“We will deepen our attacks to minimise the dangers to our forces in the next stages of the war. We are going to increase the attacks, from today,” an Israeli Defence Forces spokesperson said.
After days of geopolitical efforts, the Rafah border crossing between Egypt and Gaza finally opened on Saturday to allow desperately needed aid flow to Palestinians for the first time since Israel sealed off the territory.
But the Palestinian Red Crescent Society warned that, while the first 20 trucks of aid offered “a welcomed glimpse of hope”, they “represent “a drop in the ocean” of what is needed.
The enclave’s 2.3 million Palestinians have been rationing food and drinking filthy water, while hospitals say they are running low on medical supplies and fuel for emergency generators amid a territory-wide power blackout.
UN agencies urge ceasefire in new joint statement
Full report: Trucks carrying aid and coffins enter Gaza for first time
Gaza death toll rises to 4,385, says Palestinian health ministry
Father of American teen hostage freed by Hamas says she is 'doing very good'
Number of people held hostage in Gaza is 210, says Israeli military
Israel vows to intensify attacks as ‘266 Palestinians killed'
15:03 , Tara Cobham
Gaza's Health Ministry said 266 Palestinians, including 117 children, had been killed by Israeli air strikes in the past 24 hours in the enclave, to which Israel laid "total siege" after a deadly mass infiltration into Israel by Hamas gunmen on 7 October.
Israeli Defence Forces spokesman, Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari, said the country planned to step up its airstrikes starting Saturday as they prepare for an imminent ground invasion of the territory.
“We will deepen our attacks to minimize the dangers to our forces in the next stages of the war. We are going to increase the attacks, from today,” Hagari said.
Gaza’s Health Ministry said on Sunday that Israel’s air and missile strikes in retaliation had killed at least 4,741 and wounded 15,898, with over a million of the tiny, densely populated enclave’s 2.3 million people displaced.
Israeli soldier killed during raid into Gaza Strip, IDF says
19:02 , Andy Gregory
An Israeli soldier was killed by an anti-tank missile on Sunday during a raid into the Gaza Strip, the Israeli military said.
Israeli troops have been conducting raids across the border, which the military says are meant to clear the area and gather intelligence about missing people and captives being held by militant group Hamas in the enclave.
“An IDF soldier was killed, one was moderately injured, and two were lightly injured as a result of an anti-tank missile launched toward an IDF tank and an engineering vehicle,” the Israeli military said.
British-born man tells of sister-in-law’s killing in Hamas attack
18:17 , Tara Cobham
A British-born man has told of discovering his sister-in-law had been killed in the Hamas attack on Israel as he and his wife hid from the militants in their home.
David, a teacher who was born and grew up in Leeds, said he was woken up at 6.30am on 7 October to the sound of rocket strikes and “shooting from all sides” in his kibbutz.
Speaking at a rally in central London, his voice broke as he told of receiving two phone calls from his eldest son and his daughter who were both also under attack in Israel with their families.
He said he expressed his concern to his wife about her sister Naomi, who usually goes for a run on Shabbat morning.
The pair sheltered in their bomb-proof room for hours and when they emerged the following afternoon news filtered through that Naomi had been killed, he said. “She went for a run and was shot in the back and head from zero range.”
When he and his wife finally managed to escape their kibbutz, he said: “I got to the gate of the kibbutz, and there were bodies everywhere and cars riddled with bullets. I said to my wife, ‘Don’t look.’ But how could you not look? There’s nowhere, no place you can’t look. Death everywhere.”
Appealing to the British government, he said: “Bring back our families, our children.”
Family confirms missing British teenager killed in Hamas attack, reports BBC
17:51 , Tara Cobham
The family of a missing British teenager has now confirmed she was killed in the Hamas attack on Israel, the BBC has reported.
Noiya Sharabi, 16, and her 13-year-old sister Yahel disappeared after the militants’ massacre at Kibbutz Be’eri on 7 October, in which their British-born mother Lianne was killed.
After Yahel’s death was confirmed last week, the sisters’ British family confirmed Noiya’s death to the BBC on Sunday, saying that she has now been formally identified.
Paying tribute to the teenager, they told the broadcaster: "Noiya was clever, sensitive, fun and full of life - her smile lit up the room like a beacon."
“[She] embraced every opportunity to help others, particularly those less fortunate than she, and was a gifted student and linguist.
“Most importantly, she was an amazing granddaughter, cousin and niece. We are heartbroken she has gone, but forever grateful she was here.”
The sisters’ father Eli is still missing, while other relatives have been kidnapped.
The family described Yahel as "a bundle of energy" who loved "riding her bike at breakneck speed around the kibbutz, playing football, singing and dancing to Tik Tok and YouTube with sister, Noiya, and, on occasions her British cousins".
Watch: Gove says Jewish community ‘must be protected’ at London rally
17:35 , Tara Cobham
‘Britain stands with Israel,’ Michael Gove tells London rally
17:29 , Tara Cobham
Michael Gove has told a rally in central London “Israel must stand strong and Britain stands with Israel”.
The Communities Secretary told the the “solidarity rally” in Trafalgar Square: “There are no words to describe the suffering of families who have seen their relatives butchered in front of them and relatives who who live in hope that those who were living peacefully in their homes just two weeks ago and are now in a Hamas dungeon should be freed. No words can sum up the evil of those responsible for these acts.
“But words matter and promises matter and world made a promise 75 years ago, never again.
“And what did we see a fortnight ago? The biggest most horrific slaughter of Jewish people since the Holocaust, carried out by terrorists, an act of evil unparalleled evil and barbarism. We must stand together against it. We must stand for life. We must bring the hostages home.
“There is a difference between now and 1945 and that difference is the Jewish people have a home, they have a nation. That nation was born in hope to uphold humanities greatest virtues.”
He added: “The IDF are there to protect civilians. Hamas exist to slaughter civilians.”
Watch: Families of Hamas hostages ask for their release in London rally
17:16 , Tara Cobham
Aunt tells of nephews, 9 months and 4, taken hostage with parents
17:13 , Tara Cobham
An aunt has told of how her nine-month-old and four-year-old nephews were taken hostage by Hamas along with their parents.
Speaking at a rally in central London, she told of how her brother Yarden Silberman-Bibas was “terrified”, messaging her in the moments before he and his family - his wife Shiri, and their children Kfir, nine months, and Ariel, 4 - were abducted.
Speaking through tears, she said he texted, “I love you,” because they never thought they would see each other again - and she has not heard from him since.
She said she saw a photo of her “bleeding and hurt” brother with “a terrorist holding a hammer and hitting him on the head”, while she saw footage of her nephews being kidnapped.
Calling on the British government to bring the families safely home, she said, “We miss them. We want them back.”
Israel has ‘no intent’ to govern Gaza, says US Secretary of State
17:10 , Tara Cobham
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has said Israel has “absolutely no intent” to govern Gaza once the war is over.
He told NBC’s Meet the Press that Israel “can’t go back to the status quo. … Something needs to be found that ensures Hamas can’t do this again, but that also doesn’t revert to Israeli governance of Gaza”.
WATCH: Israel has “absolutely no intent” to govern Gaza once the war is over, @SecBlinken says.
Israel “can’t go back to the status quo. … Something needs to be found that ensures Hamas can’t do this again, but that also doesn’t revert to Israeli governance of Gaza.” pic.twitter.com/zCMr3pzqnd
— Meet the Press (@MeetThePress) October 22, 2023
British-Israeli woman’s ‘horror and pain’ as brother and mother taken hostage
16:53 , Tara Cobham
A British-Israeli woman has spoken of the “horror and pain” that engulfed her as she realised her brother and mother had been taken hostage by Hamas while her other brother had been killed.
Speaking at a rally in central London, Ayelet Svatitzky said her brother Nadav Popplewell, 51, and their mother, Channah Peri, 79 were abducted by the militants on 7 October.
“It’s hard to put into words the horror and pain that engulfed me as I realised what was happening,” she said.
She said her 54-year-old brother was initially missing before his body was found behind his house the following day. “He was murdered by Hamas terrorists,” she said.
“These are crimes against humanity. They are an attempt to break the Jewish people and state, but instead they have brought us all together in solidarity.
“The world must hear our plea: release the hostages now. This is a human rights issue.
“My family should be with me now.”
Current situation in Gaza is ‘catastrophic’, says UN director
16:50 , Tara Cobham
The executive director of the United Nations World Food Programme has described the current situation in Gaza as “catastrophic”.
“The situation is catastrophic in Gaza right now. There has been no food, no water, no electricity," Cindy McCain told ABC.
“The situation is catastrophic in Gaza right now. There has been no food, no water, no electricity," executive director of the United Nations World Food Programme Cindy McCain tells @JonKarl as first trucks of humanitarian aid arrive in Gaza. https://t.co/KInxWHwCkT pic.twitter.com/nRQUfexJIa
— This Week (@ThisWeekABC) October 22, 2023
US upping military presence in Middle East, says Defence Secretary
16:30 , Tara Cobham
The US Defence Secretary has said the US is upping its military presence in the Middle East in the face of “significant escalation of attacks on our troops and our people throughout the region”.
The US “won’t hesitate to take the appropriate action,” Lloyd Austin told ABC.
After U.S. strengthens defense posture in the Middle East, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin tells @JonKarl that officials are concerned about the “prospect of a significant escalation of attacks on our troops and our people throughout the region.” https://t.co/KInxWHwCkT pic.twitter.com/WxJV7f89ue
— This Week (@ThisWeekABC) October 22, 2023
‘Every day that they are kept captive is like a knife in our hearts'
16:24 , Tara Cobham
The Board of Deputies of British Jews has introduced the speakers at a rally being held calling for the safe return of the hostages taken by Hamas.
President Marie van der Zyl said: “Every day that they are kept captive is like a knife in our hearts.”
“Friends we stand here today united to say bring them home.”
She concluded: “The people of Israel live.”
Huge crowds gather for rally calling for safe return of hostages
16:17 , Tara Cobham
Huge crowds have gathered in central London for a rally calling for the safe return of the Israeli hostages taken by Hamas.
Family members of the men, women, elderly, and children taken hostage are set to speak at the Solidarity Rally on Sunday afternoon, while the names of all those who remain missing will be read out.
The Israeli Ambassador Tzipi Hotovely is among the speakers sharing “heartfelt messages about the significance of this gathering and the urgent need for the hostages to be returned immediately”.
Chants of “bring them home” could be heard from the crowds as they gathered at 4pm in Trafalgar Square.
‘This is collective punishment’, says ActionAid as Israel steps up strikes on Gaza
16:10 , Tara Cobham
ActionAid has said fears for the lives of thousands of people including its own staff, volunteers and local partner organisations, after the Israeli military announced its intention to step up strikes on Gaza.
In a statement, the humanitarian organisation said: “Yesterday we felt a glimmer of hope as aid finally arrived into Gaza. Today, we are once again in despair. This is collective punishment of thousands of women, men and children who are desperate to live their lives in peace.”
“What good is 20 trucks of humanitarian supplies if the attacks are stepped up simultaneously? These trucks represented a moment of reprieve for the Palestinian people. The trucks were not seized or diverted, yet now we hear threats of intensified strikes on Gaza. that will place ever more pressure on the south of the territory.
“Even at this late stage we urge Israel to step down from this escalation and to put humanity first. One horror cannot justify another, and we continue to call for an immediate ceasefire and an end to the ever-escalating violence.”
Coogan condemns Hamas attacks while defending pro-Palestine letter
15:50 , Tara Cobham
Steve Coogan has condemned Hamas while defending his signature on an open letter calling for a Gaza ceasefire.
Earlier this week, more than two thousand cultural figures, including Coogan, Tilda Swinton and Miriam Margolyes, accused the government of “not only tolerating war crimes but aiding and abetting them” in the wake of the Israel-Hamas conflict.
The letter, which was also been signed by directors Mike Leigh, Asif Kapadia and Michael Winterbottom, Outlander star Sam Heughan as well as comedians Josie Long and Frankie Boyle, was written by Artists for Palestine UK.
Jacob Stolworthy reports:
Families of Israelis killed or taken hostage make emotional pleas
15:30 , Bel Trew in Tel Aviv
Israeli families of those killed or taken hostage by Hamas have issued heartfelt pleas to stop the “destruction of Gaza” and work towards “long-lasting peace”.
Israel has launched its heaviest-ever bombardment of Gaza and imposed a crippling “total siege” after Hamas militants launched an unprecedented bloody cross-border attack on multiple Israeli communities and a music festival two weeks ago.
More than 1,400 people were killed in the onslaught and at least 212 people were taken hostages, including children, the elderly and foreign citizens. Only two have been released so far: an American-Israeli mother and daughter who were permitted to leave via Egypt in a deal brokered by Qatar on Friday night.
Read more here:
Doctor in Gaza tells of ‘bodies lined up outside hospital'
15:28 , Tara Cobham
A doctor working in an emergency room Gaza has told of “bodies lined up outside the hospital being put into ice cream vans until the space is found to bury them”.
In a voice note to ActionAid on Sunday, they said: “I am speaking as a witness from the emergency room after 16 days facing disaster. I have volunteered in all of the wars on Gaza. But the ferocity of this attack, I have not witnessed.
“The only people being targeted are unarmed innocent civilians, the majority being women and children. The bodies are lined up outside the hospital being put into ice cream van until the space is found to bury them.”â¯
Israeli forces kill 6 Palestinians in West Bank, says Palestinian ministry
15:15 , Tara Cobham
Israeli forces killed six Palestinians in the occupied West Bank on Sunday, bringing the number of deaths to 91 since 7 October, the Palestinian health ministry said on Sunday.
Archbishop of Canterbury condemns bombing of civilians in Gaza and calls for ceasefire
15:10 , Natalie Crockett
The Archbishop of Canterbury has condemned the bombing of civilians in Gaza and stressed the urgent need for a ceasefire and the setting up of a humanitarian aid corridor into the territory under siege from Israel.
Speaking in Jerusalem, Justin Welby called for an end to the bloodshed in which thousands have been killed amid fear of the death toll rising drastically in an impending land war.
Intensive air strikes on Gaza by Israel have resulted in 4,651 deaths, according to Palestinian authorities. This follows the massacre by Hamas fighters claiming almost 1,400 lives and the abduction of 200 people who are being held hostage.
The Archbishop gave a sermon at the Eucharist Service at the Cathedral of St George in Jerusalem on Sunday calling for peace. Speaking afterwards he said: “All bombings of civilians is wrong. We have called for a ceasefire and safe humanitarian passage.
Read more from Kim Sengupta here:
Home Office reviewing visas of people spreading hate, says minister
14:50 , Tara Cobham
The Home Office is reviewing cases where it may revoke visas from those found to have spread hate or supported proscribed terrorist groups, the immigration minister has said after encouraging police forces to refer such incidents in the wake of the Israel-Hamas conflict and related protests.
Robert Jenrick said people who "spread hate", antisemitism, or support proscribed terrorist organisations like Hamas "have no place in this country" and should have their visas revoked if they meet the necessary legal threshold.
On Friday, Mr Jenrick wrote to police forces saying that, since Hamas militants entered and attacked Israel on October 7, police forces have "undertaken numerous arrests as a result of pockets of disorder, violence and hate", and that it is unacceptable for people to support terrorism and "intimidate" communities.
"A number of those identified in the past fortnight have been individuals who are currently in the UK with temporary leave - for instance on student, work or visit visas," he said.
Police forces are encouraged to use existing referral mechanisms in such cases, with Mr Jenrick saying: "The Home Office will not hesitate to enforce the law and revoke the visas of such individuals where their presence in the UK is not conducive to the public good."
Trucks at Rafah border as more aid expected to pass into Gaza
14:35 , Tara Cobham
Footage shows trucks at the Rafah border crossing on Sunday 22 October as more humanitarian aid is expected to pass into Gaza.
The first convoy to be sent to the besieged Gaza Strip since war broke out arrived through the Rafah crossing on Saturday, after wrangling over conditions for delivering relief left it stranded in Egypt.
The United Nations said the 20-truck convoy included life-saving supplies that would be received by the Palestinian Red Crescent.
But the Society warned that, while the first trucks of aid offered “a welcomed glimpse of hope”, they “represent “a drop in the ocean” of what is needed.
Oliver Browning reports:
Ed Davey: ‘UK should be leading efforts to secure a ceasefire’
14:22 , Archie Mitchell, Political Correspondent
Sir Ed Davey has called for Rishi Sunak to call for a ceasefire to allow essential supplies into Gaza and provide an opportunity for the hostages to be released.
The Liberal Democrat leader is the first major party leader to call for such a ceasefire since Israel’s bombardment of Gaza began.
He joins Archbishop of Canterbury and UN Secretary General António Guterres in calling for the ceasefire.
Sir Ed said: “The humanitarian crisis in Gaza is horrifying. To prevent a catastrophe, it is essential that food, water and medicine can reach the people who need them – most of whom are women and children. It is also vital that the hostages are unconditionally released.
“Hamas’s evil attacks have claimed far too many innocent lives already. Israel unquestionably has the right to protect its citizens and target these brutal terrorists, in line with international law, and the world has a duty to prevent more needless civilian deaths.
“The UK should be leading international efforts to secure an immediate pause in hostilities in the form of a temporary humanitarian ceasefire, to allow for the hostages to be released and to get aid into Gaza.”
Netanyahu says Gaza war is 'do or die’ for Israel
14:08 , Natalie Crockett
Israel’s prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned Hezbollah on Sunday against opening a second war front with Israel.
He said doing so would bring Israeli counter-strikes of “unimaginable” magnitude that would wreak “devastation” upon Lebanon.
In an official transcript of a briefing Netanyahu gave Israeli commandos near the Lebanese border, he also said: “I cannot tell you right now if Hezbollah will decide to enter the (Gaza) war fully.”
That war, launched after a devastating cross-border attack by Hamas on Oct 7, was “do or die” for Israel, he said.
Government to speak to Met over ‘Jihad’ chant video
13:45 , Tara Cobham
Chanting “Jihad” on the streets of London is “inciting terrorist violence” and the Government will speak to the Metropolitan Police about its decision not to act over a video showing protesters, a Cabinet minister has said.
The force said no offences were identified in a video of a Hizb ut-Tahrir Britain protest showing a man chanting “Jihad”.
Immigration minister Robert Jenrick said “a lot of people” will find the Met’s analysis “surprising”, adding: “That’s something that we intend to raise with them and to discuss this incident with them.”
Ben Hatton reports:
Former BBC boss on Israel reporting
13:15 , Tara Cobham
A former director general of the BBC has defended the corporation’s reporting, saying that the broadcaster “always gets attacked” when covering conflict.
The BBC has been criticised by senior Conservative MPs and the Israeli president over its coverage of the conflict in Israel and Gaza.
Greg Dyke told Sky News programme Sunday Morning With Trevor Phillips: “At times of crisis, the BBC always gets attacked by both sides, always.”
Charlotte McLaughlin reports:
Further 17 aid trucks allowed to enter Gaza, reports Egyptian media
12:50 , Tara Cobham
A convoy of 17 aid trucks was allowed to enter Gaza from Egypt on Sunday, Egypt's state-run media reported, the second shipment into the territory since Israel imposed a complete siege two weeks ago. On Saturday, 20 trucks entered. Associated Press journalists at the crossing saw seven fuel trucks enter Gaza on Sunday, but did not see any more deliveries.
Relief workers said far more was needed to address the spiraling humanitarian crisis in Gaza, where half the territory's 2.3 million people have fled their homes. The UN humanitarian agency, known as OCHA, said Saturday's convoy carried about 4 per cent of an average day's imports before the war and "a fraction of what is needed after 13 days of complete siege."
‘Everything’s gone’ in home burnt by Hamas, says British-Israeli
12:48 , Tara Cobham
A British-Israeli man whose home was completely destroyed by Hamas has said it is a “very tough pill to swallow” to accept that “everything’s gone”.
Worcestershire-born graphic designer Ben King, 52, and his wife Meyrav, 52, spent 12 hours lying on the floor of their safe room in Kibbutz Be’eri, southern Israel, after Hamas stormed the area. They escaped after Israeli forces arrived in the area.
The couple and their children Jon, 23, and Shalev, 19, as well as Jon’s girlfriend Leila, 21, have been evacuated to a hotel on the Dead Sea in Israel, where they are sheltering with others who have fled the conflict.
Hannah Cottrell reports:
At least 130 premature babies at grave risk in Gaza, says WHO
12:04 , Tara Cobham
Hospitals in Gaza are packed with patients and displaced people are running low on medical supplies and fuel for generators, forcing doctors to perform surgeries with sewing needles, using vinegar as disinfectant, and without anesthesia.
The World Health Organization says at least 130 premature babies are at "grave risk" because of a shortage of generator fuel. It said seven hospitals in northern Gaza have been forces to shut down due to damage from strikes, lack of power and supplies, or Israeli evacuation orders.
Shortages in critical supplies, including ventilators, are forcing doctors to ration treatment, said Dr Mohammed Qandeel, who works in Khan Younis' Nasser Hospital. Dozens of patients continue to arrive and are treated in crowded, darkened corridors, as hospitals preserve electricity for intensive care units and incubators for newborns.
"It's heartbreaking," said Qandeel. "Everyday, if we receive 10 severely injured patients we have to manage with maybe three or five ICU beds available."
US beefing up military presence
11:33 , Tara Cobham
US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said Washington would send more military assets to the Middle East in support of Israel and strengthen the US defence posture in the region following "recent escalations by Iran and its proxy forces" - a reference to Hezbollah and Palestinian Islamist militants.
A Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system and additional Patriot air defence missile system battalions will be sent to the region and more troops put on standby, Austin said.
Washington has already deployed a significant amount of naval power to the Middle East in recent weeks, including two aircraft carriers, their support ships and about 2,000 Marines.
Former Israeli PM Naftali Bennett slams BBC during live interview
11:00 , Tara Cobham
Former Israeli prime minister, Naftali Bennett, slammed the BBC during an interview with the broadcaster on Sunday morning (22 October).
Speaking to Victoria Derbyshire, Mr Bennett accused the corporation of “taking the side” of Gaza.
“From the very beginning of this interview, you are asking me about them. It seems that you care little about our side,” he said, as Ms Derbyshire denied the claim.
“You care only about one side, but that is the BBC way. Let me tell you something, we are here protecting you, we don’t need your protection.
“The BBC is lacking moral clarity... shame on you.”
Oliver Browning reports:
‘Chanting Jihad on streets incites terrorist violence’, says minister
10:45 , Tara Cobham
Chanting "Jihad" on the streets of London is "inciting terrorist violence", a Cabinet minister has said.
The Metropolitan Police said no offences were identified in a video of a Hizb ut-Tahrir Britain protest showing a man chanting "Jihad".
Immigration minister Robert Jenrick was asked about the incident and wider concerns around protests related to the Israel-Hamas conflict on Sky's Sunday Morning With Trevor Phillips.
He said: "Chanting 'Jihad' on the streets of London is completely reprehensible and I never want to see scenes like that. It is inciting terrorist violence and it needs to be tackled with the full force of the law.
"Ultimately, it's an operational matter for the police and the CPS (Crown Prosecution Service) whether to press charges."
Steve Coogan condemns Hamas’s attacks following criticism
10:30 , Tara Cobham
Actor Steve Coogan has said he condemns Hamas's attacks on Israel following criticism over an open letter he signed calling for a ceasefire in Gaza and for the government to "end their military and political support for Israel's action".
More than 2,000 actors and musicians signed the letter but it was criticised for not mentioning Hamas and the attacks on Israeli citizens.
In a statement on Sunday, Coogan said: "I do of course condemn the recent Hamas terrorist attacks on Israel; their deliberate murder of civilians and their taking of hostages. All right thinking people do.
"The Jewish people have been uniquely the target of hate and prejudice for millennia and anyone who cares about human rights should be vigilant and call it out when they encounter it."
He added: "It goes without saying that what Hamas did is evil beyond imagination. It was horrific and brutal.
"It is in no way inconsistent with condemnation of the Hamas atrocity, to express grave concern for the lives and welfare of innocent Palestinian civilians facing a humanitarian disaster, deprived of food, water, medicine fuel and shelter."
‘Starmer believes international law must be respected,’ says Nandy
10:15 , Tara Cobham
Lisa Nandy has insisted Sir Keir Starmer believes international law should be upheld, weeks after the Labour leader said Israel has the “right” to cut off fuel, food and water supplies to the people of Gaza.
Sir Keir’s comments, in an interview with LBC, sparked fury among the Labour left and sparked the resignation of a series of councillors and local leaders.
Days later Sir Keir sought to clarify the remarks, insisting he meant Israel has the right to self defence, not to “cut off water, food, fuel or medicines”.
Ms Nandy said she was “glad that we've clarified that,” but would not say whether she thinks Israel’s bombardment of Gaza has breached international law.
— LBC (@LBC) October 11, 2023
Lisa Nandy: Gaza crisis ‘threatening to tip into catastrophe’
09:48 , Archie Mitchell, Political Correspondent
Lisa Nandy has said the humanitarian crisis in Gaza is “threatening to tip over into catastrophe”.
The shadow international development minister said the city was in crisis “long before the appalling events of October 7”.
“There's now a humanitarian emergency that is threatening to tip over into catastrophe,” she told the BBC.
Ms Nandy cited incubators being turned off in hospitals which have run out of fuel, and said “we’ve got to make sure that is resolved”.
And, while welcoming the aid trucks which entered Gaza yesterday via the Rafah crossing, she said there is “a real issue about the scale of the aid”.
India sends humanitarian aid to strife-torn Gaza
09:47 , Tara Cobham
India sent out humanitarian aid to war-torn Palestine on Sunday after the Rafah border crossing between Egypt and Gaza finally opened to allow desperately needed help to flow in for the first time since Israel sealed off the territory.
An Indian Air Force C-17 flight flew off from Delhi on Sunday morning carrying nearly 6.5 tonnes of medical aid and 32 tonnes of disaster relief material for the people of Palestine.
The plane will reach the El-Arish airport in Egypt, India’s Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said.
Stuti Mishra reports:
Husam Zomlot: ‘We are certain Al-Ahli hospital bombardment was Israeli'
09:21 , Archie Mitchell, Political Correspondent
Husam Zomlot said Palestinian officials are “certain” the Al-Ahli hospital was bombed by Israeli forces.
Israel has denied involvement in the incident, which killed around 500 people, blaming a rocket misfired by Islamic Jihad, a Palestinian militant group
The Palestinian ambassador to the United Kingdom told Sky News: “A British lawyer now is the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court. His name is Karim Khan.
“And whatever Karim Khan decides, we will accept. We are certain that that was an Israeli bombardment.”
Number of people held hostage in Gaza is 212, says Israel
09:17 , Tara Cobham
The number of people held hostage in Gaza is 212, the Israeli military said on Sunday.
The figure has been updated since the Israeli military said on Saturday that 210 people were being held hostage by Hamas.
Arrests have been made under terrorist legislation
09:13 , Archie Mitchell, Political Correspondent
Robert Jenrick confirmed that there have been arrests under terror legislation since Hamas attacked Israel this month.
The immigration minister warned protesters supporting Palestine that if they incite violence or commit anti-Semitism they can be arrested.
“There have been arrests under terrorist legislation, and we want to do everything that we can to protect British Jews,” he told Sky News.
Jenrick: ‘Priority is getting British nationals out’
09:11 , Tara Cobham
Robert Jenrick has refused to commit to setting up an Afghan-style resettlement scheme for Palestinians displaced by Israel’s bombardment of Gaza.
“For the moment the priority is simply to get British nationals out of Gaza and ensure there is as much humanitarian relief there,” he said.
The immigration minister told Sky News there was “a long way ahead” before more Palestinians would be leaving Gaza.
Robert Jenrick: ‘Israel will use restraint’
09:10 , Archie Mitchell, Political Correspondent
The immigration minister has said he is confident “Israel will use restraint” during an expected ground assault on Gaza.
Robert Jenrick said the country’s army has “already waited for a significant period” before invading the city, while millions evacuated their homes in the north.
“And they will do all they can to protect civilian life,” Mr Jenrick said.
He told Sky News: “This is an immensely challenging situation for them and of course for innocent Palestinians who we want to do everything we can to protect because they are not Hamas, Hamas is using innocent Palestinians for their own political aim.
“What we need Israel to do is to surgically degrade and eradicate Hamas and their infrastructure in the Gaza Strip, so that Palestinians can be free from Hamas and Israel can have the security that it needs.”
Jenrick: ‘We are trying to get British nationals out of Gaza’
09:09 , Archie Mitchell, Political Correspondent
Robert Jenrick said officials are working to secure the exit of British nationals from Gaza, as well as the release of hostages taken by Hamas.
The immigration minister confirmed there are around 10 British nationals being held hostage and Britain is “working closely” with partners in the Middle East to secure their release.
And, regarding British nationals living or staying in Gaza, he told Sky News: “We are keeping in very close contact with them.
“We are trying to work to enable their exit from Gaza if they wish to do so through the Rafah crossing.”
UK minister: ‘Aid to Gaza Welcome first step, but not the end’
09:07 , Archie Mitchell, Political Correspondent
Robert Jenrick has said aid trucks entering Gaza was “a welcome first step” but “it is not the end”.
The immigration minister said Britain needs to “work closely with the United Nations and Egypt and Israel” to ensure further trucks can enter Gaza.
“We are coordinating closely with those partners and have been arguing at the highest level for further humanitarian assistance to come to the civilians in Gaza who are suffering,” Mr Jenrick said.
Met Police arrest 10 people at Saturday’s protests in London
08:42 , Tara Cobham
The Metropolitan Police said it arrested 10 people at protests in central London on Saturday.
As of 9pm on Saturday evening, the force confirmed three people had been arrested for assaulting an emergency worker and public order offences and that four more had been arrested for firework-related offences.
It added that another person was arrested for affray and one more for a public order offence committed following last week’s protest.
Tens of thousands of protesters took to the streets of central London on Saturday afternoon to show their support for Palestinians caught up in the ongoing war between Hamas and Israel.
Israel tells Gazans to move south or risk being seen as 'terrorist' partner
08:28 , Tara Cobham
Palestinians said they had received renewed warnings from Israel's military to move from north Gaza to the south of the strip, with the added warning that they could be identified as sympathisers with a "terrorist organisation" if they stayed put.
The message was delivered in leaflets marked with the Israel Defense Forces name and logo from Saturday and sent to people via mobile phone audio messages across the Gaza Strip, a narrow territory that is just 45 km (28 miles) long.
"Urgent warning, to residents of Gaza. Your presence north of Wadi Gaza puts your life in danger. Whoever chooses not to leave north Gaza to the south of Wadi Gaza might be identified as an accomplice in a terrorist organisation," the leaflet said.
Israeli forces kill five in West Bank, says Palestinian ministry
07:55 , Tara Cobham
Israeli forces have killed a fifth Palestinian in the occupied West Bank, bringing the number of deaths to 90 since 7 October, the Palestinian health ministry said on Sunday.
‘The world must do more’: First aid delivery ‘only a small beginning’, says UN
07:30 , Stuti Mishra
A first 20-truck convoy of assistance that reached Gaza Saturday is “only a small beginning and far from enough”, United Nations aid agencies have said.
The agencies, including the World Health Organisation, the World Food Programme and others, said in a joint statement that more than 1.6 million people are in critical need of humanitarian aid and called for a humanitarian ceasefire.
“Vulnerable people are at greatest risk and children are dying at an alarming rate and being denied their right to protection, food, water and health care,” they said.
“Gaza was a desperate humanitarian situation before the most recent hostilities. It is now catastrophic. The world must do more.”
Damascus, Aleppo airports out of service after Israel attack
07:20 , Stuti Mishra
An Israeli missile attack targeted Damascus and Aleppo international airports early today killing one civilian worker and putting the airports out of service, Syrian state media reported.
Scheduled flights to and from Damascus and Aleppo airports were diverted to Latakia International Airport, according to the Ministry of Transportation.
At least 50 Palestinians killed by Israeli air strikes on Gaza overnight
07:10 , Stuti Mishra
More than 50 Palestinians were killed in Israeli air strikes on the Gaza strip overnight, Reuters news agency has reported quoting Gaza medical sources.
Israel strikes underground compound at West Bank mosque
06:30 , Stuti Mishra
Israeli Defense Forces said a military aircraft launched a strike early today on the Al-Ansar mosque at the Jenin refugee camp in the occupied West Bank.
The IDF said via X, the platform formerly known as Twitter, that Hamas and Islamic Jihad militants had been using an "underground terror route" beneath the mosque. One Palestinian was killed in the shelling, the Palestine Red Crescent Society said.
Tensions have ris=en in the West Bank, where dozens of Palestinians have been killed in clashes with Israeli troops.
US committed to ensuring Gaza has access to food, water and medical aid, says Biden
06:01 , Andy Gregory
The United States is committed to ensuring that civilians in Gaza will continue to have access to food, water and medical care without it being diverted by Hamas, President Joe Biden said on Saturday.
“We will continue to work with all parties to keep the Rafah crossing in operation to enable the continued movement of aid that is imperative to the welfare of the people of Gaza,” he said in a statement after the first convoy of humanitarian supplies passed through the crossing into the enclave.
Israel did not strike Gaza hospital, Canada says
05:30 , Stuti Mishra
Canada’s National Department of Defence said on Saturday that Israel was not behind the Al-Ahli hospital strike in Gaza which killed 471 people.
“Analysis conducted independently by the Canadian Forces Intelligence Command indicates with a high degree of confidence that Israel did not strike the Al-Ahli hospital on 17 October 2023,” it said in a statement.
The strike was more likely caused by an errant rocket fired from Gaza, the Defence department said based on analysis of open source and classified reporting.Canada’s findings are similar to the conclusions by France and the US.
US races to free more hostages as Israel prepares for ground invasion of Gaza
05:04 , Andy Gregory
The release of two American hostages held by Hamas has magnified a race against the clock to secure the release of others, and evacuate Americans in Gaza ahead of Israel’s likely ground invasion that could complicate those efforts.
My colleague Alex Woodward has more details:
US to send more air defence systems to Middle East
04:30 , Stuti Mishra
The US will send a Terminal High Altitude Area Defence (THAAD) system and additional Patriot air defence missile system battalions to the Middle East, the Pentagon said, in response to recent attacks on JUS troops in the region.
The United States has sent a significant amount of naval power to the Middle East in recent weeks, including two aircraft carriers, their support ships and about 2,000 Marines.
Washington is on heightened alert for activity by Iran-backed groups as regional tensions soar during the Israel-Hamas war.
"Following detailed discussions with President (Joe) Biden on recent escalations by Iran and its proxy forces across the Middle East Region, today I directed a series of additional steps to further strengthen the department of defence posture in the region," defence secretary Lloyd Austin said in a statement.
Austin said he was placing additional troops on prepare-to-deploy orders, but did not say how many. The Pentagon has already placed some 2,000 troops on a heightened state of readiness in case they need to deploy to the region.
"These steps will bolster regional deterrence efforts, increase force protection for U.S. forces in the region, and assist in the defence of Israel," Mr Austin added.
Four Hezbollah fighters killed near Lebanon border on Saturday, militant group claims
04:05 , Andy Gregory
Four fighters from tHezbollah were killed along the border with Israel on Saturday, the Iran-backed militant group said, taking to 17 the number of its members it says have died during two weeks of escalating violence in the frontier region.
A security source in Lebanon said one of the fighters was killed in the Lebanese area of Hula, opposite the Israeli community of Margaliot, which Israel said was the target of an anti-tank missile attack. The Israeli army said it fired back.
Hezbollah later said three other members were killed in the fighting, without providing details. The Palestinian group Islamic Jihad, which also has a presence in southern Lebanon, separately said one of its fighters was killed.
Rishi Sunak warns Israel-Hamas war risks unleashing ‘contagion of conflict’ across Middle East
03:11 , Andy Gregory
Rishi Sunak has warned that the Israel-Hamas war risks unleashing a “contagion of conflict” across the Middle East, following a visit to Israel, Saudi Arabia and Egypt for talks with key regional players this week.
The prime minister said his two-day visit showed “that the UK stands in solidarity with them against terrorism” and that “there can be no justification” for the atrocities committed by Hamas, adding: “I wanted to sit down with other leaders and talk face to face. Because in times of tension and division, it’s more important than ever to accelerate diplomatic efforts.”
He said the opening of the border crossing with Egypt to allow an aid convoy into the Gaza Strip was “testament to the power of diplomacy, with the US, Israel and Egypt brokering an agreement to ensure vital aid reaches the Palestinian people”.
“We’re working closely with Egypt to ensure that the UK plays our part in ensuring those Palestinians get the food, water and medicine they so desperately need,” he said.
“The overwhelming view I got from everyone I spoke to this week was that we need to do everything possible to stop a contagion of conflict in the region. We need to keep our aspirations for a more peaceful and stable future firmly in our sights as we work together to defeat the evil of terrorism.”
Watch: Biden speaks on the phone to US mother and daughter released by Hamas
02:14 , Andy Gregory
Israel rejects Hamas claim it declined to accept hostages as ‘propaganda'
01:10 , Andy Gregory
Israel has rejected as “propaganda” a claim by Hamas that the militant group had wanted to release two more hostages on humanitarian grounds but that Israel declined to receive them.
Abu Ubaida, the spokesperson for Hamas’ armed wing, said it informed Qatar of the group’s intention to release the two additional people on Friday, the same day it freed Americans Judith Tai Ranaan and her daughter Natalie.
In a later statement, Abu Ubaida claimed Hamas was ready to free the two people on Sunday “using the same procedures” involved in the previous release.
In a brief statement, Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said: “We will not refer to false propaganda by Hamas”, adding: “We will continue to act in every way to return all the kidnapped and missing people home.”
Why the Rafah border crossing is vital for humanitarian aid to Gaza
Sunday 22 October 2023 00:21 , Andy Gregory
Israel’s siege of Gaza in the wake of Hamas terror attacks has blocked food, water, fuel and electricity from reaching the occupied territory.
The only way out of Gaza is a crossing point at Rafah into neighbouring Egypt, which has been effectively sealed following Hamas attacks on 7 October.
My colleague Alex Woodward has more on the significance of the crossing here:
Hezbollah already ‘in the heart of the battle’, top official says
Saturday 21 October 2023 23:34 , Andy Gregory
A top Hezbollah official has claimed that the Lebanese militant group is already “in the heart of the battle” and vowed that Israel will pay a high price whenever it starts a ground offensive in Gaza, as Israel and Hezbollah traded drone and rocket fire.
For Hezbollah, heating up the Lebanon-Israel border has a clear purpose, Hezbollah’s deputy leader, Sheikh Naim Kassem said, adding: “We are trying to weaken the Israeli enemy and let them know that we are ready.”
“Do you believe that if you try to crush the Palestinian resistance, other resistance fighters in the region will not act?” he said in a speech during the funeral of a Hezbollah fighter. “We are in the heart of the battle today. We are making achievements through this battle.”
Police make 10 arrests as 100,000 attend London pro-Palestine demonstrations
Saturday 21 October 2023 22:46 , Andy Gregory
Police have arrested a total of 10 people and five officers have received minor injuries, Scotland Yard has claimed, after 100,000 people demonstrated in London in support for Palestine.
The arrests were made for fireworks, public order and assaulting an emergency service worker offences, the Metropolitan Police said.
Our final #PublicOrder update for you today is that a total of 10 arrests have been made for; Fireworks, Public Order & Assault an Emergency Service Worker Offences. They remain in Custody.
5 Police Officers have also received minor injuries & we wish them a swift recovery. 🚨 pic.twitter.com/gw2GXqUyFW
— Metropolitan Police (@metpoliceuk) October 21, 2023
Hamas claims Israel declined to receive two hostages it intended to release
Saturday 21 October 2023 22:09 , Andy Gregory
A spokesman for the armed wing of Hamas has claimed that the group intended to release two more hostages for “humanitarian reasons”, but that Israel had declined to receive them.
Abu Ubaida, the spokesperson for the Izz el-Deen al-Qassam Brigades, said that it informed Qatar on Friday of Hamas’ intention to release the two people.
Watch: 100,000 attend pro-Palestine march in London
Saturday 21 October 2023 21:42 , Andy Gregory
Canada will keep working with Qatar to secure release of Hamas hostages, Trudeau says
Saturday 21 October 2023 21:14 , Andy Gregory
Canada will continue to work with Qatar to secure the release of hostages held by Hamas, Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau has said, after two American civilians were released yesterday.
Hamas released two US hostages on Friday, mother and daughter Judith and Natalie Raanan. Mr Trudeau thanked Qatar for its assistance on the hostage release.
Israel to step up airstrikes on Gaza
Saturday 21 October 2023 20:45 , Andy Gregory
Israel plans to step up its attacks on the Gaza Strip starting Saturday as preparation for the next stage of its war on Hamas, a military spokesperson has said.
Asked about a possible ground invasion into Gaza, Israeli Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari told reporters Saturday night that the military was trying to create optimal conditions beforehand.
“We will deepen our attacks to minimize the dangers to our forces in the next stages of the war. We are going to increase the attacks, from today,” Mr Hagari said.
He repeated his call for residents of Gaza City to head south for their safety.
Police engaging with protesters near Israeli embassy
Saturday 21 October 2023 20:21 , Andy Gregory
Police are engaging with protesters near the Israeli embassy in Kensington, Scotland Yard has said, after an estimated 100,000 people turned out to show solidarity with Palestinians.
A S60AA requires any person to remove any item which a Constable reasonably believes the person is wearing wholly or mainly for the purpose of concealing their identity.
— Metropolitan Police (@metpoliceuk) October 21, 2023
Full report: First 20 UN aid trucks cross from Egypt into Gaza
Saturday 21 October 2023 19:54 , Andy Gregory
Aid trucks have entered southern Gaza for the first time since Israel sealed it off in the wake of the deadly attack by Hamas two weeks ago – but aid agencies have warned it is a tiny fraction of what is required to alleviate the humanitarian crisis there.
There were cheers from aid workers at the Egypt border as the convoy carrying coffins and medicine passed through the Rafah crossing into the besieged enclave, which is also facing near-continuous bombardment from Israel in its war against Hamas.
Our chief international correspondent Bel Trew and international editor Chris Stevenson have more in this report:
UN hoping second convoy of 20 trucks will arrive in Gaza tomorrow
Saturday 21 October 2023 19:31 , Andy Gregory
The United Nations is hoping a second convoy of trucks will be sent into Gaza on Sunday under a light inspection system that will allow relief deliveries to scale up into next week, its humanitarian chief said.
A first convoy of 20 trucks arrived in Gaza through the Rafah crossing with Egypt on Saturday, but efforts to deliver supplies to the besieged enclave have been held up by Israeli demands to verify aid.
The 20-truck convoy was announced by US president Joe Biden following a trip to Israel on Wednesday and was not subject to inspection of the kind that officials say will be needed for continuous deliveries.
“I’ve been hearing this afternoon – but we’re in negotiation on it right now – that we may get another convoy tomorrow, maybe even slightly bigger, 20 to 30 trucks,” UN aid chief Martin Griffiths said in an interview on the sidelines of a conference about Gaza in Cairo.
“It’s incredibly important that there is no gap in the aid going across the border,” he said. The UN says 100 trucks daily are needed to meet essential needs in Gaza, where Israel has imposed a “total siege” as it bombards the enclave in retaliation for a deadly incursion by Hamas militants.
First aid trucks from Egypt are ‘drop in the ocean’ of what Gaza needs, warn PRCS
Saturday 21 October 2023 19:11 , Andy Gregory
The entry of 20 UN aid trucks into Gaza from Egypt through the Rafah crossing is “a welcomed glimpse of hope” but “represents “a drop in the ocean” of what help is needed, the Palestinian Red Crescent Society has said.
The group said a statement: “Today’s entry of the 20 trucks is a welcomed glimpse of hope but this minuscule aid represents a drop in the ocean. We call on the international community to secure the continued flow of humanitarian aid into Gaza including through the Israeli controlled crossings.
“Furthermore, without fuel entering the Gaza Strip to support generating electrcity, thousands of Palestinian lives are at risk of death in hospitals.
“Ambulances will no longer be able to save lives. Bakeries will no longer be able to provide bread. It shall also leave the population without potable water, and risking the outbreak of diseases.”
UN agencies call for ceasefire
Saturday 21 October 2023 18:44 , Andy Gregory
UN agencies have reiterated calls for a ceasefire and unrestricted humanitarian access throughout Gaza, after 20 trucks carrying a shipment of aid reached the enclave through the Rafah crossing.
“We call for a humanitarian ceasefire, along with immediate, unrestricted humanitarian access throughout Gaza to allow humanitarian actors to reach civilians in need, save lives and prevent further human suffering,” the joint statement from the UNDP, UNFPA, UNICEF, WFP and WHO said.
“Flows of humanitarian aid must be at scale and sustained, and allow all Gazans to preserve their dignity.”
Two arrests after fireworks launched at officers in Trafalgar Square
Saturday 21 October 2023 18:12 , Andy Gregory
Police have made two arrests after fireworks were launched at officers in Trafalgar Square.
The Metropolitan Police said: “Whitehall is now mostly clear with a small demonstration remaining at the gates to Downing Street.
“Officers are now focusing their efforts on clearing Trafalgar Square, as fireworks have been launched at officers from within the crowd.
“Two arrests have been made for offences under the Explosives Act 1875.”
Cairo peace summit ends without breakthrough
Saturday 21 October 2023 17:44 , Andy Gregory
Arab leaders at a Cairo peace summit condemned the Israeli bombardment of Gaza – but with Israel and senior US officials absent there was no agreement towards containing the violence.
Egypt, which called the meeting and hosted it, said it had hoped participants would call for peace and resume efforts to resolve the decades-long Palestinian quest for statehood.
But the meeting ended without leaders and foreign ministers agreeing a joint statement.
Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas said Palestinians would not be displaced or driven off their land, while France called for a humanitarian corridor into Gaza that it claimed could lead to a ceasefire, the UK and Germany both urged Israel’s military to show restraint, and Italy said it was important to avoid escalation.
European Council President Charles Michel said the main goal of the summit was “to listen to each other”. However, “we understand that we need to work more together” on issues including the humanitarian situation, avoiding a regional escalation and a Palestinian-Israeli peace process, he added.
One arrest as tens of thousands attend pro-Palestinian demonstration
Saturday 21 October 2023 17:22 , Andy Gregory
There has been one arrest in relation to an incident last week, as tens of thousands of people gathered in London to show solidarity with Palestinians.
“We thank everyone for their cooperation and have made only one arrest in relation to an incident last week,” the Metropolitan Police said.
As you can see the numbers in Whitehall have reduced dramatically & many who took part in this afternoon's demonstration have made their way home.
We thank everyone for their cooperation and have made only one arrest in relation to an incident last week.
Please head home safely. pic.twitter.com/tDgdlkG0pr
— Metropolitan Police (@metpoliceuk) October 21, 2023
Twelve people in one household feared trapped under rubble after airstrike on Gaza home
Saturday 21 October 2023 16:57 , Andy Gregory
Twelve people in a single household and five others are feared trapped under the rubble of a house in central Gaza which was hit by an Israeli airstrike, witnesses have said.
People clambered on slabs of concrete and twisted metal looking for survivors among the rubble, where a woman in a bloodstained headscarf was helped out of the wreckage, the Associated Press reported.
Men carried a body on a stretcher to an ambulance, and another man ran, carrying the limp body of a small child. Others helped lead away shocked-looking people covered in dust, including a boy with a bloody face.
The house was some 200 metres from the Al Aqsa Hospital in Deir al-Balah.
British Transport Police ‘investigating’ footage of pro-Palestine chants on Underground
Saturday 21 October 2023 16:41 , Andy Gregory
British Transport Police is investigating footage appearing to show a London Tube driver leading chants of “free, free Palestine” among demonstrators travelling on the Underground.
Assistant Chief Constable Sean O’Callaghan said the force was “aware of footage circulating on social media which suggests chants are led by driver of a train in London earlier”.
“BTP are working with Transport for London and investigating the matter.”
central line tube driver carrying hundreds of people to the free palestine march in london leads the tube in a chant
says he wanted to be there but couldn’t get the day off pic.twitter.com/SOqzPtzfRp
— ruby lott-lavigna (@RubyJLL) October 21, 2023
Former US congressman says family members killed in Gaza
Saturday 21 October 2023 16:07 , Tara Cobham
Former US Representative Justin Amash, the first Palestinian-American member of Congress, said several of his family members were killed in Gaza following an Israeli airstrike at a Greek Orthodox church that was housing displaced Palestinians during the ongoing crisis.
Mr Amash, who represented parts of west Michigan in the House from 2011 to 2021, said his relatives were among hundreds of people seeking shelter in St Porphyrios Orthodox Church in Gaza City.
Bombs struck two halls where people were sleeping and killed at least 18 people overnight, according to the Order of St George, an associated order of the church.
Alex Woodward reports:
Hamas ‘won’t discuss fate of army captives until end of aggression’
Saturday 21 October 2023 15:40 , Tara Cobham
Palestinian militant faction Hamas said on Saturday it won't discuss the fate of Israeli army captives until Israel ends its "aggression" on the Gaza strip.
"Our stance with regards to Israeli army captives is clear: it's related to a (possible) exchange of prisoners, and we will not discuss it until Israel ends its aggression on Gaza and Palestinians," Hamas official Osama Hamdan, speaking from Lebanon, told a televised presser.
Tens of thousands take to streets of London for pro-Palestine protest
Saturday 21 October 2023 14:55 , Tara Cobham
Tens of thousands of protesters took to the streets of central London on Saturday afternoon to show their support for Palestinians caught up in the ongoing war between Hamas and Israel.
Some of those present sang “from the river to sea, Palestine will be free” – a chant that Jewish community leaders have described as anti-semitic. Those who defend the slogan describe it as a “long-standing protest chant” that calls for a homeland for the Palestinian people.
Matt Mathers reports:
Met estimates ‘up to 100,000’ at protest
Saturday 21 October 2023 14:40 , Tara Cobham
The Metropolitan Police increased its estimate of the size of the protest in London to "up to 100,000" as of 2pm.
Thousands of protesters descend on London for pro-Palestine march
Saturday 21 October 2023 14:15 , Tara Cobham
Thousands of protesters gathered at Marble Arch in central London on Saturday as part of a pro-Palestine march.
Attendees held signs that read "Freedom for Palestine" and "Stop Bombing Gaza".
Chants included "Judaism yes, Zionism no, the state of Israel must go", and "5, 6, 7, 8, Israel is a terrorist state".
The platform at Marble Arch Tube station was briefly closed due to the crowds.
Companyworkers grapple with speaking up about Israel-Hamas war
Saturday 21 October 2023 14:00 , Tara Cobham
Starbucks accused a union representing thousands of its baristas of damaging the brand and endangering co-workers with a pro-Palestinian tweet. The CEO of a prominent tech conference is facing boycotts after he publicly suggested Israel was committing war crimes. Company bosses have vowed never to hire members of a university's student groups that condemned Israel.
Meanwhile, Islamic rights advocates say much of the corporate response has minimized the suffering in Gaza, where thousands have died in Israeli airstrikes, and created an atmosphere of fear for workers who want to express support for Palestinians. Jewish groups have criticized tepid responses or slow reactions to the Oct. 7 Hamas rampage that killed 1,400 people in Israel and triggered the latest war.
The fallout from the Israel-Hamas war has spilled into workplaces everywhere, as top leaders of prominent companies weigh in with their views while workers complain their voices are not being heard. People from all ranks have been called out for speaking too forcefully — or not forcefully enough — making it nearly impossible to come up with a unifying message when passions run deep on all sides.
Read more here:
Watch: Doctors operate by torchlight in Gaza
Saturday 21 October 2023 13:45 , Tara Cobham
French foreign minister says humanitarian corridor for Gaza is needed
Saturday 21 October 2023 13:30 , Tara Cobham
French foreign minister Catherine Colonna said on Saturday that a humanitarian corridor is needed to deliver aid to civilians in Gaza and its establishment could lead to a ceasefire.
"The distribution of aid to civilian populations, starting with the most vulnerable, assumes a humanitarian corridor, which can lead to a ceasefire," she said at the Cairo Peace Summit hosted by Egypt on the escalating war between Israel and the Palestinian group Hamas in Gaza.
She added that French president Emmanuel Macron had just announced 10 million euros ($10.59 million)of humanitarian aid for the Palestinians, in addition to the 10 million euros that she announced last Sunday during a visit to Cairo.
‘Israel must respect international law,’ James Cleverly
Saturday 21 October 2023 13:02 , Archie Mitchell, Political Correspondent
James Cleverly said he has reminded the Israeli government of its “duty to respect international law”.
The foreign secretary repeated his support for the country’s “right to defend itself” against Hamas and to “secure the release of those kidnapped” by the terror group.
But, speaking at the Cairo Peace Summit, Mr Cleverly added: “We are also clear that we must work and they must work to alleviate the suffering of the Palestinian people in Gaza, and that their actions are in accordance with international law.
“I have spoken directly to the Israeli Government about their duty to respect international law and the importance of preserving civilian lives in Gaza.”
Cleverly: ‘Probably the most challenging situation I have had to deal with’
Saturday 21 October 2023 13:01 , Archie Mitchell, Political Correspondent
James Cleverly said Israel’s war against Hamas is “probably the most challenging situation that I have had to deal with in my professional personal or political life”.
The foreign secretary said he suspects “I am not alone,” but said he believes countries can “work together to secure a future where Israelis and Palestinians live in peace”.
As Israel prepares a ground invasion of Gaza in retaliation against Hamas’s terrorist attacks, Mr Cleverly said: “We can and should work together to achieve that peaceful, sustainable, two-state solution with Israelis and Palestinians not just living beside each other, but working with each other and securing peace for future children.”
Cleverly: ‘Regional conflict is what Hamas wants’
Saturday 21 October 2023 13:01 , Tara Cobham
James Cleverly has called on world leaders to ensure conflict between Israel and Hamas does not spread across the Middle East, because “that is exactly what Hamas wants”.
The foreign secretary told the Cairo Peace Summit countries have “a duty to work together to prevent instability from engulfing the region, and claiming yet more lives”.
“This has been an issue which has long stimulated passions and we are now all seeing on social media and in our communities, how divisive and polarising the current situation has become,” Mr Cleverly said.
He added that Hamas “has long stood in opposition” to peaceful coexistence between Israelis and Palestinians.
“And we must therefore, ensure that Hamas does not win,” he said.
Concern over exclusion of fuel from aid reaching Gaza
Saturday 21 October 2023 12:55 , Tara Cobham
The Palestinian health ministry in Gaza issued a statement stressing that the exclusion of fuel from humanitarian aid reaching the enclave will leave the lives of the sick and wounded in danger.
"We appeal to the international community and Egypt to work immediately to bring in fuel and emergency health needs before more victims are lost in hospitals," the statement said.
Trucks carrying aid arrive in southern Gaza, says official
Saturday 21 October 2023 12:54 , Tara Cobham
Trucks carrying aid for Gaza exited the Rafah crossing and arrived into the southern part of the enclave on Saturday, a Palestinian border official told Reuters.
At least 20 trucks that are expected to enter the Gaza Strip "constitute only three percent of what was entering the Gaza Strip daily in terms of health and humanitarian needs before the aggression," a statement from the Palestinian health ministry said.
Gaza death toll rises to 4,385, says Palestinian health ministry
Saturday 21 October 2023 12:31 , Tara Cobham
The death toll in Gaza has risen to 4,385 dead with 13,651 injured since the conflict between Hamas and Israel escalated two weeks ago, the Palestinian health ministry said.
The dead include 1,756 children and 976 women, the health ministry added.
Marble Arch Station forced to close as crowds descend for protest
Saturday 21 October 2023 12:19 , Tara Cobham
Marble Arch Underground Station has been forced to close as huge crowds have descended on the station for protests being held in central London in support of Palestine on Saturday.
Transport for London said: “This station is closed to prevent overcrowding on the platforms.”
Hundreds of thousands of people are expected to attend the march, according to Director Ben Jamal of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, which is organising the demonstration.
— Noran Azmy (@noranazmy) October 21, 2023
Italy's Meloni says conflict in Middle East must not escalate
Saturday 21 October 2023 12:05 , Tara Cobham
Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni said on Saturday that the international community must avoid an escalation in the war between Israel and Hamas and set a roadmap towards the two states solution.
Meloni made the remarks while speaking in Egypt at the Cairo international summit for peace in the Middle East.
The summit is being held as Israel prepares a ground assault on Gaza following Hamas' attack that killed 1,400 people.
Hundreds of thousands expected at London protest, says organiser
Saturday 21 October 2023 12:00 , Tara Cobham
Hundreds of thousands of people are expected to march in support of Palestine in central London on Saturday, according to the organiser of the protest.
Director Ben Jamal of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign said: “We’re expecting hundreds of thousands joining us today. We’ve got coaches coming from cities and towns all across the UK - dozens of coaches arriving.”
PSC Director Ben Jamal (@BenJamalpsc) explains why we are marching for Palestine today to demand a #CeasefireNOW and an end to Israeli occupation of Palestinian land. 🇵🇸 #FreePalestine #GazaUnderAttack pic.twitter.com/UsAPbp5QvD
— PSC (@PSCupdates) October 21, 2023
Watch live as Palestinian supporters gather to march in London
Saturday 21 October 2023 11:47 , Tara Cobham
Watch live as thousands of Palestinian supporters are expected to gather in London and converge on Downing Street on Saturday 21 October as diplomatic efforts intensify to allow access for humanitarian aid to Gaza and secure the release of hostages.
The Rafah border crossing between Gaza and Egypt was opened this morning to allow an aid convoy into the besieged territory.
Foreign secretary James Cleverly said it was a “lifeline” for those suffering in Gaza, but added the opening of the crossing could not be a one-off event.
Oliver Browning reports:
Protests in support of Palestinians set to take place in London
Saturday 21 October 2023 11:45 , Tara Cobham
More than 1,000 Metropolitan Police officers are being deployed at what is set to be a “significant” protest organised by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign in central London on Saturday.
The protest is due to begin at Marble Arch at midday, proceeding along Park Lane, via Hyde Park Corner, Piccadilly and Trafalgar Square and ending up in Whitehall.
A smaller demonstration organised by Hizb ut-Tahrir Britain is taking place at the same time between the Egyptian and Turkish embassies.
Crowd gathers at Rafah border as aid convoy crosses
Saturday 21 October 2023 11:35 , Tara Cobham
The Rafah border crossing between Egypt and Gaza has opened to let desperately needed aid flow to Palestinians for the first time since Israel sealed off the territory following Hamas’ bloody rampage two weeks ago.
Gaza’s 2.3 million Palestinians, half of whom have fled their homes, are rationing food and drinking filthy water.
Hospitals say they are running low on medical supplies and fuel for emergency generators amid a territory-wide power blackout.
Trucks carrying roughly 3,000 tons of aid, which had been positioned near the crossing for days, began heading into Gaza on Saturday 21 October.
Oliver Browning reports:
Arab leaders denounce Israel attacks on Gaza as risks to region rise
Saturday 21 October 2023 11:29 , Tara Cobham
Arab leaders condemned Israel's two-week-old bombardment of Gaza on Saturday and demanded renewed efforts to reach a Middle East peace settlement to end a decades-long cycle of violence between Israelis and Palestinians.
Speaking at a hastily convened gathering dubbed the Cairo Peace Summit, Jordan's King Abdullah denounced what he termed global silence about Israel's attacks on the enclave and urged an even-handed approach to the Israeli-Palestinian dispute.
"The message the Arab world is hearing is that Palestinian lives matter less than Israeli ones," he said, adding he was outraged and grieved by acts of violence waged against innocent civilians in Gaza, the West Bank and Israel.
"The Israeli leadership must realise once and for all that a state can never thrive if it is built on a foundation of injustice ... Our message to the Israelis should be that we want a future of peace and security for you and the Palestinians."
He said in his opening speech that the forced or internal displacement of Palestinians would be a war crime.
In his speech Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi said his country opposed what he called the displacement of Palestinians into Egypt's Sinai region.
"Egypt says the solution to the Palestinian issue is not displacement, its only solution is justice and the Palestinians’ access to legitimate rights and living in an independent state."
At least 307 soldiers total killed, says Israeli military
Saturday 21 October 2023 11:24 , Tara Cobham
At least 307 soldiers have been killed since Hamas launched its bloody attack two weeks ago, Israeli military has said.
‘We won’t leave, we will remain on our land,’ says Palestinian President
Saturday 21 October 2023 11:13 , Tara Cobham
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has said "we won't leave, we will remain on our land" during his opening speech at the Cairo Peace Summit on Saturday.
The summit is being held in Egypt as Israel prepares a ground assault on Gaza following Hamas' attack that killed 1,400 people. More than 4,100 Palestinians have been killed in Israel's counteroffensive, according to Gaza's Health Ministry, amid a growing humanitarian crisis.
Aid is ‘barely a drop in the ocean’, says ActionAid
Saturday 21 October 2023 11:08 , Tara Cobham
ActionAid has welcomed the aid convoy heading into Gaza but said it is “clear that what’s being delivered today is barely a drop in the ocean”.
Riham Jafari, Communications and Advocacy Coordinator for ActionAid Palestine, said: "We welcome this morning's aid convoy into Gaza, but it's clear that what's being delivered today is barely a drop in the ocean. Before this crisis began, around 500 aid trucks would normally cross the border every day providing a vital lifeline to millions of Gazans who were already facing a humanitarian crisis.
"Aid trucks also did not bring with them the fuel needed to power hospitals, keep ambulances moving, or to pump water from the ground. We're hearing stories every day of communities coming together to donate whatever fuel they have remaining to keep incubators going for newborns who are in a critical condition. With 2.2 million Gazans facing a humanitarian crisis we're urgently calling for a ceasefire and for the opening of humanitarian corridors.”
Small blast outside Israeli embassy in Cyprus overnight
Saturday 21 October 2023 10:56 , Tara Cobham
A small blast occurred overnight outside the Israeli embassy in the Cypriot capital Nicosia, police said. No damage or injuries were reported.
Police said a metal object containing "a small amount of pyrotechnic material" exploded about 30 metres away from a perimeter compound of the embassy, which lies in a heavily populated area of Nicosia.
Four youths aged between 17 and 21 found in the area were being questioned by police, a security source said. In the car of one of the detainees police found 2 knives and a hammer.
Cyprus state radio reported the detainees were Syrians.
Cyprus, on the edge of the volatile Middle East, has tightened security at locations across the island. In the wake of fresh violence authorities widened a security cordon around the embassy, shutting off civilian roads.
The embassy was the target of a botched bombing attempt in 1988 when a car packed with explosives went off on a nearby bridge, killing three people.
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