation and preventing the further unnecessary loss of civilian life," as stated by his office.

(With Reuters inputs)

Oct 20, 2023 10:49 AM IST

Israel-Hamas war LIVE: Israel to evacuate border town with Lebanon

The Israeli Defense Ministry has issued a directive for the evacuation of Kiryat Shmona, a northern town located in proximity to the Lebanese border, Reuters reported. Kiryat Shmona, with a population exceeding 20,000, is situated approximately 2 kilometres from the border fence.

Oct 20, 2023 10:25 AM IST

Israel-Hamas war LIVE: Humanitarian aid stacks pile up at Egypt's border with Gaza

• Egypt's El Arish airport, located in the Sinai region bordered with Gaza, has been receiving an influx of aid, including food, medicines, water purifiers, hygiene products, and blankets. Due to the volume of aid deliveries, the airport has even opened an additional landing strip to handle the shipments.

• The Rafah border crossing into Gaza, which Egypt had promised to open, is situated a short distance to the east of El Arish airport. Rafah is the sole entry point into the blockaded Palestinian territory that is not under Israeli control.

• During a visit to Cairo, UN Chief Antonio Guterres emphasized the urgent need for "swift and unobstructed humanitarian access" in response to dire warnings regarding the impact of the sustained Israeli blockade on Gaza.

• Guterres highlighted that both the Rafah crossing and El Arish airport are not just critically important but also represent the only hope and lifelines for the people of Gaza.

Oct 20, 2023 10:05 AM IST

Israel-Hamas war LIVE: Here's a roundup of developments so far

•The Israel-Hamas conflict has reached its 14th day.

•In a rare Oval Office address, U.S. President Joe Biden called on Americans to allocate billions of dollars to support Israel in its fight against Hamas.

•Israel's defense chief instructed troops to be prepared for potential entry into the Gaza Strip with the aim of defeating the Palestinian militant group.

•The Pentagon reported an increase in drone attacks in Iraq and Syria.

•An American destroyer in the Red Sea intercepted cruise missiles and drones launched toward Israel.

•Three Palestinians, including two teenagers, were killed by Israeli forces in separate incidents in the occupied West Bank on Thursday.

•Israel has been conducting airstrikes on Gaza following an attack by Hamas militants on October 7, during which 1,400 Israelis were killed, and hostages were taken.

•In response to the conflict, Israel's Iron Dome anti-missile system has intercepted rockets fired from the Gaza Strip.

•Palestinian health officials estimate that around 3,500 people in Gaza have been killed, and over a million have been displaced.

•A siege imposed by Israel on Gaza has resulted in a dire humanitarian situation, with shortages of food, water, fuel, and medical supplies reported by civilians.

Oct 20, 2023 9:32 AM IST

Israel-Hamas war LIVE: Gaza's main hospital to have electricity for 24 more hours at most, says report

Gaza's primary medical facility, Al-Shifa Hospital, has only enough fuel to operate its generators for 24 hours, CNN reported citing Doctors Without Borders (MSF) on Thursday. Al Shifa hospital, where MSF has been providing care for burn patients for an extended period, is one of the few places in Gaza that still has electricity. Currently, it is also attending to patients from the recent hospital blast at Al Ahli Baptist Hospital, which occurred on Tuesday.

Thousands of Palestinians have sought refuge at Al-Shifa hospital, looking for a safe haven from the ongoing bombings, as mentioned by Thomas. MSF emphasised the urgency of getting hospitals fully operational again and stressed the need for regular ceasefires to ensure the delivery of fuel and medicine to medical facilities.

Oct 20, 2023 9:06 AM IST

Israel-Hamas war LIVE: kibbutz, intentional community in Israel shattered by Hamas attack

In the dawn attack by Hamas militants on October 7, an estimated 25% of an Israeli kibbutz near the Gaza border suffered damage. Nearly 400 residents were either killed, kidnapped, or went missing in the assault, which targeted Israeli communities and military posts.

According to Bahat, who is 57 years old, it's challenging to determine the final death toll because bodies are still being discovered, and some are waiting to be identified. He pointed out one specific home where the bodies of a woman and her grandson were recovered recently.

On the first day of the attack, Israeli officials report that at least 1,400 people were killed, the majority of whom were civilians, many of whom were shot, mutilated, or died in fires.

Israel states that about 1,500 Hamas fighters were killed in clashes before regaining control of the affected area.

Even nearly two weeks after the attack, the signs of the devastation are still evident. Laundry is still hanging on washing lines, and children's bicycles are strewn in gardens alongside the charred remnants of homes.

Kibbutz security chief Shachar Butler returned, in part to bury a close friend on Thursday afternoon.

(With AFP inputs)

Oct 20, 2023 8:34 AM IST

Israel-Hamas war LIVE: Tech Giants Intel, Siemens exit Web Summit over Israel remarks

Intel Corp. and Siemens AG have decided to withdraw from Web Summit, the largest technology conference in Europe, in response to critical comments made by the event's organiser regarding Western support for Israel following the Hamas attacks, Bloomberg reported.

Intel, the US chipmaker, confirmed on Thursday that it is pulling out of Web Summit. A representative for the company, which has well-established operations in Israel, declined to provide further comment.

Siemens, the German engineering and manufacturing company, was originally listed as a top sponsor for the upcoming summit in Lisbon. However, following a review of the situation, the company has chosen not to participate in or sponsor the event this year.

Oct 20, 2023 8:20 AM IST

Israel-Hamas war LIVE: Chinese Middle East envoy advocates Palestinian rights assurance

China's special envoy for the Middle East Zhai Jun attributed the Israel-Gaza crisis to the lack of guaranteed Palestinian rights during a meeting with his Russian counterpart in Qatar, which serves as a diplomatic intermediary in the Israel-Hamas conflict.

At the initial stop of his regional tour Zhai arrived in Qatar on Thursday, where he reiterated Beijing's alignment with Moscow in their joint efforts to de-escalate the Gaza crisis.

After meeting with Mikhail Bogdanov in Doha, Zhai stated that China and Russia hold identical positions on the Palestinian matter. This development followed Russian President Vladimir Putin's discussions with President Xi Jinping in Beijing, marking a rare meeting between the two leaders.

“The fundamental reason for the current situation in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is that the legitimate national rights of the Palestinian people have not been guaranteed,” Zhai said.

(With Reuters inputs)

Oct 20, 2023 8:06 AM IST

Israel-Hamas war LIVE updates: Gaza awaits much needed aid from Egypt

Israel pounded the Gaza Strip with airstrikes on Thursday, as the ground troops prepared to see Gaza “from the inside”. Gaza's overwhelmed hospitals tried to stretch out ebbing medical supplies and fuel for generators, as authorities worked out logistics for much needed aid delivery from Egypt.

Oct 20, 2023 7:43 AM IST

Israel-Hamas war LIVE updates: Hamas claims several dead in Israeli airstrike on church

The Hamas-controlled interior ministry said several displaced people who had taken shelter at a church compound in the Gaza Strip have been killed and injured after an Israeli strike late Thursday.

The strike left a "large number of martyrs and injured" at the compound of the Greek Orthodox Saint Porphyrius Church, the ministry said.

Witnesses said the strike damaged the facade of the church and caused an adjacent building to collapse, adding that many injured people were evacuated to hospital.

Saint Porphyrius is the oldest church still in use in Gaza and is located in the city's historic neighbourhood.

The Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem expressed its "strongest condemnation" of the strike at its church compound.

(With AFP inputs)

Oct 20, 2023 7:26 AM IST

Israel-Hamas war LIVE updates: Israeli defense chief hints at troops entering Gaza soon

Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant addressed troops stationed at the Gaza border on Thursday, indicating that they would ‘soon’ have a close view of the Palestinian enclave, implying a potential ground invasion with the objective of eradicating Hamas might be approaching, news agency Reuters reported.

Israel carried out additional airstrikes in Gaza on Thursday in response to the events of October 7 when Hamas militants killed 1,400 Israelis.

Israel has placed the 2.3 million residents of the Gaza Strip under a blockade and launched numerous strikes that have resulted in thousands of casualties and over a million people being displaced.

Gallant said, “You see Gaza now from a distance, you will soon see it from inside. The command will come.” However, troops were not expected to enter while foreign leaders were visiting.

Shortly after Gallant's statement, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu released a video of himself with troops near the border, pledging victory.

Oct 20, 2023 7:08 AM IST

Israel-Hamas war LIVE updates: China ready to coordinate with Russia to end Gaza conflict, says Report

China is ready to maintain communication and coordination with Russia to cool down the Israel-Palestinian conflict, its Middle East special envoy said after meeting with his Russian counterpart this week, Chinese state media reported, accroding to news agency Reuters.

Following a meeting with the Russian counterpart in Doha, Qatar, the envoy, Zhai Jun, said that China and Russia share the same stance on the Palestinian matter. He further said the root cause of the current situation in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is the absence of guaranteed legitimate national rights for the Palestinian people.

Zhai expressed China's concern about civilian casualties and the humanitarian crisis and affirmed China's willingness to contribute positively to the resumption of peace talks between Palestinians and Israelis, along with the genuine implementation of a two-state solution. He also noted that China holds no "selfish" interests in the Palestinian issue.

Oct 20, 2023 6:58 AM IST

Israel-Hamas war LIVE updates: Here's what Biden said in his latest address about the conflict

• In his Oval Office address on Thursday, US President Joe Biden called upon Americans to put aside "angry politics" and come together to provide military support for Israel and Ukraine, framing it as a civic duty to the world. He emphasised that the United States cannot afford to abandon these countries, asserting that the US remains a global protector of freedom.

• Regarding the threats posed by Hamas and Russian President Vladimir Putin, Biden remarked, "they represent different threats but they share this in common: they both want to completely annihilate a neighboring democracy."

• Biden underscored the significance of American leadership, alliances, and values, describing them as the foundation that holds the world together. He stressed that the United States is a beacon to the world.

• Biden further urged the US Congress to approve urgently needed military assistance for both Israel and Ukraine, emphasising that this aid would enhance US security for generations. "It is a smart investment that's going to pay dividends for American security for generations. (It'll) help us keep American troops out of harm's way. (It'll) help us build a world that is safer, more peaceful and more prosperous for our children and grandchildren," Biden said.

Oct 20, 2023 6:45 AM IST

Israel-Hamas war LIVE updates: Pentagon probes connection between Iran and Hamas

The Pentagon on Thursday said that the United States is currently in the process of evaluating the nature of the Hamas attacks that occurred in Israel on October 7. They also mentioned that, at this point, any potential connection between Iran and these attacks remains unclear.

"We're continuing to assess the nature of these attacks, and that's something that we will continue to look very closely...At this point, the information that we have does not show a direct connection to the Hamas attacks on October 7 as it relates to Iran...," Pentagon Press Secretary Air Force Brigadier General Pat Ryder said in a press briefing on Thursday.

"We do know, as you've heard others say, that Iran has a significant relationship with Hamas in terms of funding, training, and support and in that regard, they certainly bear some responsibility, but again, no direct linkage to these attacks. We'll continue to keep an eye on that," he added.

(With inputs from agencies)

Oct 20, 2023 6:30 AM IST

Israel-Hamas war LIVE updates: Rockets, drones hit Iraqi bases housing US forces

• Drones and rockets targeted the Ain al-Asad air base in western Iraq, which houses US and international forces, news agency Reuters reported. Multiple explosions were reported from within the base, according to two security sources. The Iraqi military responded by closing off the area around the base and initiating a search operation. The extent of casualties and damage resulting from the attacks was not yet clear, as per the sources.

• Additionally, Iraqi police reported that rockets struck another military base near Baghdad's international airport that hosts US forces, but further details were not provided.

• These recent incidents mark the fourth attack within a 24-hour period on Iraqi military bases hosting U.S. forces. On Wednesday, U.S. military forces in Iraq were targeted in two separate drone attacks, resulting in minor injuries to a small number of troops. However, the U.S. military successfully intercepted one of the armed drones.

• Iraqi armed groups aligned with Iran had threatened to launch missile and drone attacks on U.S. interests if the United States intervened in support of Israel against Hamas in Gaza.

Oct 20, 2023 6:14 AM IST

Israel-Hamas war LIVE updates: Biden stresses ‘need for united front against Hamas and Russia’

In the rare Oval Office address, US President Joe Biden said that Hamas and Russia are both out to "annihilate" democracies and made the case for assistance to Ukraine and Israel as a vital US interest.

Hamas and Russian President Vladimir Putin "represent different threats but they share this in common: they both want to completely annihilate a neighboring democracy," Biden said in the prime-time speech.

"It is a smart investment that's going to pay dividends for American security for generations," the 80-year-old Democrat said in just the second speech of his presidency delivered from behind the historic Resolute Desk.

"American leadership is what holds the world together. American alliances are what keep us, America, safe. American values are what make us a partner that other nations want to work with," he said.

"America is a beacon to the world. Still. Still," he said.

Oct 20, 2023 6:04 AM IST

Israel-Hamas war LIVE updates: ‘Support for Israel, Ukraine vital for US,’ says Biden in Oval Office address

US President Joe Biden said it is “vital for America's national security” for Israel and Ukraine to succeed in their wars, making the case Thursday night for deepening US involvement in a rare Oval Office, Associated Press reported.

Biden further said, “conflict and chaos could spread in other parts of the world,” if international aggression is allowed to continue.

“Hamas and Putin represent different threats," Biden said. "But they share this in common. They both want to completely annihilate a neighboring democracy.”

He announced his intention to request urgent funding from Congress, expected to be around $100 billion over the next year. This proposal, to be unveiled on Friday, will cover support for Ukraine, Israel, Taiwan, humanitarian aid, and border management.

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