Brit in Gaza describes desperate scene at Rafah crossing
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has landed in Israel amid reports he wants to push Benjamin Netanyahu to protect civilians in Gaza.
Blinken, on his second trip to Israel in a month, is due to discuss with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu concrete steps to minimise harm to civilians in Gaza, where food, fuel, water and medicine are running out, buildings have been flattened, and thousands of people have fled homes to escape relentless bombings.
It came as Israeli forces surrounded Gaza City from several directions, after weeks of airstrikes followed by a ground invasion.
The Israeli military’s chief of staff, Herzi Halevy, said his forces were closing in on Gaza and “fighting in a built-up, dense, complex area.”
On Thursday, Israeli planes dropped leaflets warning with the message “time is up” warning residents to immediately evacuate Shati refugee camp, a densely built-up district on the Mediterranean coast bordering Gaza City’s center.
In a statement, prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu said: “We’re at the height of the battle. We’ve had impressive successes and have passed the outskirts of Gaza City. We are advancing,”
This comes as the death toll of Palestinians killed in Gaza by Israeli airstrikes rises to 9,061, according to the Hamas-led health ministry.
Among those killed include 3,760 children and 2,326 women while a further 32,000 have been injured, they said.
Show latest update
Live: Families of hostages held by Hamas in Gaza hold press conference
The families of hostages being held by Hamas in Gaza are pleading for their safe release in a press conference.
Emotional tributes and home videos of captured Israelis were played to reporters.
Barney Davis3 November 2023 09:22
Blinken and Netanyahu embrace as they meet ahead of Gaza talks
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is now holding a private meeting with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, at the Kirya in Tel Aviv. They will also meet with the members of the War Cabinet.
Blinken, on his second trip to Israel in a month, is due to discuss concrete steps to minimise harm to civilians in Gaza, where food, fuel, water and medicine are running out.
It came as The White House said any pauses in fighting should be temporary and localised. It has dismissed calls from Arab and several other nations for a full ceasefire in the war.
(Amos Ben-Gershom (GPO))
“When I see a Palestinian child – a boy, a girl – pulled from the rubble of a collapsed building, that hits me in the gut as much as seeing a child from Israel or anywhere else,” Blinken told reporters before leaving for Israel.
Allied militant groups Hamas and Islamic Jihad said their fighters had detonated explosive devices against advancing troops, dropped grenades from drones, and fired mortars and anti-tank rockets in fierce urban warfare around destroyed buildings.
Barney Davis3 November 2023 09:19
Former Gaza journalist confirms three neices killed in Israeli airstrike
Fares Akam, a former AP correspondent in Gaza, said he suffered 12 hours of uncertainty to find out four members of his family had been killed amid a media blackout.
He posted on X: “Bad news spreads fast, and it lingers even when we hope it’s not true.
“After 12 hours of uncertainty, the heartbreaking confirmation came: my three nieces and their father were lost in an Israeli airstrike on their #Gaza City home.
“May they rest in peace.”
It came as a Hamas commander has been killed in a joint operation, the Israel Defence Forces claimed.
In a statement on Telegram, the IDF said its fighter jets acted on “precise” intelligence and killed Mustafa Dalul, the commander of the Hamas Sabra Tel al-Hawa Battalion.
It claimed Dalul took a “central part in managing the combat against IDF troops in the Gaza Strip”.
“In recent years, Dalul held a number of positions in the Hamas battalion and brigade of Gaza City,” it added.
Barney Davis3 November 2023 08:55
Blinken arrives in Israel eyeing ‘endgame’ of Gaza coflict
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken has landed in Israel entering a diplomatic maelstrom as he seeks release of hostages and draws up plans for Gaza after end of war.
State Department spokesman Matthew Miller said Blinken would once again underscore the Biden administration’s support for Israel’s right to defend itself but also stress the importance of minimising civilian casualties and ensuring that humanitarian assistance reaches innocent Palestinians in Gaza.
Securing the release of hundreds of Israelis and others held hostage by Hamas in Gaza, easing the transit of dual Palestinian nationals and foreigners currently in Gaza into Egypt and preventing a broader regional war from erupting will also be key agenda items, Miller said.
At the same time, Blinken wants to begin a conversation with Israel and with Jordan about an end game for the Gaza conflict once it is over, Miller said.
To that end, Blinken will push Israeli officials on reigning in violence being committed by Israeli settlers against Palestinians in the West Bank and will be re-stating U.S. backing for the eventual establishment of a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza, he said.
Barney Davis3 November 2023 08:34
Palestinian march on Armistice Day ‘not appropriate’ – Top Tory says
Tens of thousands of protesters calling for an immediate ceasefire in Israel’s attacks on Gaza are planning a march through central London on November 11.
The demonstration could disrupt the two-minute silence commemorating the war dead and the Festival of Remembrance at the Royal Albert Hall usually attended by members of the royal family.
Security minister Tom Tugendhat said: “For me and fellow veterans, 11th of November is not just another day, it’s not just even a day of remembrance, it’s a day of grief.
“For many of us it’s a day when we remember friends who are not standing with us anymore, some who fell at the time and some who sadly have taken their own life since.
“It can be a very painful moment and I think that is why this is not an appropriate time, this is not an approprite venue for protest.
“It’s a time for us to come together and to remember all those who served our country with courage and distinction in many conflicts around the world and gave us the freedoms and liberties that we are lucky enough to enjoy today.”
Barney Davis3 November 2023 08:21
Burnley council leader calls for Sir Keir to step down as Labour leader over Gaza stance
The leader of Burnley council has called for Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer to resign after his decision not to back a ceasefire in Gaza.
Councillor Afrasiab Anwar told the BBC’s Today programme: “What we feel should be happening is that the leader of the opposition should in the least be applying pressure on the Prime Minister, on the Government, to call for a ceasefire and a release of all hostages.
He added: “The reason that a humanitarian pause is not good enough is because obviously the aid will get in but then the bombing, the attacks will start again. What we’re seeing is that these innocent civilians have got nowhere to escape to.
“The whole international community came out and said that Israel has the right to defend itself, just as any other nation does, but it’s got to be proportional and within international law.
“The number of lives that we’re seeing lost, the number of people, innocent civilians, who are losing their lives on both sides, we need to call it out and there needs to be a stop to it.
“What needs to happen is there needs to be a diplomatic solution.”
Barney Davis3 November 2023 08:00
‘They were eliminated’ Israeli soldier describes intense firefight with Hamas
The Israeli Defence Forces have released a video of a soldier describing the moment his unit was ambushed by Hamas fighters jumping out of tunnels to fire RPGs.
The IDF said soldiers from the Golani Brigade’s 13th Battalion and the Armored Corps’ 53rd Battalion clashed with fighters in Gaza overnight.
It came as the Palestinian death toll rose above 9,000. US and Arab leaders raised pressure on Israel to ease its siege of Gaza and at least briefly halt its attacks in order to aid civilians.
The aim would be to let in aid for Palestinians and let out more foreign nationals and wounded. Around 800 people left over the past two days.
Barney Davis3 November 2023 07:42
Eight Palestinians killed in the West Bank overnight- medical sources claim
Palestinian medical sources said on Friday that eight Palestinians were killed in separate incidents in the West Bank overnight.
One of them died of wounds from a previous incident, they said.
Barney Davis3 November 2023 07:27
Blinken lands in Israel
US secretary of state Antony Blinken has landed in Israel on his second visit to the country in a month’s time since the conflict between Israeli troops and Hamas militants broke out in the besieged Gaza Strip.
As Mr Blinken left Washington for the Middle East, he said he would discuss concrete steps to minimise harm to civilians in Gaza. The White House, meanwhile, said any pauses in fighting should be temporary and localised, and insisted they would not stop Israel defending itself.
Namita Singh3 November 2023 07:08
Israel’s troops in Gaza City as Netanyahu says his nation’s forces at ‘height of battle’
“We have advanced another significant stage in the war [with Hamas],” Lieutenant General Herzi Halevi, the Israeli army’s chief of staff, said. “The forces are in the heart of northern Gaza, operating in Gaza City, surrounding it, and deepening [the ground offensive].”
Echoing Lt Gen Halevi, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said troops were “at the height of the battle” with Hamas and were “advancing”.
“We’ve… passed the outskirts of Gaza City. We are advancing,” he said. Military officials had said that troops were conducting “face to face” battles with Hamas militants.
Israel has imposed a total siege and launched its heaviest bombardment ever on Gaza in retaliation for a bloody 7 October attack on southern Israel by Hamas militants who killed 1,400 people and took more than 200 people including British citizens, hostage.
Lydia Patrick3 November 2023 07:00