Israel is escalating its bombardment of targets in the Gaza Strip ahead of an expected ground invasion against Hamas militants. The war is rapidly raising the death toll in Gaza, and the U.S. fears the fighting could spark a wider conflict in the region.
Gaza’s 2.3 million people have been running out of food, water and medicine since Israel sealed off the territory following the Hamas attack on Israeli towns on Oct. 7. The aid convoys allowed into Gaza so far have carried a fraction of what’s needed, and the U.N. said distribution will have to stop if there’s no fuel for the trucks.
The war, in its 18th day Tuesday, is the deadliest of five Gaza wars for both sides. The Hamas-run Health Ministry said at least 5,087 Palestinians have been killed and 15,270 wounded. In the occupied West Bank, 96 Palestinians have been killed and 1,650 wounded in violence and Israeli raids since Oct. 7.
More than 1,400 people in Israel have been killed, mostly civilians who died in the initial Hamas rampage. In addition, 222 people including foreigners were believed captured by Hamas during the incursion and taken into Gaza, Israel’s military has said. Four of those have been released.
1. The U.S. Department of Defense is assisting Israel in its war planning by sending military advisers
2. 40 years after bombing that killed Americans in Beirut, US troops again deploy east of Mediterranean
3. The war is giving Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system its toughest challenge yet
4. Release of more hostages gives some hope to families of others abducted in the attack on Israel
5. Find more of AP’s coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/israel-hamas-war
Here’s what’s happening in the latest Israel-Hamas war:
ISRAELI AIR STRIKES ON HOMES KILL AT LEAST 28 PEOPLE IN RAFAH, INTERIOR MINISTRY SAYS
KHAN YOUNIS, Gaza Strip — Israeli fighter jets pounded several homes overnight in the city of Rafah in southern Gaza, killing at least 28 people, according to the Hamas-run Interior Ministry. The ministry reported other airstrikes across the besieged territory which it said left dozens dead.
In Khan Younis, an Israeli airstrike hit a building in a refugee camp late Monday morning, leaving many casualties who were taken to Nasser Hospital. An Associated Press journalist saw ambulances bringing two dead and two wounded people from the strike.
Tens of thousands of Palestinians moved to southern Gaza, including Rafah, which borders Egypt, after Israel told civilians to flee southward ahead of an expected ground invasion. However, Israel continued its attacks across Gaza’s southern areas.
UN SAYS SOME AID TO GAZA NOT USABLE BECAUSE OF WATER, FUEL SHORTAGES
GENEVA — The U.N. aid agency for Palestinians, UNRWA, says some of the aid trucked into Gaza is “not very usable,” such as lentils and rice that require increasingly scarce fresh water and fuel to be cooked.
UNRWA spokesperson Tamira Alrifai said a total of 54 aid trucks have entered Gaza over the last several days, a “trickle” compared to the 500-odd truck deliveries, carrying both aid and commercial goods, a day in times of relative peace.
“My colleagues told me that in one of the shipments over the last couple of days, we received boxes of rice and lentils — donated very, very generously,” she said from Amman by video call to a U.N. briefing in Geneva. “But for people to cook lentils and rice, they need water and gas. And therefore, these kinds of supplies — while very generous and well-intended — are not very usable.”
Alrifai praised the “very spontaneous giving and donations” flown into Egypt for delivery to Gaza through the Rafah crossing, from various countries, “especially Arab countries.” She called for coordination with the Egyptian Red Crescent and “very, very clear guidance from the humanitarian groups that are on the ground.”
“Of course, everything is being closely coordinated with my U.N. colleagues and with U.N. agencies. But we will need to get better as a consortium of humanitarians in sending very explicit lists of what is most needed,” Alrifai said.
She said U.N. negotiators were “very, very far away” from getting the full ability to provide needed aid to Gaza.
QATAR’S RULING EMIR SAYS ISRAEL SHOULDN’T HAVE A ‘GREEN LIGHT’ TO KILL
JERUSALEM — The ruling emir of the small Middle East nation of Qatar, which hosts an office of Hamas and has served as an intermediary in hostage negotiations, said Tuesday that it “is untenable for Israel to be given an unconditional green light and free license to kill.”
The comments by Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani to Qatar’s consultative Shura Council come as negotiations continue to free more of the approximately 200 hostages Hamas has held since its Oct. 7 assault on Israel. About 1,400 people in Israel died in the assault, while the Hamas-run Health Ministry in the Gaza Strip says over 5,000 people have died in Israeli airstrikes since then.
“We are against attacks on innocent civilians, regardless of their nationality, by any party,” Sheikh Tamim said. “But we do not accept double standards, nor do we accept acting as if the Palestinian children’s lives are not worth to be reckoned with, as though they are faceless or nameless.”
He added: “We are saying enough is enough. It is untenable for Israel to be given an unconditional green light and free license to kill, nor it is tenable to continue ignoring the reality of occupation, siege and settlement. It should not be allowed in our time to use cutting off water and preventing medicine and food as weapons against an entire population.”
Sheikh Tamim renewed calls for a Palestinian state based on Israel’s 1967 borders, with east Jerusalem as its capital, something long called for by other Arab nations, including Saudi Arabia.
Qatar had a trade office for Israel from 1996 until 2000, but broke ties in 2009 over an Israel-Hamas war at the time. Under arrangements stemming from past cease-fire understandings with Israel, the gas-rich emirate of Qatar has paid the salaries of civil servants in the Gaza Strip, provided direct cash transfers to poor families and offered other kinds of humanitarian aid.
ISRAELI AIRSTRIKE HITS RESIDENTIAL BUILDING, KILLING 32 PEOPLE, SURVIVORS SAY
KHAN YOUNIS, Gaza Strip — An overnight Israeli airstrike hit a 4-story residential building in the city of Khan Younis, killing at least 32 people and wounding scores of others, according to survivors.
The fatalities included 13 from the Saqallah family in the Qarraha area, east of Khan Younis, said Ammar al-Butta, a relative who survived the airstrike. He said about 100 people, including his family and many others, had sheltered there.
The victims were taken to Nasser Hospital in Khan Younis. An Associated Press video showed about a dozen bodies in white body bags lying on the ground outside the main gate of the hospital. One woman was weeping while another tried to console her.
“We were hosting our relatives from Gaza and the northern cities,” al-Butta said, speaking from the hospital. “They were sheltering at our home because we thought that our area would be safe. But apparently there is no safe place in Gaza.”
Osama al-Bashity, another relative, said they couldn’t recognize the dead. “We recognized them through the clothes they wore, who wore these trousers, or that T-shirt,” he said. “They turned into pieces.”
FRENCH PRESIDENT MACRON EXPRESSES SUPPORT, URGE RELEASE OF HOSTAGES
JERUSALEM — French President Emmanuel Macron said during a meeting with Israeli President Isaac Herzog in Jerusalem on Tuesday that he came to Israel “to express our support and solidarity and share your pain.”
After arriving at Tel Aviv airport, Macron met with the families of 18 Franco-Israeli people who have been killed, are being held hostage or are missing.
“The first objective we should have today is the release of all hostages without any distinction because this is an awful crime to play with lives of children, adults, old people, civilians, soldiers,” Macron said.
He said he wanted to ensure Israel it is “not left alone in the war against terrorism.”
“We will do whatever we can to restore peace, security and stability for your country and the whole region,” he added.
French authorities said 30 French nationals were killed in the Oct. 7 attack by Hamas and nine others are missing or are being held hostage.
35 WORKERS AT UN AGENCY FOR PALESTINIAN REFUGEES HAVE DIED
CAIRO — The U.N. agency for Palestinian refugees said six of its workers have been killed in the Israel-Hamas war, bringing the total to 35 dead since Oct. 7.
In a statement late Monday, the agency, known as UNRWA, said 18 other workers were wounded.
UNRWA said it found shrapnel in its facilities in the Bureij camp and in Nuseirat in central Gaza from Israel’s bombardment of nearby areas Sunday.
ISRAEL EXTENDS START OF ACADEMIC YEAR
JERUSALEM — The start of the academic year at Israel’s universities and colleges has been delayed again, this time by nearly a month, suggesting the country is expecting extended fighting in the Gaza Strip.
The academic year initially had been scheduled to begin Oct. 19. After two previous delays, the Association of University Heads decided that studies won’t begin until Dec. 3, Israel Army Radio reported.
15 PALESTINIANS FROM THE SAME FAMILY BURIED IN MASS GRAVE
DEIR AL-BALAH, Gaza Strip – Fifteen members of the same family were among at least 33 Palestinians buried in a mass grave at a Gaza hospital on Monday after they were killed by Israeli airstrikes.
A harried-looking doctor in green scrubs walked past as bodies in white sheets were loaded into the back of a pickup truck. Men discussed where to fit the shrouded corpse of a small child between two adults.
The bodies were laid to rest side-by-side in a shallow, sandy grave in the courtyard of al-Aqsa Hospital in Deir al-Balah, an ambulance parked nearby. “Bring them all,” a gravedigger called out.
Israel said Monday it struck 320 militant targets throughout the besieged Gaza Strip over the previous 24 hours. The military says it does not target civilians. Over 5,000 Palestinians, including some 2,000 minors, have been killed since the war began, Gaza’s Health Ministry said.
More than 1,400 people in Israel have been killed — mostly civilians slain during the initial Hamas attack.
ITALY CONFIRMS DEATH OF 3RD ITALIAN ISRAELI CITIZEN MISSING IN HAMAS ATTACK
ROME — Italian foreign minister Antonio Tajani said the last of three Italian Israeli citizens who had been missing in the Oct. 7 Hamas attack on Israel is dead.
“Unfortunately, also Nir Forti is deceased,’’ the minister wrote late Monday on X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter. Forti had been attending a music festival that Hamas attacked.
“To die at 29, barbarously killed by terrorists, is deeply unjust,’’ Tajani wrote on X.
Hours earlier, Tajani announced the death of another Italian Israeli woman whose husband’s death had been confirmed last week.
ISRAEL MUST PROTECT CIVILIANS IN ITS WAR ON HAMAS, UN INVESTIGATOR SAYS
UNITED NATIONS — A United Nations special investigator said while Hamas’ attacks on Israel at a minimum constitute war crimes and crimes against humanity, Israel in its response is required to protect civilians and is banned from targeting schools, hospitals and people fleeing harm.
Fionnuala Ní Aoláin, the special rapporteur on protecting human rights while countering terrorism, said at a U.N. news conference Monday that when these rules of international humanitarian law are breached, “we are also in the territory of war crimes.”
She stressed that under the Geneva Conventions governing the conduct of war, it isn’t only Israel and Hamas that must respect humanitarian law. Those “with influence” over the parties also have an obligation to ensure the rules of war are respected — and to remind the parties to comply.
Ní Aoláin, a law professor at the University of Minnesota, said Israel should avoid making the same “mistake” the United States did following 9/11, when “egregious and systematic violations of human rights” were committed.
She also echoed U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’s view that Israel’s order for 1.1 million people in northern Gaza to move to the south “will have devastating consequences.”
Ní Aoláin said she and many others in the U.N. system joined the secretary-general in condemning this, “as well as being clear that the cutting off of water and electricity, which indiscriminately and excessively harm civilians, may constitute a war crime.”
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