Israel-Hamas war, Day 25 | Israel Army confirms refugee camp bombing to kill Hamas commander

In the Jabaliya refugee camp on Gaza City’s outskirts, at least six airstrikes destroyed a number of apartment blocks in a residential area, the Hamas-run Interior Ministry said. It reported a large number of casualties

Updated - November 03, 2023 09:19 am IST

Published - October 31, 2023 06:51 am IST

Palestinians look for survivors following Israeli airstrike in Nusseirat refugee camp, Gaza Strip, on October 31, 2023.

Palestinians look for survivors following Israeli airstrike in Nusseirat refugee camp, Gaza Strip, on October 31, 2023. | Photo Credit: AP

A flurry of Israeli airstrikes on Tuesday on a refugee camp near Gaza City levelled apartment buildings, leaving craters where they once stood, as ground troops battled Hamas militants across northern Gaza and attacked underground compounds.

Buoyed by the first successful rescue of a captive held by Hamas, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has rejected calls for a ceasefire and again vowed to crush Hamas’ ability to govern Gaza or threaten Israel following its October 7 attack.

The intensifying military operations have sharply heightened fears for the 2.4 million inhabitants of Gaza, where the Hamas-controlled Health Ministry says more than 8,500 have been killed.

Also Read | The Israel-Palestine conflict is at bend point

In the Jabaliya refugee camp on Gaza City’s outskirts, at least six airstrikes destroyed a number of apartment blocks in a residential area, the Hamas-run Interior Ministry said. It reported a large number of casualties but did not immediately provide details.

Also Read | Israel-Hamas war, Day 28 updates

Earlier on Monday, Israel expanded its military assault with columns of Israeli tanks and armoured bulldozers seen churning through the sand, and snipers taking positions inside emptied residential buildings, in footage released by the army. Air strikes also cratered the road and brought down buildings, residents said, before the tanks withdrew.

This live blog is closed.

  • November 01, 2023 04:57
    Blinken to visit Israel on Friday: US State Dept

    US Secretary of State Antony Blinken will begin a new trip to the Middle East on Friday, a spokesperson said, as Israel’s war against Hamas in response to the October 7 attack intensifies.

    “Secretary Blinken will travel to Israel on Friday for meetings with members of the Israeli government, and then will make other stops in the region,” State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller told reporters Tuesday.

    Israeli media had previously reported the visit, citing Israeli officials.


  • November 01, 2023 04:35
    Blinken says US, others exploring options for future of Gaza after Hamas

    The United States and other countries are looking at “a variety of possible permutations” for the future of the Gaza Strip if Hamas militants are removed from control, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Tuesday.

    Blinken told a Senate Appropriations Committee hearing the status quo of Palestinian Islamist group Hamas being in charge of the densely populated enclave could not continue, but Israel did not want to run Gaza either.

    Between those two positions were “a variety of possible permutations that we’re looking at very closely now, as are other countries,” Blinken said.


  • November 01, 2023 04:09
    Israeli airstrikes crush apartments in Gaza refugee camp, as ground troops battle Hamas militants

    A barrage of Israeli airstrikes leveled apartment buildings in a refugee camp near Gaza City on Tuesday, and footage showed rescuers pulling men, women and children out of the rubble. Israel said the strike destroyed a Hamas command center set up in civilian houses and a network of tunnels underneath.

    The toll from the strikes in the Jabaliya camp was not immediately known. The Israeli military said a large number of militants were killed, including the commander overseeing Hamas operations in northern Gaza.


  • November 01, 2023 01:43
    Amnesty International says Israeli forces wounded Lebanese civilians with white phosphorus

    The human rights group Amnesty International has said that civilians in southern Lebanon were injured this month when Israeli forces hit a border village with shells containing white phosphorus, a controversial incendiary munition.

    The organisation said it verified three other instances of Israel’s military dropping white phosphorus on Lebanese border areas in the past month, but Amnesty said it did not document any harm to civilians in those cases.

    Human rights advocates say the use of white phosphorus is illegal under international law when the white-hot chemical substance is fired into populated areas. It can set buildings on fire and burn human flesh down to the bone. Survivors are at risk of infections and organ or respiratory failure, even if their burns are small.


  • November 01, 2023 01:09
    Protesters pack out London station demanding Gaza ceasefire

    More than a hundred pro-Palestinian protesters gathered at London’s Liverpool Street station on Tuesday, hanging banners from balconies and occupying the main concourse while demanding a ceasefire in the Israel-Hamas conflict.

    Videos posted online by the ‘Sisters Uncut’ protest group showed a large group of demonstrators inside the station during rush hour, chanting and waving pro-Palestinian flags and banners.

    One video showed the group chanting “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free” - a chant which interior minister Suella Braverman has previously criticised as an antisemitic demand for the destruction of Israel. Other groups dispute that interpretation of the chant.


  • November 01, 2023 01:09
    Jacob Lew, former treasury secretary to Obama, confirmed as US ambassador to Israel

    The Senate has confirmed Jacob Lew as ambassador to Israel, filling the key diplomatic post as the country is fighting a war with Hamas.

    Mr. Lew, a treasury secretary under President Barack Obama, was confirmed 53-43.

    He has promised to stand side by side with Israel’s leaders as they respond to the militant group’s surprise attack on Oct 7, telling senators in his confirmation hearing earlier in October that “at this moment, there is no greater mission than to be asked to strengthen the ties between the United States and the state of Israel”.


  • November 01, 2023 00:57
    The FBI director warns about threats to Americans by those inspired by the Hamas attack on Israel

    FBI Director Christopher Wray warned on Tuesday that Hamas’ rampage inside Israel could inspire violence in the U.S., telling lawmakers that multiple foreign extremist groups have called for attacks against Americans and the West in recent weeks.

    “We assess that the actions of Hamas and its allies will serve as an inspiration the likes of which we haven’t seen since ISIS launched its so-called caliphate years ago,” Wray said, using an acronym for the Islamic State group.

    In his testimony before the Senate Homeland Security Committee, Wray gave his most detailed and ominous assessment of potential threats to the U.S. since the Oct. 7 attack by Hamas on Israeli soldiers and civilians.


  • November 01, 2023 00:43
    Yemen’s Houthi rebels claim attacks on Israel, drawing their main sponsor Iran closer to Hamas war

    Yemen’s Houthi rebels for the first time Tuesday claimed missile and drone attacks targeting Israel, drawing their main sponsor Iran closer into the ongoing Israel-Hamas war in the Gaza Strip and further raising the risks of a regional conflict erupting.

    The Houthis had been suspected of an attack earlier this month targeting Israel by sending missiles and drones over the crucial shipping lane of the Red Sea, an assault that saw the U.S. Navy shoot down the projectiles.

    This time on Tuesday, however, Israel said its own fighter jets and its new Arrow missile defense system shot down two salvos of incoming fire hours apart as it approached the country’s key Red Sea shipping port of Eilat.


  • November 01, 2023 00:42
    Israel army confirms refugee camp bombing to kill Hamas commander

    Israel’s military confirmed striking Gaza’s Jabaliya refugee camp Tuesday, saying the operation succeeded in killing a key Hamas commander linked to the October 7 attack on Israel by the Palestinian militant group.

    “His elimination was carried out as part of a wide-scale strike on terrorists and terror infrastructure belonging to the Central Jabaliya Battalion, which had taken control over civilian buildings in Gaza City,” the military said, referring to the targeting of Ibrahim Biari, the commander of Hamas’ Central Jabaliya Battalion.


  • October 31, 2023 23:37
    Hamas hostage relatives call for international help in Paris

    Relatives of those held hostage by Hamas on Tuesday called on French authorities and the international community to help secure their release.

    At a press conference organised by the Israeli Embassy in Paris, five people who have family members currently held in Gaza asked for international pressure to be put on Hamas and countries that host their members.

    “We expect the French government to support us (and) to pressure those countries and not to sit with those countries,” said Adva Gutman, a doctor whose sister, Tamar, 27, was taken hostage while attending a music festival in southern Israel.

    There are an estimated 220 hostages held by Hamas, of which at least six have French nationality, taken during the incursion into Israel by Hamas on Oct. 7, which killed 1400 people.


  • October 31, 2023 22:09
    Israeli airstrikes level apartments in Gaza refugee camp

    A flurry of Israeli airstrikes Tuesday on a refugee camp near Gaza City levelled apartment buildings, leaving craters where they once stood, as ground troops battled Hamas militants across northern Gaza and attacked underground compounds.

    Buoyed by the first successful rescue of a captive held by Hamas, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rejected calls for a ceasefire and again vowed to crush Hamas’ ability to govern Gaza or threaten Israel following its October 7 attack. - AP

  • October 31, 2023 21:15
    Putin seeking to ‘take advantage’ of Israel-Hamas war: Blinken

    U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Tuesday accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of trying to use the Israel-Hamas war in a bid to reduce Western support for Ukraine.

    “Putin is very much trying to take advantage of the Hamas attack on Israel in the hopes that it will distract us... and that it will result in the United States pulling back its resources” from Ukraine, Mr. Blinken told a Senate hearing. - AFP

  • October 31, 2023 19:16
    Yemen’s Huthi rebels vow more attacks on Israel: statement

    Yemen’s Iran-backed Huthi rebels Tuesday pledged more attacks against Israel if its war on Hamas in Gaza continues, saying it had already fired drones and ballistic missiles in three separate operations.

    “The Yemeni Armed Forces... confirm that they will continue to carry out qualitative strikes with missiles and drones until the Israeli aggression stops,” said a Huthi military statement aired on the rebels’ Al-Masirah TV. - AFP

  • October 31, 2023 19:15
    Iran says proxies won’t ‘remain silent’ on Israel-Hamas war

    Iran said on Tuesday it was “natural” for Tehran-backed groups to attack Israel in light of its war on Hamas, warning of a wider spillover if no ceasefire is reached.

    The remarks were made by Iran’s top diplomat Hossein Amir-Abdollahian in Qatar’s capital Doha where he met with Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani and his Qatari counterpart to discuss a push for a diplomatic breakthrough.

    “It is natural that the resistance groups and movements do not remain silent against all these crimes” committed by Israel, Amir-Abdollahian said in remarks relayed by Iran’s foreign ministry. - AFP

  • October 31, 2023 18:19
    Israel says used ‘Arrow’ aerial defense system for first time to intercept missile

    Israel’s military said on Tuesday it used the “Arrow” aerial defense system for the first time since the October 7 outbreak of the war with Hamas to intercept a surface-to-surface missile in the Red Sea fired towards its territory. - Reuters

  • October 31, 2023 18:18
    Israeli Army says engaged in ‘fierce battles’ with Hamas in Gaza

    Israeli forces were engaged in “fierce battles” with Hamas militants inside the Gaza Strip on Tuesday, the army said, as it continued to pummel the Palestinian territory with air and artillery strikes.

    Israeli forces are “engaged in fierce battles with Hamas terrorists deep inside the Gaza Strip,” the army said in a statement, adding that dozens of militants had been killed in the past few hours. - AFP

  • October 31, 2023 17:14
    Israel army says intercepted ‘missile’ from Red Sea region

    The Israeli military said on Tuesday its forces intercepted a missile fired from the Red Sea region, as tensions surge amid the war with Hamas in Gaza.

    “A surface-to-surface missile was fired toward Israeli territory from the area of the Red Sea and was successfully intercepted by the ‘Arrow’ aerial defence system,” the military said in a statement.

    - AFP

  • October 31, 2023 17:11
    Orthodox church condemns Israel for bombing its Gaza centre

    The Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem blamed Israel Tuesday for the overnight bombing of its cultural centre in Gaza City and condemned the “direct and unjustified attack”.

    “This attack represents a stark embodiment of Israel’s unwarranted determination to destroy the civil infrastructure and social service centres, as well as shelters for civilians trapped in the besieged enclave,” the church said in a statement, after an AFP journalist saw the bombed out property in Gaza.

    - AFP

  • October 31, 2023 16:44
    8,525 Palestinians killed in Israeli strikes on Gaza since Oct.7 - Palestinian health ministry

    At least 8,525 Palestinians, including 3,542 children, were killed in Israeli strikes on Gaza since Oct.7 , the health ministry in Gaza said on Tuesday.

    130 healthcare staff were killed, and 15 hospitals are now out of service along with 32 healthcare centres, health ministry spokesman, Ashraf Al-Qudra said.

    - Reuters

  • October 31, 2023 16:22
    Yemen’s Huthi rebels claim drone attack on Israel

    Yemen’s Iran-backed Huthi rebels fired drones towards Israel on Tuesday in retaliation for its war against Hamas, a senior official from the group told AFP.

    “These drones belong to the state of Yemen,” Abdelaziz bin Habtour, prime minister of the Huthi government, said when asked about the launch towards Eilat in southern Israel.

    The Huthis, who seized Yemen’s capital Sanaa in 2014 and control large swathes of the country, are “part of the axis of resistance” against Israel and are fighting with “words and drones”, he added.

    Israel’s military earlier reported a “hostile aircraft intrusion” that set off warning sirens in the area of Eilat, a resort town on the Red Sea.

    “There is no threat in this region and no danger,” Israeli military spokesman Daniel Hagari told a separate televised briefing.

    - AFP

  • October 31, 2023 16:16
    Israel demolishes West Bank home of Hamas deputy leader

    The Israeli army demolished the West Bank home of exiled Hamas number two Saleh al-Aruri with explosives on Tuesday as war raged with the Islamist group in Gaza.

    The Israeli military said forces entered the village of Arura, near Ramallah, and shot at people who were “hurling” rocks towards them during the demolition.

    Aruri is accused by Israel of masterminding numerous attacks. He was elected deputy to Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh in 2017, before being officially named the group’s number two.

    An AFP journalist saw the ruins of the house in Arura, where Aruri’s nephew said the move was meant to “intimidate” people.

    “And to distance people as much as possible from the resistance (to Israel), but these people are steadfast,” said Qutaiba Khasib.

    The Israeli military arrested around 20 people including a brother of Aruri and nine of his nephews, on October 21, village mayor Ali al-Khasib and witnesses told AFP.

    - AFP

  • October 31, 2023 15:58
    WHO warns of ‘imminent public health catastrophe’ in Gaza as services break down

    A World Health Organization official said on Tuesday that a “public health catastrophe” was imminent in Gaza amid overcrowding, mass displacement and damage to water and sanitation infrastructure.

    At the same press briefing, a spokesperson from the U.N. children’s agency warned of the risk of infant deaths due to dehydration with just 5% of normal water supplies available.

    - Reuters

  • October 31, 2023 15:45
    494 people have been killed in health attacks including 16 health workers on duty: WHO
  • October 31, 2023 15:27
    A war where humanity is on trial now | Sonia Gandhi’s op-ed on Israel-Hamas war

    The world was diminished by the brutal attacks on Israel; the world stands diminished again by Israel’s disproportionate and equally brutal response.

    Sonia Gandhi writes on the Israel-Hamas war. Read more here...

  • October 31, 2023 15:01
    Israel looks to Moldova for needed foreign labour during war

    Israel’s Housing Ministry said that next week, what it called a “significant step” to increase the number of foreign workers in Israel will be taken as a delegation from the Ministry will leave for Moldova in order to bring new workers to the country in an expedited manner.

    The Ministry said it will seek to bring 1,200 workers from Moldova. But first, the workers will be tested in the professions of ironwork, carpentry, plastering and flooring, and those who pass the tests successfully will enter Israel in the coming months to work in the construction industry.

    Israel is suffering from a labour shortage due to the “Iron Swords” War in Gaza as tens of thousands were called up for military reserve duty and many foreign workers left the country due to the crisis.

    Currently, the quota for foreign workers is 30,000, and subject to the utilization of 80% of this quota, it will be increased by another 20,000 workers in four steps, said the Ministry.

    In addition to this, the Ministry of Construction and Housing will streamline the allocation mechanism of the foreign construction companies, which has 12,000 employees, and increase them by another 3,000 employees.

    - ANI

  • October 31, 2023 14:31
    20 Sri Lankan nursing assistants arrive in Israel as need rises during war

    On Monday 20 nursing assistants from Sri Lanka landed in Israel to help fill a need for such professionals during the Iron Swords War in Gaza.

    The workers were welcomed by the representatives of the Population and Immigration Authority and they will be transferred to the nursing employers who are waiting for them. The Administration of Foreign Workers at the Population and Immigration Authority said that it is taking “great efforts” to allow the continued arrival of foreign workers in the various industries.

    - ANI

  • October 31, 2023 14:11
    Israel envoy wears yellow star at UN, drawing Yad Vashem criticism

    Israel’s United Nations ambassador displayed a yellow star on his chest Monday as he addressed the Security Council, provocatively pledging to wear the badge until members of the body condemn Hamas “atrocities”.

    His wearing of the badge, which has come to symbolise the oppression of Jews since its imposition in Nazi-occupied Europe, was swiftly criticised by Yad Vashem, Israel’s Holocaust memorial, which urged him to wear the Israeli flag instead.

    Israel’s envoy to the world body, Gilad Erdan, on Monday denounced the Security Council for “staying silent” over the unprecedented deadly attacks by Hamas Palestinian militants against Israel on October 7.

    “Some of you have learned nothing in the past 80 years,” he said. “Some of you have forgotten why this body was established.”

    Yad Vashem chairman Dani Dayan said he was “sorry to see” the move by the Israeli delegation in New York.

    “This act disgraces the victims of the Holocaust as well as the state of Israel,” Dayan said in a Hebrew-language post on X, formerly Twitter.

    “The yellow star symbolises the helplessness of the Jewish people and their being at the mercy of others. We now have an independent state and a strong army. We are the masters of our own fate. Today we will fasten to our lapel a blue and white flag, not a yellow star.”

    - AFP

  • October 31, 2023 13:49
    Kuwait condemns Israeli ‘aggression’ on Gaza, calls for ceasefire

    Kuwait’s crown prince Sheikh Meshal al-Ahmad al-Sabah said on Tuesday that his country condemns Israeli “aggression” on Gaza and called for a ceasefire.

    Al-Sabah was addressing the parliament on behalf of the Emir in the opening of the parliament regular second session.

    - Reuters

  • October 31, 2023 13:36
    Israel advances in Gaza as Netanyahu rejects cease-fire
  • October 31, 2023 13:07
    Drones target Iraq’s Ain al-Asad airbase, no casualties, damage

    Two armed drones targeted Iraq’s Ain al-Asad airbase, which hosts U.S forces and other international forces in western Iraq, a security source and a government source told Reuters on Tuesday.

    The attack in the early hours of Tuesday, did not cause casualties or damage, the sources said.

    There has been an increase in attacks on U.S. forces since the conflict in Israel broke out on Oct. 7 and Iraqi armed groups aligned with Iran threatened to target U.S. interests with missiles and drones if Washington intervened to support Israel against Hamas in Gaza.

    A group called the “Islamic resistance in Iraq” has endorsed Tuesday’s attack.

    On Monday, four Katyusha rockets were fired at Iraq’s Ain al-Asad air base but it was not clear if the attacks caused damage or casualties.

    - Reuters

  • October 31, 2023 12:44
    Israel warns of possible hostile aircraft near Red Sea city of Eilat

    Air raid sirens went off in the area of the Red Sea city of Eilat on Tuesday, and Israel’s military said the alert concerned a possible hostile aircraft intrusion.

    The military offered no further detail.

    - Reuters

  • October 31, 2023 12:12
    ICC lawyer warns over preventing aid getting to Gaza

    International Criminal Court prosecutor Karim Khan said Sunday preventing access to humanitarian could be a crime, after visiting Egypt’s Rafah crossing with Gaza, the main entry point for international aid.

    “Impeding relief supplies as provided by the Geneva conventions may constitute a crime within the court jurisdiction,” Mr. Khan told reporters in Cairo.

    He said he wanted “to underline clearly to Israel that there must be discernible efforts without further delay to make sure civilians” in the Hamas-run Palestinian territory “receive basic food, medicines”.

    Read more.
  • October 31, 2023 12:04
    Opinion | The Israel-Palestine conflict is at bend point

    It is important for India to take a stand not only against terrorism but also more forcefully against the human tragedy playing out in Gaza.

    Click here to read T.S. Tirumurti’s op-ed
  • October 31, 2023 11:41
    UNRWA head says 64 members of staff killed in 3 weeks

    Philippe Lazzarini, the commissioner-general of the UNRWA, said 64 of its staff have been killed in just over three weeks — the latest only two hours prior when UNRWA’s head of security in mid-Gaza was killed with his wife and eight children.


  • October 31, 2023 10:39
    A UN envoy says the Israel-Hamas war is spilling into Syria, which already has growing instability

    The Israel-Hamas war is spilling into Syria, fueled by growing instability, violence and a lack of progress toward a political solution to its 12-year conflict, the United Nations special envoy for the country said Monday.

    Geir Pedersen told the Security Council that, on top of violence from the Syrian conflict, the Syrian people now face “a terrifying prospect of a potential wider escalation” following Hamas’ Oct. 7 attacks on Israel and the ongoing retaliatory military action.

    “Spillover into Syria is not just a risk; it has already begun,” the UN envoy for Syria said.

    Mr. Pedersen pointed to airstrikes attributed to Israel hitting Syria’s airports in Aleppo and Damascus several times, and retaliation by the United States against what it said were multiple attacks on its forces “by groups that it claims are backed by Iran, including on Syrian territory.”

    With the region “at its most dangerous and tense,” he said, “fuel is being added to a tinderbox that was already beginning to ignite” in Syria, which was seeing a surge in violence even before Oct. 7.

    Mr. Pedersen said the number of Syrians killed, injured and displaced is at its highest since 2020, citing a significant intensification of attacks in government-controlled areas, including an unclaimed attack on a graduation ceremony at a military academy in Homs, which the government attributes to terrorist organisations.

    - AP

  • October 31, 2023 09:53
    Biden’s Cabinet secretaries will push a divided Congress to send aid to Israel and Ukraine

    Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Secretary of State Antony Blinken will make the case Tuesday that the United States should immediately send aid to Israel and Ukraine, testifying at a Senate hearing as the administration’s massive $105 billion emergency aid request for conflicts in those countries and others has already hit roadblocks in the divided Congress.

    President Joe Biden’s Cabinet secretaries will be advocating for the foreign aid to a mostly friendly audience in the Senate, where majority Democrats and many Republicans support tying aid for the two countries together. But it faces much deeper problems in the Republican-led House, where new Speaker Mike Johnson has proposed cutting out the Ukraine aid and focusing on Israel alone, and cutting money for the Internal Revenue Service to pay for it.

    - AP

  • October 31, 2023 09:45
    Thai FM travels to Qatar, Egypt for Hamas hostage talks

    Thailand’s Foreign Minister begins an urgent visit to Qatar and Egypt on Tuesday for talks on the fate of 22 Thais taken hostage by Hamas in its attack on Israel.

    Thailand’s Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin said Monday his government was working hard to get Thai citizens home.

    He has dispatched Foreign Minister Parnpree Bahiddha-Nukara to meet the Qatari prime minister and foreign minister on Tuesday, before talks with the Egyptian foreign minister on Wednesday.

    The Thai FM will “discuss the situation of Thai nationals being held hostage as a result of the ongoing violence in Israel and Gaza”, the Ministry said in a statement.

    About 30,000 Thais were working in Israel, many in the agricultural sector, when the conflict erupted. At least 32 Thais have been killed in the conflict and 19 wounded, according to the Ministry.

    “We are more like victims of the war,” the Thai PM had told reporters before a trip to neighbouring Laos on Monday. “We have been more affected because there are more workers from Thailand in Israel than from other countries.”

    - AFP

  • October 31, 2023 09:09
    Lost voice: The Hindu Editorial on India’s abstention on the Gaza vote at the UN

    India has explained its decision to abstain at last week’s vote at the UN General Assembly (UNGA) for a ceasefire in the Israel-Palestine conflict as its way of protesting the omission of any “explicit condemnation” of the heinous October 7 terror attack by Hamas militants on Israel.

    India’s principled stand on terrorism, which the Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN articulated, cannot be questioned. However, the death toll is rising and the need for global solidarity to stop the violence is imperative, a task that New Delhi, with its traditionally balanced position on the issue, and its recent G-20 role in bridging global divides, would have been well suited to play.

    Click here to read the full Editorial
  • October 31, 2023 08:48
    An Israeli Ministry, in a ‘concept paper,’ proposes transferring Gaza civilians to Egypt’s Sinai

    An Israeli government Ministry has drafted a wartime proposal to transfer the Gaza Strip’s 2.3 million people to Egypt’s Sinai peninsula, drawing condemnation from the Palestinians and worsening tensions with Cairo.

    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office played down the report compiled by the Intelligence Ministry as a hypothetical exercise — a “concept paper.” But its conclusions deepened long-standing Egyptian fears that Israel wants to make Gaza into Egypt’s problem, and revived for Palestinians memories of their greatest trauma — the uprooting of hundreds of thousands of people who fled or were forced from their homes during the fighting surrounding Israel’s creation in 1948.

    “We are against transfer to any place, in any form, and we consider it a red line that we will not allow to be crossed,” Nabil Abu Rudeineh, spokesman for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, said of the report. “What happened in 1948 will not be allowed to happen again.”

    A mass displacement, Abu Rudeineh said, would be “tantamount to declaring a new war.”

    - AP

  • October 31, 2023 08:14
    Flags and murals as Northern Ireland pick sides in Israel-Hamas war

    Northern Ireland may be thousands of miles from the Middle East but signs of the current heightened conflict can be seen on the streets of the British province.

    Palestinian and Israeli flags flutter in pro-Irish and pro-U.K. neighbourhoods in Northern Ireland, tapping into its own history of conflict and division that still affects everyday life despite a 1998 peace deal that largely ended violence.

    The growing number of flags displayed are supplemented by murals and graffiti showing support for either the Palestinians or Israel, depending on which side of Northern Ireland’s sectarian divide they are located.

    On the Falls Road, a main artery in the mostly pro-Irish western districts of Belfast, Pat Sheehan, a lawmaker with Sinn Fein, the former political wing of the paramilitary IRA, explained that local people feel “empathy” for Palestinians.

    “If there’s any nation that can understand the difficulties that the Palestinians are living under now it’s the Irish,” Sheehan told AFP in front of a freshly painted pro-Palestinian mural.

    “Ireland has suffered colonialism and occupation for 800 years, there have been many armed uprisings against British rule, and we see Palestinians suffering under similar colonial occupation.”

    Nearby, across a so-called peace line — one of many barriers of concrete and metal that still divide Belfast neighbourhoods 25 years after the Good Friday peace accords — Israeli flags now adorn the pro-UK Shankill Road area in response.

    “The unionist community in Northern Ireland has a long-standing affinity and affiliation to the cause of Israel,” said Brian Kingston, a lawmaker with the largest pro-UK party, the Democratic Unionist Party.

    “We see Israel as having suffered terribly from terrorism over the years just like we have,” said the bespectacled 57-year-old, who previously performed the largely ceremonial role of Lord Mayor of Belfast.

    - AFP

  • October 31, 2023 07:57
    Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister says humanitarian agreement is urgently needed help people in Gaza Strip

    Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Melanie Joly said that a humanitarian agreement is urgently needed to help people in the Gaza Strip.

    Speaking to the Economic Club of Canada, Ms. Joly called for a temporary pause in hostilities in the Israel-Hamas war to allow more aid to get into Gaza.

    “The humanitarian situation facing the Palestinian people, facing Palestinian women and children, is dire,” she said.

    Ms. Joly reiterated Canada’s unequivocal condemnation of Hamas for its attacks on Israelis and said Israel has a right to defend itself against terrorism “in accordance with international law.” She also criticised attacks by extremist Israelis on Palestinians in the West Bank.

    - AP

  • October 31, 2023 07:26
    Japan announces sanctions on Hamas-related individuals, company

    Japan has imposed a fresh set of sanctions on individuals and a company connected to the Gaza-based militant group Hamas, according to a statement released by the Japanese foreign ministry on Tuesday.

    The sanctions consist of freezing the assets of individuals and a company that have helped fund Hamas, and is in line with new sanctions announced by the United States government earlier this month. It is the first set of sanctions Japan has imposed on Hamas since its deadly rampage on Oct. 7 that Israeli authorities say killed over 1,400 people.

    Individuals including Hamas operatives Muhammad Ahmad ‘Abd Al-Dayim Nasrallah and Ayman Nofal were newly added to the list of people and organisations deemed as terrorists by Japan.

    - Reuters

  • October 31, 2023 07:23
    The Israel-Palestine conflict is at bend point

    It is important for India to take a stand not only against terrorism but also more forcefully against the human tragedy playing out in Gaza.

    Read more.
  • October 31, 2023 07:15
    Hamas says it fires on Israeli forces pressing ground assault

    Hamas said its militants in Gaza fired anti-tank missiles at Israel’s invading forces early on Tuesday and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu dismissed calls for a halt to fighting that has deepened the Palestinian enclave’s humanitarian crisis.

    The al-Qassam brigades, Hamas’ armed wing, said militants clashed early on Tuesday with Israeli forces “invading the southern Gaza axis, (including) with machine guns, and targeted four vehicles with al-Yassin 105 missiles,” referring to locally produced anti-tank missiles.

    The militants also targeted two Israeli tanks and bulldozers in northwest Gaza with the missiles, al-Qassam said.

    Reuters was not able to confirm the reports of fighting. Israel’s military had no immediate comment.

    - Reuters

  • October 31, 2023 07:01
    U.N. agency in Gaza says urgent ceasefire is ’matter of life and death’ for millions of Palestinians

    The head of the U.N. agency for Palestinian refugees told a U.N. emergency meeting on Monday “an immediate humanitarian ceasefire has become a matter of life and death for millions,” accusing Israel of “collective punishment” of Palestinians and the forced displacement of civilians.

    Philippe Lazzarini warned that a further breakdown of civil order following the looting of the agency’s warehouses by Palestinians searching for food and other aid “will make it extremely difficult, if not impossible, for the largest U.N. agency in Gaza to continue operating.”

    Briefings to the Security Council by Mr. Lazzarini, the head of the U.N. children’s agency UNICEF and a senior U.N. humanitarian official painted a dire picture of the catastrophic humanitarian situation in Gaza 23 days after Hamas’ surprise Oct. 7 attacks in Israel, and its ongoing retaliatory military action aimed at “obliterating” the militant group, which controls Gaza.

    According to the latest figures from Gaza’s Ministry of Health, more than 8,300 people have been killed – 66% of them women and children – and tens of thousands injured, the U.N. humanitarian office said.

    - AP

  • October 31, 2023 06:55
    Israeli tanks on Gaza highway

    The Hamas attack set off the bloodiest-ever Gaza war, marked by weeks of withering aerial bombardment and three continuous nights of ground operations centred on northern Gaza, which Israel has told civilians to evacuate.

    Columns of Israeli tanks and armoured bulldozers were seen churning through the sand, and snipers took positions inside emptied residential buildings, in footage released by the army.

    Dozens of tanks advanced for more than an hour into the southern fringes of Gaza City and blocked the main north-south highway, “firing at any vehicle that tries to go along it”, an eyewitness told AFP by phone.

    Air strikes also cratered the road and brought down buildings, residents said, before the tanks withdrew.

    The Israeli ground forces were supported by heavy fire from the air and artillery, with the army striking more than 600 targets within 24 hours, up from 450 reported by the military a day earlier.

    Hamas said it had fired anti-tank missiles at two Israeli armoured vehicles and that “blows delivered by the resistance have prevented” Israeli troops from establishing a presence in Gaza.

    The Israeli military also said a woman soldier was rescued from captivity after an operation in the Hamas-run territory.

    The release of Ori Megidish was “secured during a ground operation,” the army said, adding she had been “medically checked” and was “doing well”.

    - AFP

  • October 31, 2023 06:52
    Israel PM rejects Gaza ceasefire as ‘surrender to Hamas’

    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Monday a ceasefire in Israel’s war against Hamas “will not happen”, as the UN warned not enough aid was coming in to meet “unprecedented humanitarian needs”.

    In a briefing to foreign press, Mr. Netanyahu said a ceasefire would amount to surrendering to Hamas, whose gunmen killed 1,400 people and took more than 230 hostages, according to the latest Israeli figures.

    “Calls for a ceasefire are calls for Israel to surrender to Hamas, to surrender to terrorism... this will not happen,” he said, vowing Israel would “fight until this battle is won”.

    Israel ally the United States also objected to a ceasefire.

    “We do not believe that a ceasefire is the right answer right now,” National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said, adding that “pauses” to get aid into Gaza should be considered instead.

    - AFP

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