Israel-Hamas war live: Egypt condemns Jabalia strikes amid reports Rafah may open to wounded; Gaza internet cut off, says Paltel | Israel-Hamas war

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Key events

Reuters: Power generators in Al Shifa Medical complex and the Indonesian Hospital in Gaza will run out of fuel in a few hours, Ashraf Al-Qidra, spokesperson for the health ministry in Gaza said. He called on petrol stations owners in the enclave to urgently feed the two hospitals with fuel if possible.

After the attack on Jabalia, dozens of bodies lay shrouded in white, lined up against the side of the Indonesian Hospital, footage obtained by Reuters showed.

Wounded Palestinians are brought to receive medical care at Al-Shifa Hospital after Israeli airstrike on El_Nasan building in Gaza City, on 27 October 2023.
Wounded Palestinians are brought to receive medical care at Al-Shifa Hospital after Israeli airstrike on El_Nasan building in Gaza City, on 27 October 2023. Photograph: APAImages/Shutterstock

Juggling dwindling supplies of medicines, power cuts and air or artillery strikes that have shaken hospital buildings, surgeons in Gaza have worked night and day trying to save a constant stream of patients.

“We take it an hour at a time because we don’t know when we will be receiving patients. Several times we’ve had to set up surgical spaces in the corridors and even sometimes in the hospital waiting areas,” Dr. Mohammed al-Run said.

Iran-backed Hamas has told mediators it will release some foreign captives in coming days, Abu Ubaida, the spokesperson of the group’s armed wing, al-Qassam Brigades, said in a video on the Telegram app on Tuesday. He gave no further details on the number of captives or their nationalities.

Nine Israeli soldiers reportedly killed in Gaza

Nine soldiers have been killed in fighting in Gaza, AFP reports, citing the Israeli military. We will have more detail as it emerges.

A little more detail on the internet and phone networks being cut off in Gaza, via AFP.

Internet and phone networks were down across the Gaza Strip on Wednesday, the Palestinian telecommunications agency said, in the second such blackout in GAza in less than a week.

“To our good people in the beloved country, we are sorry to announce that communications and internet services have been completely cut off in Gaza,” the Palestine Telecommunications Company (Paltel) said on X.

Internet and the phone network were completely cut last week, but were restored at the weekend.

The government of Palestinian militant group Hamas had at the time accused Israel of causing the shutdown in order to “perpetrate massacres” in the Gaza Strip.

Palestinian telecoms provider Jawwal had blamed Israel‘s “heavy bombardment” of the territory for the blackout.

Top Biden officials urge Congress to pass funding for Israel and Ukraine

The Biden administration took its quest for emergency military aid for Israel and Ukraine to Capitol Hill on Tuesday in an all-out effort to overcome House Republican attempts to decimate a $106bn package while cutting key parts of the White House’s domestic policy.

In a stormy session interrupted several times by demonstrators, the US secretary of state, Antony Blinken, and defense secretary Lloyd Austin, told a Senate hearing that assistance to both countries was closely linked and should not be decoupled, as demanded by leading Republicans who are keen to back Israel but oppose any further help for Ukraine.

Blinken and Austin said this after Mike Johnson, the new right-wing speaker of the House of Representatives, introduced a bill proposing that aid be limited to $14.3bn for Israel and linked to budget cuts for the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), the US tax authority, which the Biden administration has beefed up as part of its Inflation Reduction Act.

The legislation would also make no provision for continuing to help Ukraine as it tries to repel Russian forces.

Blinken to visit Israel as US seeks ‘urgent’ steps to ease regional tensions

AFP: Top US diplomat Antony Blinken will begin a new Middle East trip this week, a spokesperson announced Tuesday, as President Joe Biden seeks “urgent mechanisms” to reduce regional tensions over the Israel-Hamas war.

“Secretary Blinken will travel to Israel on Friday for meetings with members of the Israeli government, and then will make other stops in the region,” State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller said, without further details.

The White House said later that Biden had spoken Tuesday with the leader of key US partner Jordan, where Blinken has visited multiple times since 7 October.

Relatives of Palestinians who died in the Israeli airstrikes mourn their loved ones at Al-Aqsa Hospital in Gaza City, Gaza on 31 October 2023.
Relatives of Palestinians who died in the Israeli airstrikes mourn their loved ones at Al-Aqsa Hospital in Gaza City, Gaza on 31 October 2023. Photograph: Anadolu Agency/Anadolu/Getty Images

Biden and King Abdullah II “discussed urgent mechanisms to stem violence, calm rhetoric, and reduce regional tensions,” a White House statement said.

It added that the two leaders “agreed that it is critical to ensure that Palestinians are not forcibly displaced outside of Gaza” and that Biden had “confirmed unwavering US support for Jordan and His Majesty’s leadership.”

Blinken on Tuesday also spoke with Israeli President Isaac Herzog to reiterate US support for Israel’s right to defend itself and to call on the nation “to take feasible precautions to minimise harm to civilians,” the State Department’s Miller said in a separate statement.

Gaza internet cut off, says Paltel

Palestinian telecommunications company Paltel says that there is another “complete interruption of all communications and Internet services with the Gaza Strip.”

Writing on twitter it said that international routes have been cut off.

The tweet reads: “Dear people in our beloved homeland, We regret to announce a complete interruption of all communications and Internet services with the Gaza Strip, due to international routes that were previously reconnected being cut off again. May God protect you and protect our country.”

Gaza’s internet access was cut off on Friday, plunging Palestinains into a communications blackout and creating an information vacuum amid was then the heaviest aerial bombardment of the war so far.

A handful of reports that emerged from the enclave on Saturday depicted chaos and anguish as paramedic teams and aid agencies struggled to coordinate rescue and relief efforts and families sought news about relatives.

Egypt condemns Jabalia strikes amid reports Rafah may open to wounded

Egypt on Tuesday condemned the Israeli strikes on Jabalia camp “in the strongest terms”, warning against “the consequences of the continuation of these indiscriminate attacks that target defenceless civilians” in a foreign ministry statement.

Egypt is preparing to treat wounded Palestinians from the bombarded Gaza Strip starting Wednesday, with the opening of a border crossing to people after weeks of war, medical and security sources told AFP.

Egypt is reportedly preparing to receive wounded Palestinians from the Gaza through the Rafah border crossing for medical treatment, medical and security sources said on Tuesday.

“Medical teams will be present tomorrow (Wednesday) at the crossing to examine the cases coming (from Gaza) as soon as they arrive… and determine the hospitals they will be sent to,” a medical official in Egypt‘s city of El Arish told AFP.

Ambulances are seen on the day of Egyptian Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly's visit to the Rafah border crossing between Egypt and the Gaza Strip, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, in Rafah, Egypt, 31 October 2023.
Ambulances are seen on the day of Egyptian Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly’s visit to the Rafah border crossing between Egypt and the Gaza Strip, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, in Rafah, Egypt, 31 October 2023. Photograph: Mohamed Abd El Ghany/Reuters

An AFP photographer on Tuesday saw a large number of ambulances gathered at the Egyptian side of the crossing.

The border authority in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip said that Egypt had agreed to let in 81 of the most badly wounded on Wednesday through Rafah, the only crossing not controlled by Israel.

A security source at the Rafah crossing confirmed the information, which was earlier reported by the state-affiliated Al-Qahera news channel.

The medical official added that a field hospital with an area of 1,300 square metres (about 14,000 square feet) would be built to receive the wounded Palestinians in the city of Sheikh Zuweid in northern Sinai, about 15 kilometres (nine miles) from Rafah.

Opening summary

This is the Guardian’s live coverage of the Israel-Hamas war with me, Helen Sullivan.

Our top stories this morning:

Egypt on Tuesday condemned the Israeli strikes on Jabalia camp “in the strongest terms”, warning against “the consequences of the continuation of these indiscriminate attacks that target defenceless civilians” in a foreign ministry statement.

Egypt is reportedly preparing to receive wounded Palestinians from the Gaza through the Rafah border crossing for medical treatment, medical and security sources said on Tuesday.

“Medical teams will be present tomorrow (Wednesday) at the crossing to examine the cases coming (from Gaza) as soon as they arrive… and determine the hospitals they will be sent to,” a medical official in Egypt‘s city of El Arish told AFP.

An AFP photographer on Tuesday saw a large number of ambulances gathered at the Egyptian side of the crossing.

And Palestine Telecommunication Company, or Paltel, said on Wednesday in a post on messaging platform X that communications and internet services have been completely cut off in the Gaza Strip due to international access being disconnected again.

Paltel is Gaza’s largest telecommunications provider.

Other key recent developments include:

  • Bolivia said on Tuesday it had broken diplomatic ties with Israel because of its attacks on the Gaza Strip, while neighbours Colombia and Chile recalled their ambassadors to the Middle Eastern country for consultations. The three South American nations lambasted Israel’s attacks on Gaza and condemned the deaths of Palestinian citizens.

  • Israeli airstrikes have destroyed apartment blocks and killed dozens of people at a refugee camp in northern Gaza. At least six airstrikes hit residential areas in the Jabalia refugee camp on Gaza City’s outskirts on Tuesday, killing more than 50 people and injuring about 150 people, Hamas officials said. Médecins Sans Frontières said it was “horrified” by the news.

  • The Israeli military said it had targeted the camp to kill Ibrahim Biari – a key Hamas commander linked to the group’s 7 October attack on Israel who, it said, had taken over civilian buildings in Gaza City with his fighters.

  • At least 8,525 Palestinians, including 3,542 children, have been killed in bombardments in Gaza, according to Hamas health ministry figures issued before the strikes on Jabalia. Gaza has become “a graveyard for thousands of children,” a Unicef spokesperson said.

  • The United States has made “real progress” in the last few hours in negotiations to secure a safe passage for Americans and other foreigners who wish to depart Gaza, US state department spokesperson Matthew Miller said on Tuesday. “While I can’t make an announcement today, we do think we’ve made very real progress on this as I said in just the past few hours,” Miller told a news briefing.

  • Qatar’s foreign ministry has “strongly condemned” the Israeli strike on Jabalia refugee camp, warning that the expansion of Israel’s attacks is a “dangerous escalation” that would “undermine mediation and de-escalation efforts”.

  • Two French children have been killed in the north of the Gaza Strip, France’s foreign ministry said on Tuesday. The ministry reiterated its call for a humanitarian pause in the fighting and demanded that French nationals and foreign citizens to be allowed to leave Gaza.

  • The Israel Defence Forces and Hamas reported fresh clashes on Tuesday, especially around Gaza City, where Israeli tanks and infantry targeted tunnel entrances and rocket launch positions. Hamas fighters responded with machine guns and missiles. The IDF said they struck about 300 targets since Monday, hitting Hamas military compounds and killing “numerous” militants, including Nisam Abu Ajina, the commander of Hamas’s Beit Lahiya battalion.

  • The Israeli military is making “significant” achievements during the ground operation in the Gaza Strip but it is also “paying a heavy price”, said the defence minister, Yoav Gallant. The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) separately said that two soldiers had been killed and another two seriously wounded during clashes with Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip on Tuesday.

  • The US and Israel are considering the possibility of a multinational force that could include American, UK, French troops in the Gaza Strip, in the event that Israeli forces are successful in ousting Hamas, according to a report. US and Israeli officials have also reportedly discussed a second option that would establish a peacekeeping force or a third option that would see Gaza put under temporary UN oversight.

  • Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthis said they have launched a “large number” of ballistic missiles and drones towards Israel. The group’s military spokesperson, Yahya Saree, said in a televised statement on Tuesday that this operation is the third targeting Israel, with more to come.

  • The conflict has claimed the lives of 67 workers from the UN Palestinian refugee agency (UNRWA), complicating efforts to run 150 shelters that are overwhelmed with more than 670,000 displaced people. About 8,000 people are sheltering at – and clogging – a logistics base at Rafah.

  • The UN’s secretary general, António Guterres, reiterated his call for an immediate ceasefire and urged all sides to respect international humanitarian law. He said he was “dismayed by reports that two-thirds of those who have been killed are women and children.”

  • Benjamin Netanyahu’s government has ruled out a ceasefire and said the campaign to eradicate Hamas could last months. Israeli forces sought to avoid civilian casualties and encouraged civilians to relocate to “protected areas” in the south where they could receive food, water and medicine, said Tzachi Hanegbi, Israel’s national security adviser.

  • The Rafah border crossing will be opened on Wednesday for a number of injured Palestinians to complete their treatment in Egyptian hospitals, according to reports. Eighty-one Gazans with serious injuries will enter Egypt to receive treatment, the General Authority for Crossings and Borders in Gaza said.

  • The US state department has confirmed that the secretary of state, Antony Blinken, will visit Israel on Friday for meetings with members of the government. Earlier this month, Blinken visited Israel, Jordan, Qatar, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt.

  • A World Health Organization (WHO) official said a “public health catastrophe” was imminent in Gaza amid overcrowding, mass displacement and damage to water and sanitation infrastructure. At the same press briefing, a spokesperson for the UN children’s agency warned of the risk of infant deaths due to dehydration with just 5% of normal water supplies available.

  • Hamas’s armed wing said on Tuesday that it would release a number of the foreign hostages in its captivity “in the next few days”. The Israeli military has raised the number of hostages it says are confirmed to be being held in Gaza by Hamas to 240. Hamas has so far released four hostages back to Israel.

  • The head of Israel’s national security council has said that he does not see a deal for the release of hostages being close. Tzachi Hanegbi also said that “the day after the war is not close” and that Hamas “must cease to exist”.

  • The director of the New York office of the UN high commissioner for human rights has resigned from his post, protesting that the UN is “failing” in its duty to prevent what he categorises as genocide of Palestinian civilians in Gaza under Israeli bombardment and citing the US, UK and much of Europe as “wholly complicit in the horrific assault”.

  • The attack by Hamas on Israel on 7 October will inspire the most significant terror threat to the US since the rise of Islamic State (IS) nearly a decade ago, FBI director Christopher Wray said at a congressional hearing in Washington on Tuesday.



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