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Live Updates | Israel OKs Limited Aid for Gaza as Regional Tensions Rise Following Hospital Blast

Thursday, 19 October 2023 05:01 AM EDT

Israel has agreed to allow Egypt to deliver limited humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip while the Israeli military keeps up its airstrikes on the Palestinian territory.

More than 1 million Palestinians, roughly half of Gaza’s population, have fled homes in the north and Gaza City after Israel told them evacuate. The airstrikes early Thursday continued across the entire territory, including in areas in the south that Israel had declared as “safe zones.”

The office of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Wednesday that limited humanitarian aid would be allowed into Gaza from Egypt following a request from U.S. President Joe Biden.

The war that began Oct. 7 after Hamas militants stormed into Israel and Israel vowed to destroy the militant group has become the deadliest of five Gaza wars for both sides. The Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry said Wednesday that 3,478 Palestinians have been killed and more than 12,000 injured in the past 11 days.

More than 1,400 people in Israel have been killed, An Israeli military spokesperson said Thursday that the families of 206 people believed to have been captured by Hamas and taken into Gaza had been notified.


1. Biden says the U.S. will provide $100 million in humanitarian assistance for Palestinians affected by conflict in Gaza and the West Bank.

2. Egypt and other Arab countries typically don’t want to take in Palestinian refugees.

3. Relatives of people taken hostage by Hamas militants tell their stories as they hope for their safe return.

4. The U.S. has vetoed a proposed U.N. resolution to condemn violence against civilians in the Israel-Hamas war.

5. Evidence shows Hamas militants likely used some North Korean weapons in attack

Here's what's happening in the latest Israel-Hamas war:

A doctor at a hospital in the southern Gaza Strip says at least 12 people were killed and 40 others wounded in an Israeli strike that hit a residential building in a densely populated neighborhood in the city of Khan Younis.

Dr. Mohammed Qandeel said the Nasser Hospital in Khan Younis received the patients on Thursday morning. The city is located within what Israel called a safe zone when it encouraged Gaza residents to evacuate the territory's north.

Emergency crews rushed to rescue survivors around a crater at least one floor deep where people were believed to be trapped. One rescued woman staggered unsteadily from the scene, screaming that God would take revenge against Israel.

A rescue worker rushed a small, ash-covered child toward an ambulance, according to an Associated Press journalist at the scene.

BERLIN – German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has demanded in a speech watched by relatives of some of the hostages held by Hamas for the militant group to free the captives.

In a speech to the German parliament, Scholz underlined Germany’s staunch support for Israel and renewed a warning that it “would be a serious mistake” for Hezbollah, Iran or their proxies to enter the war.

Scholz traveled to Israel and Egypt this week. He said Thursday: “One important task we all have is to free the hostages, the kidnapped. They most be released without preconditions.”

German officials say a “low two-digit number” of German-Israeli dual citizens are believed to be held in Gaza.

JERUSALEM — British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has arrived in Israel at the start of a two-day trip aimed at showing solidarity with the country and preventing the crisis triggered by Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack from escalating.

Sunak is holding talks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Isaac Herzog before traveling to other regional capitals.

After landing at Ben Gurion Airport, Sunak said the people of Israel had “suffered an unspeakable, horrific act of terrorism, and I want you to know that the United Kingdom and I stand with you.”

The U.K. is pushing for the opening of the Rafah border crossing between Gaza and Egypt to allow aid to get in and foreign nationals to leave. After a visit by U.S. President Joe Biden on Wednesday, Israel said it had agreed to allow limited humanitarian aid into Gaza, and Biden said Egypt had agreed to open the crossing to up to 20 trucks.

Sunak said before leaving for the Middle East that an explosion at the al-Ahli hospital in Gaza on Tuesday, which appears to have killed hundreds, “should be a watershed moment” for world leaders to unite and prevent escalation of the conflict.

British authorities have not said who they believe was responsible for the blast.

COPENHAGEN, Denmark — Norway and Sweden have advised their citizens against all travel to Lebanon until further notice.

Norwegian Foreign Minister Espen Barth Eide said Thursday that Norway revised its travel guidance “due to the serious security situation in the region. There are daily military actions on the border between Lebanon and Israel."

He noted that there are still flights from Beirut but “at short notice, it may become even more difficult to leave Lebanon.”

Sweden updated its travel advisory for Lebanon late Wednesday.

CANBERRA, Australia — Australian government minister Ed Husic has accused Israel of collectively punishing Palestinians in its war on Hamas.

Husic told Australian Broadcasting Corp. on Thursday: “I feel very strongly that Palestinians are being collectively punished here for Hamas’ barbarism.” He added: “I really do feel there is an obligation on governments, particularly the Israeli government, to ... follow the rules of international law and to observe in particular that innocents should be protected.”

Opposition senator Jane Hume accused the Muslim lawmaker of using “loose language” that did not align with the government’s position. Australia’s House of Representatives this week passed a government motion that recognizes Israel’s “inherent right to defend itself” and “unequivocally condemns” the Hamas attacks. The motion also calls for the “protection of civilian lives and the observance of international law.”

KHAN YOUNIS, Gaza Strip — Residents and doctors in this southern Gaza town said an airstrike slammed into a home, killing seven small children.

The news spread quickly on social media, as grisly images of dead and bloodied toddlers lined up side by side on a hospital stretcher stirred outrage in Gaza and the West Bank.

Bandaged and caked in dust, the bodies were brought to the Gaza European Hospital in Khan Younis along with three other dead members of the Bakri family. Photographers swarmed the operating room as women covered their eyes and doctors wept.

“This is a massacre,” hospital director Dr. Yousef Al-Akkad said, his voice choking with emotion. “Let the world see, these are just children.”

Local medics also confirmed that the children were killed in a strike and said the Bakri family was just one of many such cases Wednesday.

There was no immediate comment from the Israeli military.

CAIRO — Egyptian soccer star Mohamed Salah, arguably the most celebrated Arab footballer, called on world leaders to “come together to prevent further slaughter of all innocent souls” and for the urgent delivery of humanitarian aid to the people in Gaza.

“There has been too much violence and too much heartbreak and brutality,” the Liverpool striker said in a video that lasted a little under a minute. “The escalations in the recent weeks is unbearable to witness. All lives are sacred and must be protected. The massacres need to stop. Families are being torn apart.”

They were Salah's first comments on the Israel-Hamas war, after he was criticized by some Arab fans for his silence.

WASHINGTON — Senators who attended a classified briefing with top defense, intelligence and other administration officials said they were briefed that Israel was not responsible for the hospital blast.

“The intelligence community assesses that Israel is not to blame for the explosion of the hospital in Gaza,” Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said as he left. “They believe it was an errant rocket from terrorists in Gaza.”

Democratic Sen. Chris Murphy of Connecticut said the intelligence is “definitive” that it was not an Israeli operation.

In a joint statement earlier, Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Mark Warner, D-Va., and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, the top Republican on the panel, said they reviewed intelligence and “feel confident that the explosion was the result of a failed rocket launch by militant terrorists and not the result of an Israeli airstrike.”

UNITED NATIONS – U.N. humanitarian chief Martin Griffiths told an emergency meeting of the U.N. Security Council that the deadly destruction of a hospital has heaped further pressure on Gaza’s crumbling health system, depriving the territory of a facility that cared for 45,000 patients every year.

Speaking in a video briefing from Qatar, Griffiths also said the Al Ahli hospital was previously struck on Oct. 14.

Meanwhile the U.N. Mideast envoy warned that the risk of the conflict expanding is “very real and extremely dangerous.”

Tor Wennesland told the council that recent events “have served to reignite grievances and re-animate alliances across the region.”

Earlier in the day at the U.N., the United States vetoed a resolution that would have condemned violence against civilians in the Israel-Hamas war and pushed for humanitarian aid to Palestinians in Gaza.

President Joe Biden on Wednesday said Egypt’s president has agreed to open a border crossing into Gaza to allow in 20 trucks with humanitarian aid.

Biden said he spoke with Egypt President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi after his visit to Israel, where leaders there agreed to allow the aid in. Biden was speaking to reporters on Air Force One during a refueling stop in Germany on his way back to the U.S. from Tel Aviv.

Israel sealed off the Gaza Strip, stopping all entry of food, water, medicine and fuel to its 2.3 million people following the Hamas attack on Oct. 7.

White House officials said the aid would flow in the coming days. Biden said if Hamas confiscates the aid, “it will end.”

Earlier in the day, the United States promised $100 million in humanitarian assistance to help Palestinian people who have been displaced or otherwise affected by conflict in Gaza and the West Bank.

JERUSALEM — Rights groups in the occupied West Bank say Palestinian security forces arrested dozens of Palestinians protesting the deadly explosion at al-Ahli Hospital in Gaza.

The protests late Tuesday devolved into skirmishes with Palestinian security forces, who fired tear gas, stun grenades and live fire to disperse stone-throwing demonstrators, wounding several.

Lawyers for Justice, a legal aid group, said Wednesday that some 50 protesters were arrested overnight by Palestinian security forces in Ramallah.

The Palestinian Red Crescent meanwhile reported that Israeli soldiers using live rounds and rubber bullets shot and wounded 10 Palestinian protesters in the southern city of Hebron and 21 people in the northern city of Nablus. A 24-year-old Palestinian man was killed, according to the organization.

Thousands of people demonstrated outside the consulates of Israel and the United States in Istanbul late Wednesday. Many waved Palestinian flags, shouted anti-Israeli slogans and called for revenge against Israel a day after the deadly explosion at a hospital in Gaza.

Large protests also erupted in Tunisia and Morocco, with demonstrators outraged by the blast at the hospital in Gaza.

Protesters gathered outside the Parliament in Rabat chanting “Down with America” and demanding that Morocco reverse its 2020 decision to normalize relations and deepen security ties with Israel.

In Tunis, protesters gathered outside the U.S. and French Embassies to condemn those nations’ support of Israel and demand that their ambassadors be removed from Tunisia.

There was also a march by an estimated 10,000 pro-Palestinian demonstrators in Athens, Greece, that was quelled by riot police who fired tear gas. Earlier in the day about 100 people took part in a pro-Israeli gathering.

TEL AVIV, Israel — New York Gov. Kathy Hochul arrived in Israel to show support for the country.

The Democrat was met at Ben-Gurion International Airport near Tel Aviv by Israel’s ambassador to the U.S., Michael Herzog.

After a security briefing, Hochul met with families and was scheduled to head to a food pantry to help pack and drop off boxes for people displaced by the conflict. Hochul was expected to stay in Jerusalem overnight.

She said her trip is meant as a gesture of solidarity and support. New York is home to the largest Jewish population of any U.S. city, according to the American Jewish Population Project at Brandeis University.

BEIRUT — Hamas is denying Israel's claims that another militant group was responsible for the massive explosion at a Gaza City hospital that killed hundreds of people.

In a statement Wednesday, Hamas said that in the days before Tuesday's blast at al-Ahli Hospital, Israeli authorities sent threats to several Gaza Strip hospitals and told each to evacuate or they would “be responsible for what happens.”

Hamas said Israeli forces have targeted several emergency departments and ambulances since the violence began, adding that Israeli military officials contacted 21 hospitals including Al-Ahli, demanding that they evacuate “immediately because they are located in area of operations for the Israeli” army.

Copyright 2024 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

Israel has agreed to allow Egypt to deliver limited humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip while the Israeli military keeps up its airstrikes on the Palestinian territory. More than 1 million Palestinians, roughly half of Gaza's population, have fled homes in the north and...
israel hamas war palestinians live updates
Thursday, 19 October 2023 05:01 AM
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