Israel’s military ordered hundreds of thousands of civilians living in Gaza City to evacuate ahead of a feared Israel ground offensive. The directive came Friday on the heels of what the United Nations said was a warning it received from Israel to evacuate 1.1 million people living in northern Gaza. Palestinians and some Egyptian officials fear that Israel ultimately hopes to push Gaza’s people out through the southern border with Egypt.
1. People are scrambling to evacuate northern Gaza even as Hamas told Palestinians to stay home
2. No decision on a ground offensive has been announced, although Israel has been massing troops along the Gaza border
3. An Israeli shell landed in a gathering of international journalists covering clashes on the border in southern Lebanon on Friday, killing one and wounding six
4. The war has claimed at least 3,200 lives since Hamas launched an incursion on Oct. 7
5. United States Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has assured Israel : “We have your back”
Here’s what’s happening in the latest Israel-Hamas war:
FRENCH OFFICIALS IN CONTACT WITH CITIZENS IN GAZA, WORKING TO ENSURE THEIR EVACUATION
PARIS — France is in contact with dozens of French citizens currently in Gaza, and employees of the French Institute of Gaza, in hopes of ensuring their evacuation, a French diplomatic official said Sunday. The French citizens include people who live there as well as those visiting for humanitarian or family reasons.
The official said diplomatic efforts are underway, via the French consulate in Jerusalem and close contacts with Israeli and Egyptian officials. The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the discussions, also said it is important for civilian preservations to be spared, in line with international humanitarian law.
France has been working to help locate or liberate French-Israeli citizens believed held hostage by Hamas.
HEZBOLLAH TV REPORTS EXCHANGE OF FIRE WITH ISRAELI TROOPS
BEIRUT — Hezbollah’s TV station has reported an intense exchange of fire along Lebanon’s border with Israeli positions in a disputed area along the border with Syria’s Israeli-occupied Golan Heights.
Al-Manar TV reported that Hezbollah fighters pounded Israeli positions in the Chebaa Farms and Kfar Chouba hills area on Saturday.
It was the latest exchange of shelling between Israeli troops and Hezbollah fighters since last Saturday following Hamas’ attack on southern Israel.
Israel’s military said that it was striking Lebanon after coming under fire from Hezbollah.
Chebaa Farms was captured by Israel from Syria during the 1967 Mideast war, but Lebanon considers it and the nearby Kfar Chouba hills as Lebanese territories.
The Golan Heights were annexed by Israel in 1981.
HAMAS SAYS 9 HOSTAGES HAVE BEEN KILLED IN PAST 24 HOURS
BEIRUT — The military wing of Hamas says nine hostages including four foreigners were killed over the past 24 hours as a result of the Israeli bombardment of the Gaza Strip.
The Qassam Brigades said Saturday the hostages were killed when Israel’s military bombarded areas where they were being held.
The announcement came a day after the group said 13 hostages it is holding were killed in bombardment, raising the total hostages killed to 22.
The claim could not be independently verified.
Hamas fighters took more than 100 people hostage during last Saturday’s attack on southern Israel and military posts surrounding Gaza.
UNRWA SAYS ITS SHELTERS IN GAZA ARE ‘NOT SAFE ANYMORE’
BEIRUT — The U.N. agency for Palestinian refugees is calling on Israeli authorities to protect all civilians sheltering at the agency’s premises across the Gaza strip including those in northern Gaza and Gaza City.
UNRWA said that despite the order to evacuate more than 1 million people from the northern parts of the Gaza Strip and Gaza City to the south, many people — particularly pregnant women, children, older people and people with disabilities — will not be able to flee the area.
“They have no choice and must be protected at all times,” UNRWA said.
UNRWA said its “shelters in Gaza and northern Gaza are not safe anymore. This is unprecedented.”
US EMBASSY IN BAHRAIN TEMPORARILY CLOSED AFTER CALLS FOR PROTEST
CAIRO — The U.S. Embassy in Bahrain’s capital of Manama said it will close its offices between 3 and 5 p.m. local time on Saturday, following calls for a protest in the area.
“Out of an abundance of caution, the U.S. Embassy will be closed to all personnel,” the embassy wrote on X platform, formerly known as Twitter.
It advised U.S. citizens to avoid the area around its premises, and areas with large crowd.
EYGPTIAN HUMANITARIAN AID FOR GAZA ARRIVES IN SINAI
CAIRO — Egyptian charities on Saturday sent over 100 trucks carrying 1,000 tons of humanitarian aid including food and other supplies to the Palestinian people in Gaza, local media reported. The aid will wait in Sinai until a deal is secured with Israel to allow the delivery of aid into the besieged territory.
FOREIGN MINISTERS FROM OIC TO MEET IN SAUDIA ARABIA ABOUT ISRAEL-HAMAS WAR
RIYADH, Saudi Arabia — Saudi Arabia called an urgent meeting of foreign ministers from the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, a 57-member bloc of Muslim countries. The OIC said in a statement Saturday that the meeting will “address the escalating military situation in Gaza and its environs as well as the deteriorating conditions that endanger the lives of civilians and the overall security and stability of the region.”
The meeting will take place on Wednesday in Jeddah.
EGYPTIAN, GERMAN DIPLOMATS MEET TO DISCUSS DETERIORATING SITUATION IN GAZA
CAIRO — Chief diplomats of Egypt and Germany held talks Saturday on the deteriorating “humanitarian and security” situation in Gaza amid ongoing war between Israel and Palestinian militant groups, an Egyptian official said.
Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry received his German counterpart Annalena Baerbock in Cairo for talks that focused on the conflict.
Both officials understand “the necessity of immediate cessation of escalation,” said Ahmed Abu Zaid, spokesman for the Egyptian foreign ministry.
UNICEF CALLS FOR IMMEDIATE CEASE-FIRE AND HUMANITARIAN ACCESS INTO GAZA
BEIRUT — The U.N. children’s agency is calling for an immediate cease-fire and humanitarian access into the Gaza Strip, saying hundreds of thousands of children and their families have started fleeing northern Gaza.
UNICEF said children and families in Gaza have practically run out of food, water, electricity, medicine and safe access to hospitals, following days of hostilities and cuts to all supply routes.
“The situation is catastrophic, with unrelenting bombing and a massive increase in the displacement of children and families. There are no safe places,” said UNICEF Executive Director Catherine Russell.
UNICEF said its staff have continued to respond to the critical needs of children across the Gaza Strip, but access is becoming increasingly difficult and dangerous.
The agency said UNICEF staff will stay in southern Gaza to continue to provide support for children in need.
HOSPITAL PATIENTS SPENT PART OF THE NIGHT ON THE STREET IN GAZA, MEDICAL AID GROUP SAYS
CAIRO — Patients and medical staff of Al Awda Hospital in Gaza spent part of their night on the street “with bombs landing in close proximity,” following Israel’s orders to evacuate the facility, the medical aid group Doctors Without Borders said.
Scott Hamilton, a spokesman for the aid group, which is known as MSF, said some of the medical staff and all patients have been moved to another location.
“But the situation remains extremely complicated and chaotic,” he told The Associated Press. “We call on Israel once again to cease the indiscriminate bloodshed, withdraw their ultimatum.”
RAFAH CROSSING TO OPEN TO ALLOW FOREIGNERS TO EXIT, EGYPTIAN OFFICIALS SAY
CAIRO — Egyptian officials said the southern Rafah crossing would open later Saturday to allow foreigners to exit.
UNRWA SAYS DRINKING WATER FOR GAZA IS A MATTER OF LIFE AND DEATH
BEIRUT — The head of the United Nations agency for Palestinian refugees says hundreds of thousands of people have been displaced over the past 12 hours in the Gaza Strip.
Philippe Lazzarini, UNRWA Commissioner-General, warned that the Gaza Strip is running out of clean water and fuel is urgently needed in order to have safe drinking water.
Lazzarini said in statement that more than 2 million people are at risk as water runs out adding that “it has become a matter of life and death.”
Lazzarini said Gaza’s water plant and public water networks have stopped working and people are now forced to use dirty water from wells, increasing risks of waterborne diseases.
“Nearly 1 million people have been displaced in one week alone,” he said adding that at the U.N. base in the southern Gaza Strip — where UNRWA has moved its operations — drinking water is also running out.
He called for lifting the blockade that Israel imposed on Gaza adding that if drinking water is not available, people will start dying of severe dehydration, among them young children, the elderly and women.
EGYPTIAN AND TURKISH LEADERS CALL FOR END TO VIOLENCE AND DELIVERY OF AID
CAIRO — President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi of Egypt on Saturday discussed the war between Israel and Palestinian militant groups in Gaza with Turkey’s chief diplomat.
A statement from the Egyptian presidency said el-Sissi and Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan agreed that the ongoing escalation threatens the region’s “stability and security, which requires intensive international efforts to immediately cease violence.”
The statement said el-Sissi and Fidan expressed concerns about Israel’s “collective punishment” of the Palestinians in Gaza and called for the delivery of humanitarian aid to the besieged strip.
US NEGOTIATING FOR THE TEMPORARY REOPENING OF BORDER CROSSING
RIYADH, Saudi Arabia — A senior State Department official traveling with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Saturday the U.S. has been trying to negotiate with the Israelis, Egyptians and Qataris on opening the Rafah border crossing to allow foreigners to leave Gaza.
The official said the plan was to open the crossing from noon to 5 p.m. on Saturday. But the official said it isn’t clear if Hamas will allow convoys to get there unimpeded.
He said U.S. officials have been reaching out to Americans known to be in Gaza to let them know.
He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to publicly discuss the negotiations.
— Associated Press writer Matthew Lee contributed to this report from Riyadh.
ISRAEL SAYS IT HIT MILITANTS TRYING TO CROSS FROM LEBANON
JERUSALEM — The Israeli army said Saturday that it had struck militants trying to infiltrate Israel from Lebanon.
The Israel Defence Forces released infrared footage on Friday showing what they say are the strikes on militants attempting to cross the Israel border from Lebanon. It was not clear which group the alleged militants belonged to. On Friday, Hezbollah said its fighters fired several rockets at four Israeli positions along the border and the Israeli army said it had attacked Hezbollah targets with drone strikes.
“The Lebanese government bears responsibility for every attack launched from Lebanon towards our sovereignty. Anyone who tries to cross the border into our lands will be killed,” the Israeli military’s Arabic spokesperson, Avichay Adraee, said in a statement posted on X, formerly known as Twitter.
An Israeli shell landed in a gathering of international journalists covering clashes on the border in south Lebanon on Friday, killing Reuters videographer Issam Abdallah and injuring six other journalists.
Israeli military spokesperson Lt. Col. Richard Hecht told The Associated Press Saturday, “We are aware of the incident with the Reuters journalist and we are looking into it.”
He did not confirm that the journalists had been hit by Israeli shells, but called the incident “tragic,” adding, “We’re very sorry for his death.”
JAPAN SENDS EVACUATION PLANES TO STAND BY IN DJIBOUTI
TOKYO — Japan on Saturday dispatched three defense planes to a military base in Djibouti in East Africa to have them on standby in case of the need to airlift Japanese nationals from Israel and Gaza.
The Self-Defense Force’s Joint Staff said a KC-767 transport and refueling plane left the Komaki Air Base in central Japan on Saturday, while two C-2 transport aircraft left Miho Air Base in western Japan.
Japan maintains a base in Djibouti as part of an anti-piracy mission. The three planes are expected to arrive as early as Sunday to be on stand by in case a plan to evacuate Japanese nationals by a charter flight from Tel Aviv to Dubai becomes difficult due to safety reasons.
The government is reportedly considering options to evacuate Japanese nationals by land if necessary.
Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.
https://www.local10.com/news/2023/10/14/live-updates-day-8-of-the-latest-israel-hamas-war/ Live updates | Day 8 of the latest Israel-Hamas war