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Latest developments in the Israel-Hamas war

04 November 2023, MVT 20:45
Israeli tanks and bulldozers are deployed along the Israel-Gaza border, amid the ongoing battles between Israel and the Palestinian group Hamas on November 4, 2023. -- Photo: Yuri Cortez / AFP
04 November 2023, MVT 20:45

Fighting raged in Gaza on Saturday for a 29th day since Hamas militants stormed across the Israeli border and, according to Israeli officials, killed more than 1,400 people, mostly civilians, and abducted over 240 others.

Since then, Israel has relentlessly bombarded the Gaza Strip and sent in ground troops, with the health ministry in the Hamas-run Palestinian territory saying 9,488 people have been killed, about two-thirds of them women and children.

Here are five key developments from the past 24 hours:

Blinken in Middle East

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken was in Jordan on Saturday for talks with the foreign ministers of five Arab countries and the Palestinian Authority, after visiting Israel in his efforts to secure humanitarian "pauses" in the war.

Blinken is due to visit Turkey on Sunday and Monday, but the State Department has yet to confirm a meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, although members of his entourage expect it.

Turkey has recalled its ambassador from Israel and said it would be breaking off contact with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

UN school, ambulance strikes

The health ministry in Hamas-run Gaza said at least 15 people were killed when Israel struck Al-Fakhura school, operated by the United Nations agency for Palestinian refugees UNRWA in the north of the Palestinian territory.

Thousands of displaced Palestinians were sheltering at the school in Jabalia refugee camp when it was hit, a ministry spokesperson said.

The Palestinian Red Crescent reported at least 15 deaths in an Israeli strike Friday on an ambulance convoy in Gaza City, while Israel accused Hamas of using the vehicles to transport fighters.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said he was "horrified by the reported attack... on an ambulance convoy" and called for the fighting to stop.

South Gaza incursion

The Israeli army said Saturday its forces carried out an overnight "targeted raid" in southern Gaza, where it has struck before but rarely sent in troops.

Soldiers "operated to map out buildings and neutralise explosive devices", the army said without specifying the location.

It said "troops encountered a terrorist cell exiting a tunnel shaft. In response, the troops fired shells toward the terrorists and killed them."

Southern Gaza is where Israel has told civilians to evacuate to for safety from their operations.

Israel strikes Lebanon

The Israeli military said Saturday it had struck "two terrorist cells" and a Hezbollah post in response to attempted firing from Lebanon.

It said it had also responded to mortar fire from Lebanon into northern Israel, where no casualties were reported.

The latest skirmishes came a day after Hassan Nasrallah, leader of Lebanon's powerful Hezbollah movement, warned in a televised speech that the war between Israel and Hamas could turn into a regional conflict.

Evacuations continue

Hundreds of Palestinians and foreigners, including Gazans requiring urgent medical care and dual nationals, were expected to leave Gaza on Saturday for a fourth day of evacuations through the Rafah border crossing with Egypt, according to a list released by the Palestinian border authority.

On Friday, a senior White House official said Hamas had tried to use a US-brokered deal on opening the Rafah crossing on humanitarian grounds to get its fighters out of Gaza.

One-third of the names on a list provided by Hamas of wounded Palestinians for evacuation were those of Hamas members and fighters, the official said.

"That was just unacceptable to Egypt, to us, to Israel," the official added.

© Agence France-Presse

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