The Israeli government is under intense public pressure Thursday to topple Hamas after its militants stormed through a border fence Saturday and killed hundreds of Israelis in their homes, on the streets and at an outdoor music festival.
In the Gaza Strip, meanwhile, residents are facing ever-growing uncertainty after the territory’s only power plant ran out of fuel and shut down Wednesday. Without power, communication is limited and information is scarce.
Egypt has engaged with intensive talks with Israel and the United States to allow the delivery of aid and fuel through its Rafah crossing point, which remained closed on both sides Thursday. Egypt pushed back against proposals to establish corridors out of Gaza, saying an an exodus of Palestinians from the enclave would have grave consequences on the Palestinian cause.
The war, which has claimed more than 2,400 lives on both sides, is expected to escalate.
Here’s what’s happening on Day 6 of the latest Israel-Palestinian war:
BEIJING CONFIRMS 3 CHINESE NATIONALS DIED IN LATEST GAZA WAR
BEIJING — China said Thursday that three Chinese nationals have been confirmed dead in the latest Israel-Palestinian war. Two others are missing and several have been injured, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said. He urged authorities to make every effort to search for and rescue the missing.
The Chinese Embassy in Israel reported earlier in the week that a young woman of Israeli and Chinese heritage was among the scores of hostages taken by Hamas fighters.
China’s Mideast envoy, Zhai Jun, discussed the crisis with Amal Jadou, the first deputy foreign minister of Palestine, in a phone call Wednesday.
Zhai said a ceasefire and protecting civilians is the most pressing task, according to a Chinese government statement. Jadou said that Palestinians trust China and thanked China “for upholding a just position on the Palestine question for a long time,” the Chinese statement said.
IN PHONE CALL, PRESIDENTS OF SYRIA AND IRAN SAY THEY STAND BEHIND PALESTINIANS
DAMASCUS, Syria — The presidents of Iran and Syria have discussed by telephone the situation in the Gaza Strip, expressing both countries’ support for the Palestinian people.
Syria’s state news agency SANA reported that Syria’s Bashar Assad and Iran’s Ebrahim Raisi said they stand behind the Palestinian people who are “being subjected to crimes and have the right to resist to defend their legitimate cause to gain back their rights.”
Assad was quoted by SANA as saying that Israel’s policies are leading to bloodshed in the region and called on Arab and Muslim countries to work on defending the Palestinian people, especially in Gaza.
NORWAY STARTS PARLIAMENT SESSION WITH A MINUTE OF SILENCE FOR VICTIMS
COPENHAGEN, Denmark — The Norwegian parliament started its session Thursday with a minute of silence for the victims’ of the events in Israel.
Masud Gharahkhani, Speaker of Stortinget, the 169-member assembly, said ahead of the minute of silence that “innocent people have been exposed to brutal terror attacks and a war that will lead to huge suffering for the civil population in Israel and Palestina.”
HAMAS SAYS IT WON’T BE DETERED BY NETANYAHU’S UNITY GOVERNMENT
Hamas responded defiantly Thursday to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s announcement the day before that he and opposition leader Benny Gantz had formed a national unity government to lead the country in its war on the Hamas militant group.
Hamas officials vowed that Israel’s united front would not “intimidate or deter the resistance.”
“We have been preparing for this attack for years,” said Mohammad Nazzal, a senior Hamas official. “The resistance fighters have prepared to engage in the most vicious of battles for many months.”
650,000 PEOPLE IN GAZA FACE DIRE WATER SHORTAGES UNDER ISRAEL’S SIEGE, UN SAYS
JERUSALEM — The United Nations humanitarian office has reported that the Israeli bombardment of Gaza has leveled 1,000 homes since the retaliation began last Saturday, and many in the territory face dire shortages of water, fuel and medical supplies.
Another 560 housing units, it said, have been severely damaged and rendered uninhabitable. Over 12,600 homes have sustained damage due to Israeli airstrikes.
The agency, known as OCHA, also reported that all 13 hospitals in the territory are only partially operational because of severe shortages of fuel and crucial medical supplies. It said the reduction in water supplies due to Israel tightening its siege on the strip has resulted in dire water shortages for over 650,000 people in the territory of 2.3 million.
Sewage systems have been destroyed, the humanitarian office added, sending fetid wastewater into the streets and posing a health hazard.
40 CZECH NATIONALS ARRIVE IN PRAGUE FROM ISRAEL, WITH MORE EXPECTED
PRAGUE — A Czech government plane landed in Prague early Thursday with some 40 Czech nationals onboard who had evacuated from Israel.
At least two other such planes are scheduled to fly to Israel on Thursday to take more Czech citizens back, Prime Minister Petr Fiala said. The Foreign Ministry said there are at least 250 Czechs still in Israel.
NORWAY RECEIVES 180 EVACUEES FROM ISRAEL
COPENHAGEN, Denmark — A plane from Israel with 180 people has landed in Oslo, Norway, the Scandinavian country’s foreign minister said Thursday, adding most of them were Norwegian citizens and their families.
Anniken Huitfeldt said there also were other nationalities on the plane, though she didn’t identify them.
“It is very difficult to get out of the Palestinian areas, but we are still working on fining exit opportunities for Norwegian citizens in these areas,” she said in a statement.
On Wednesday, Finland also said an evacuation from the area of Finnish citizens and people living permanently in the Nordic country was being planned, Foreign Minister Elina Valtonen said.
ISRAELI AIRSTRIKES KILL PALESTINIAN ISLAMIC JIHAD COMMANDER, GROUP SAYS
JERUSALEM — Israeli airstrikes pounded the Gaza Strip overnight, at one point late Wednesday killing Palestinian Islamic Jihad commander Moussa Naseer in an airstrike on his family home in the northern city of Beit Lahia, according to media linked to Al-Quds Brigades, the group’s armed wing.
SAUDI CROWN PRINCE SPEAKS WITH IRAN’S PRESIDENT ABOUT ESCALATING THE GAZA WAR
RIYADH, Saudi Arabia — Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman spoke with Iran’s president via a 45-minute phone call to discuss the Gaza war.
The state-run Saudi Press Agency reported Thursday that President Ebrahim Raisi had called the crown prince. The crown prince “underscored the Kingdom’s unwavering stance in standing up for the Palestinian cause and supporting efforts aimed at achieving comprehensive and fair peace that ensures the Palestinian people’s legitimate rights,” it said.
“Iran and Saudi Arabia must support the oppressed Muslim nation of Palestine as two key players at a critical moment,” Raisi said in a statement posted on his website.
Saudi Arabia and Iran are longtime rivals that recently restored diplomatic relations in an agreement brokered by China.
Before the outbreak of hostilities, the U.S. had been negotiating with the Saudis over normalizing relations with Israel, a potentially historic agreement that would build on the so-called Abraham Accords with other Arab states. Iran has long supported Palestinian militant groups, and its leaders praised the wide-ranging attack into Israel launched by Hamas militants over the weekend, in which hundreds of Israelis were killed and dozens captured.
UN AGENCY SAYS AT LEAST 340,000 PALESTINIANS HAVE BEEN DISPLACED IN THE GAZA STRIP
The United Nations agency for Palestinian refugees reported Thursday that nearly 218,600 people are sheltering in 92 UNRWA schools in the Gaza Strip. As airstrikes and shelling by Israeli Forces continue across the Gaza Strip, more people are seeking emergency shelter. In addition, the agency said, many other people are displaced in government schools and other buildings. In total, at least 340,000 Palestinians have been displaced across the Gaza Strip.
GERMANY WILL GIVE ISRAEL UP TO 2 COMBAT DRONES
BERLIN – Germany will give Israel up to two combat drones that were already in Israel for the training of German servicepeople.
Germany’s military is currently leasing five Heron TP drones. The Defense Ministry said that it agreed to an Israeli request to use up to two of the aircraft. Defense Minister Boris Pistorius also said on the sidelines of a NATO meeting in Brussels on Thursday that Israel has asked Germany for ammunition for warships.
Pistorius said that the request will be discussed with Israel and stressed that “we stand beside the Israelis.”
THE ISRAELI MILITARY SAYS IT’S PREPARING FOR A GROUND OPERATION IN GAZA
JERUSALEM — The Israeli military says it is preparing for a possible ground operation in Gaza but the political leadership has not yet decided on one. Lt. Col. Richard Hecht told reporters Thursday that forces “are preparing for a ground maneuver if decided.”
Israel has called up some 360,000 army reservists and has threatened an unprecedented response to Hamas’ bloody, wide-ranging incursion over the weekend. It has been launching intense airstrikes on Gaza since the attack by Hamas on Saturday, as militants have fired thousands of rockets into Israel.
EGYPT REJECTS PROPOSALS TO ESTABLISH CORRIDORS OUT OF GAZA
CAIRO — Egypt has engaged with intensive talks with Israel and the United States to allow the delivery of aid and fuel through its Rafah crossing point. However, it pushed back against proposals to establish corridors out of Gaza, saying an an exodus of Palestinians from the enclave would have grave consequences on the Palestinian cause.
The Egyptian government has rejected any proposal to establish corridors out of Gaza for Palestinians fleeing Israel’s bombardment in Gaza, a senior Egyptian official said early Thursday. The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to brief media, was responding to White House National Security spokesperson John Kirby, who said that the Biden administration is in active conversations to achieve safe passage out of Gaza for civilians.
Egypt’s state-run media reported that Israel’s offensive is part of a scheme to empty the enclave.
MALAYSIA ANNOUNCES AN EMERGENCY FUND FOR PALESTINIANS AFTER ISRAEL CUT OFF SUPPLIES TO GAZA
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — Malaysian Foreign Minister Zambry Abdul Kadir slammed Israel’s “outrageous acts of cruelty” in cutting off food, water and fuel to the Gaza Strip and said Malaysia will provide 1 million ringgit ($212,000) as an emergency fund to help Palestinians.
Zambry said Thursday that evacuation plans are underway to bring home a Malaysian doctor and her three children caught in the conflict. He also said a group of 23 Malaysians and Singaporeans safely crossed over to Egypt on Tuesday.
A strong supporter of the Palestinian cause, Malaysia has blamed the crisis on the oppression and injustice against the Palestinian people.
STATE DEPARTMENT WARNS US CITIZENS TO RECONSIDER TRAVEL TO ISRAEL, WEST BANK
WASHINGTON — The State Department upgraded its travel warning for Israel and the West Bank on Wednesday to Level 3, “reconsider travel.”
It kept its travel advisory for Gaza at the department’s highest warning level, Level 4, meaning “do not travel.”
The State Department cited extremists continuing to plot attacks, the possibility of violence erupting without warning, and increased demonstrations.
The travel warning comes as five days of rocket fire and missile barrages between the Hamas militant group and Israel already have led many airlines to suspend commercial flights.
BIDEN SPEAKS WITH UAE PRESIDENT ABOUT HUMANITARIAN ASSISTANCE
WASHINGTON — U.S. President Joe Biden spoke with United Arab Emirates President Mohamed bin Zayed on Wednesday about ensuring humanitarian assistance reaches those in need as the war between Israel and Hamas extends into a fifth day, the White House said.
The UAE was the first Gulf country to normalize relations with Israel in 2020 under the U.S.-brokered Abraham Accords, which saw Bahrain and Morocco also establish diplomatic ties with Israel.
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