More than a million people have fled their homes in the Gaza Strip ahead of an expected Israeli invasion that seeks to eliminate Hamas’ leadership after its deadly incursion. Aid groups warn an Israeli ground offensive could hasten a humanitarian crisis.
Israeli forces, supported by U.S. warships, positioned themselves along Gaza’s border and drilled for what Israel said would be a broad campaign to dismantle the militant group. A week of blistering airstrikes have demolished neighborhoods but failed to stop militant rocket fire into Israel.
The war that began Oct. 7 has become the deadliest of five Gaza wars for both sides, with more than 4,000 dead. The Gaza Health Ministry said 2,750 Palestinians have been killed and 9,700 wounded. More than 1,400 Israelis have been killed, and at least 199 others, including children, were captured by Hamas and taken into Gaza, according to Israel.
1. Water has run out at U.N. shelters across Gaza and overwhelmed doctors at the territory’s largest hospital struggled to care for patients they fear will die once generators run out of fuel.
2. U.S. President Joe Biden is considering a trip to Israel in the coming days, though no travel has yet been confirmed.
3. An urban battle during Israel’s 2014 war against Hamas offers a glimpse of the type of fighting that could lie ahead.
Here’s what’s happening in the latest Israel-Hamas war:
THE U.N. HEALTH AGENCY RUSHES MEDICAL SUPPLIES TO LEBANON
BEIRUT — The World Health Organization says it has sent two shipments of medical supplies to Beirut in preparation for a potential escalation of the so-far sporadic clashes on the border between armed groups in Lebanon and Israeli forces.
The U.N. agency said in a statement Monday that it “has expedited the delivery of critical medical supplies to Lebanon in order to be ready to respond to any potential health crisis.”
Two shipments containing “enough surgical and trauma medicines and supplies to meet the needs of 800 to 1,000 injured patients” arrived in Beirut from Dubai Monday the statement said.
Lebanon’s health system has been overstretched since the country fell into a severe economic crisis four years ago. Many medical professionals have left the country and hospitals have faced supply and equipment shortages.
The WHO noted that clashes on the border have already resulted in civilian casualties.
“If these clashes escalate, more civilians will be at risk, and they will need immediate access to lifesaving medical care,” the statement said.
Since the outbreak of the latest Hamas-Israel war on Oct. 7, armed groups in Lebanon, including Hezbollah, Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, have launched missiles at sites in northern Israel, while Israel has hit sites in southern Lebanon with airstrikes and shelling.
Strikes from the Lebanese side have killed one Israeli soldier and one civilian, while Israeli strikes have killed three civilians on the Lebanese side — including Reuters journalist Issam Abdallah — as well as four Hezbollah fighters. Two members of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad were killed Monday in clashes with Israeli forces after crossing the border between the two countries.
ISRAEL SAYS 199 HOSTAGES ARE BEING HELD IN GAZA
JERUSALEM — The Israeli military says Hamas and other Palestinian militants are holding 199 hostages in Gaza — higher than previous estimates.
Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari, a military spokesman, said Monday that the families have been notified. He did not specify whether that number includes foreigners, or say who is holding them.
Most are believed to be held by the Hamas militant group, which rules Gaza.
NORWAY SAYS IT HAS 170 NATIONALS WHO WANT HELP TO LEAVE
COPENHAGEN, Denmark — The Norwegian government says that as of Sunday evening there are 170 of their nationals who want assistance from Norway to leave Gaza.
Foreign Minister Anniken Huitfeldt said that “the situation in Gaza is unclear and is getting worse with every passing hour.”
Speaking of leaving Gaza via the Rafah border crossing with Egypt, Huitfeldt said “we cannot guarantee that it will be possible for Norwegian citizens to cross (there). The border can be both opened and closed at short notice.”
The possibilities to leave the area via Lebanon “have been limited in a short time,” Huitfeldt said because “several airlines have stopped their flights.”
ISRAEL ORDERS PEOPLE NEAR LEBANON BORDER TO EVACUATE
JERUSALEM — The Israeli military has ordered people living in 28 communities near the Lebanese border to evacuate.
The order Monday comes as there’s been increasing cross-border fire between Israel and the Lebanese Shiite militia Hezbollah.
The military order affects communities that are within 2 kilometers (1.2 miles) of the border.
Hezbollah has said the increased strikes were a warning and did not mean Hezbollah has decided to enter the war.
WHO SAYS LIFESAVING AID IS AWAITING ENTRY AT RAFAH CROSSING
BAGHDAD — The World Health Organization said lifesaving assistance, including health supplies to serve 300,000 patients, is awaiting entry through the Rafah crossing into Gaza.
The crossing was closed because of airstrikes earlier in the war, and U.S. has been trying to broker a deal to reopen the crossing to allow foreigners to leave and allow in humanitarian aid amassed on the Egyptian side.
The WHO, in comments to The Associated Press, reiterated calls for the immediate and safe delivery of medical supplies, fuel, clean water and food, and other humanitarian aid into Gaza through Rafah crossing.
It expressed concern about limited water and sanitation in the territory, particularly at hospitals where patients’ lives can be lost due to infection and disease outbreaks. WHO said four hospitals in northern Gaza are no longer functioning as a result of damage and 21 hospitals are under an Israeli evacuation order.
FLIGHT OF 130 THAI EVACUEES ARRIVES FROM ISRAEL
BANGKOK — A Thai Air Force plane carrying 130 evacuees from Israel arrived early Monday in Bangkok.
The evacuation flight on an Airbus A340, carrying 127 men, two women and a girl, was the first of of a planned six flights by Thailand’s air force. Small batches of evacuees had previously arrived on commercial flights.
As of Saturday, 7,058 Thais in Israel had registered for voluntary repatriation, while 83 indicated their intention to remain in Israel, according to the Thai Foreign Ministry. Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin said Sunday that 28 Thais are reported to have been killed in the attack on southern Israel by Hamas, and another 17 abducted.
There are about 30,000 Thai workers in Israel, mostly employed as agricultural laborers, and some 5,000 had been working in the area that was affected by the violence.
CANADA CONFIRMS DEATH OF FIFTH CITIZEN
OTTAWA, Ontario — The Canadian government has confirmed the death of a fifth citizen in Israel after a series of attacks by Hamas militants.
Separately, Canadians in the besieged Gaza Strip have no way to leave.
Global Affairs Canada says three other Canadians who were in Israel when the attacks happened Oct. 7 are still missing. Officials did not provide details of the fifth person who died or those who are missing, citing privacy considerations.
Julie Sunday, an assistant deputy minister with Global Affairs Canada, says the government is still working to get up to 300 Canadians and their relatives out of Gaza as Israel gears up for an expected ground invasion.
UN SAYS GAZA IS BEING STRANGLED
JERUSALEM — The U.N.’s Palestinian refugee agency says Gaza “is being strangled” and the number of people seeking shelter at their schools and facilities in the south of the territory is overwhelming.
“If we look at the issue of water — we all know water is life — Gaza is running out of water, and Gaza is running out of life,” said Philippe Lazzarini, the commissioner-general of UNRWA at a news conference in Jerusalem on Sunday.
“Soon, I believe, with this there will be no food or medicine either,” he said.
“Last week’s attack on Israel was horrendous,” he said. “The attack and the taking of hostages are a flagrant violation of international humanitarian law. But the answer to killing civilians cannot be to kill more civilians.”
At least 1 million people were forced to flee their homes in northern Gaza. At least 400,000 displaced people are crammed into UNRWA schools and buildings, and most are not equipped as emergency shelters. Conditions are unsanitary and appalling.
Most of the agency’s 13,000 staff in the Gaza Strip are now displaced or out of their homes, said Lazzarini.
US SAYS 30 AMERICANS KILLED IN ISRAEL, 13 ARE MISSING
WASHINGTON — The U.S. State Department says the number of Americans killed since the outbreak of war between Israel and Hamas has risen to 30.
“At this time, we can confirm the deaths of 30 U.S. citizens. We extend our deepest condolences to the victims and to the families of all those affected,” the State Department said in a statement released Sunday. The U.S. is also aware of 13 missing citizens and has been in contact with their families.
Hamas militants stormed into Israel on Oct. 7 and murdered more than 1,400 Israelis, the vast majority of them civilians. The militants also kidnapped at least 155 people — a number that includes babies and the elderly — and are holding them hostage in Gaza. Their whereabouts are not publicly known, but their families have been urgently pressing for their release.
“The U.S. government is working around the clock to determine their whereabouts and is working with the Israeli government on every aspect of the hostage crisis, including sharing intelligence and deploying experts from across the United States government to advise the Israeli government on hostage recovery efforts,” the statement said.
The Gaza Health Ministry said 2,670 Palestinians have been killed so far.
UN CHIEF PLEADS FOR WATER, FOOD AND MEDICINE FOR GAZA
UNITED NATIONS — U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres warned Sunday that the Middle East is “on the verge of the abyss” and repeated his entreaties for Hamas to release hostages and for Israel to allow humanitarian aid and workers into besieged Gaza.
“Each one of these two objectives are valid in themselves. They should not become bargaining chips,” the U.N. chief said in a statement.
He said the U.N. has food, water, fuel and medical and other supplies stockpiled in Egypt, Jordan, the West Bank and Israel, ready to be mobilized to Gaza if it can be done safely.
The goods can be dispatched within hours, he said.
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