An Israeli attack on an ambulance outside al-Shifa hospital in Gaza has killed 15 people, officials said as Benjamin Netanyahu rejected calls for a temporary halt to his country’s attacks on Gaza unless hostages held by Hamas militants are freed.
“Upon their arrival to al-Shifa, (Israel) directly targeted the convoy’s second vehicle, committing a terrible massacre that claimed the lives of 15 (people) and wounded more than 60,” health ministry spokesperson Ashraf al-Qidra said. While Israel claims it was targeting Hamas in the attack on hospital vicinity, the dead and wounded include dozens of children who were left in a pool of blood.
The Israeli PM snubbed calls for a temporary ceasefire despite pleas by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken to do so to allow aid to enter the Palestinian enclave.
He told Mr Blinken: “We are going full steam ahead.”
This comes as the leader of Lebanon’s Hezbollah warned the US that preventing a regional conflict depended on stopping the Israeli bombardments of Gaza, and raised the spectre of fighting on the Lebanese front turning into a full-fledged war.
Netanyahu says no Gaza ceasefire until hostages released
15 killed as Israel bombs ambulance in effort to target ‘Hamas terror cell’
Hezbollah warns US of wider war if Israeli attacks continue
Hundreds more foreign nationals flee through Rafah crossing
Two people arrested at pro-Palestinian demonstration in London
Israeli refugee camp airstrikes could be war crimes, says UN human rights chief
30,000 to join Washington DC march
13:19 , Matt Mathers
The “National March on Washington: Free Palestine” will see demonstrators call for a pause in the fighting.
The rally is set to begin at 2pm at Freedom Plaza just to the east of the White House in downtown Washington DC at the Western end of Pennsylvania Avenue.
The rally is scheduled to end around 4pm and will be will be followed by a march to 14th and K streets, to the White House, and then back to Freedom Plaza.
You can follow live updates from the rally here:
International medical agency condemns ‘horrendous’ ambulance strike
13:16 , Matt Mathers
An international medical agency has condemned the “horrendous” strike on an ambulance in Gaza that killed 15 people.
MSF International, which provides medical aid in humanitarian crises, described the attack as a “new low in an endless stream of violence.”
“The deadly attack outside the gate of Al-Shifa hospital impacting an ambulance is horrendous,” it said in a statement.
“This is a lethal attack outside Gaza’s main and busiest hospital, where our staff work daily to provide lifesaving medical care.
“We have repeatedly called for an immediate and total ceasefire, for the protection of healthcare facilities, as well as medics, patients and people who are taking shelter there.
“This is a new low in an endless stream of unconscionable violence. The repeated strikes on hospitals, ambulances, densely populated areas and refugee camps are disgraceful.
“How many people have to die before world leaders wake up and call for a ceasefire?”
Israeli jets hit Lebanon as Hezbollah fires more powerful missile
12:44 , Matt Mathers
Hezbollah said it carried out simultaneous attacks on Israeli positions at the Lebanese border on Saturday, as residents of south Lebanon reported some of the fiercest Israeli strikes yet during weeks of cross-border clashes.
The Israeli army said its warplanes had struck Hezbollah targets in response to an earlier attack from Lebanese territory, and was accompanying the air strikes with artillery and tank shelling.
A Lebanese source familiar with Hezbollah’s attacks said the group had fired a powerful missile not yet used in the fighting, saying it had hit an Israeli position across the border from the villages of Ayta al-Shaab and Rmeich.
Hezbollah has been exchanging fire with Israeli forces across the Lebanese-Israeli frontier since its Palestinian ally Hamas went to war with Israel on 7 October.
It marks the worst fighting at the frontier since a 2006 war, but has mostly been contained to the border area.
Gaza must be part of sovereign Palestinian state when war ends - Erdogan
12:01 , Matt Mathers
Turkish president Tayyip Erdogan said Gaza must be part of an independent, sovereign Palestinian state once the Israel-Hamas war is over, and Ankara will not support any plans "gradually erasing Palestinians" from history.
Turkey, which has sharply escalated its criticism of Israel as the humanitarian crisis in Gaza has intensified, supports a two-state solution and hosts members of Hamas, which it does not view as a terrorist organisation, unlike the US, Britain and others in the West. Turkey has called for an immediate ceasefire and offered to set up a system to guarantee it.
Speaking to reporters on a return flight from Kazakhstan on Friday, Erdogan repeated his criticism of Western countries for their support of Israel, saying Ankara’s trust in the European Union was "deeply shaken".
"Once all of this that is happening is finished, we want to see Gaza as a peaceful region that is a part of an independent Palestinian state, in line with 1967 borders, with territorial integrity, and with East Jerusalem as its capital," Erdogan was on Saturday quoted as saying by broadcaster Haberturk and others.
"We will support formulas that will bring peace and calm to the region. We will not be supportive of plans that will further darken the lives of Palestinians, that will gradually erase them from the scene of history."
Blinken thanks UN aid workers for their ‘extraordinary’ efforts
11:38 , Matt Mathers
Antony Blinken praised the “extraordinary work” of UN aid workers in Gaza and offered his condolences to the families of two who had been killed.
The US secretary of state is currently in Amman, Jordan, for talks with the country’s leaders about a humanitarian pause to the conflict.
Speaking to reporters, he praised the “extraordinary work” of the UN Agency for Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA), describin it as a “lifeline in Gaza”.
The agency says it is sheltering nearly 700,000 people in severely overcrowded schools and other facilities it runs in Gaza.
It says that 72 of its staff and aid workers have been killed since the war broke out on 7 October.
400,000 people still in the north of Gaza
11:31 , Matt Mathers
Up to 400,000 people remain in the north of Gaza amid intense Israeli bombing of the area, US special envoy David Satterfield has said.
Residents have been told by Israel to evacuate as the military steps up its ground and air attacks.
Satterfield, speaking in the Jordanian capital of Amman earlier this morning, said between 800,000 and a million people had fled since the fighting started.
Traffic allowed on main north-south road in Gaza - IDF
11:25 , Matt Mathers
Traffic will be allowed to flow on one of Gaza’s two main north-south highways so residents in the north can flee to the south of the Strip, Israel’s military has said.
Residents can use the Salah al-Din road from 1pm to 4pm local time on Saturday, the Israel Defense Forces Arabic spokesperson has said.
“For your safety, take advantage of the next time to move south beyond Wadi Gaza,” the statement said.
“If you care about yourself and your loved ones, head south according to our instructions. Rest assured that Hamas leaders are already taking care to protect themselves.”
#عاجل أيها سكان غزة،
أود إعلامكم أن جيش الدفاع الإسرائيلي سيسمح بالمرور على طريق صلاح الدين اليوم بين الساعة الواحدة (13:00) والساعة الرابعة (16:00) مساء. من أجل سلامتكم، انتهزوا الوقت القادم للتحرك جنوبًا إلى ما بعد وادي غزة.
إذا كنتم تهتمّون بأنفسكم وبأحبائكم، فاتجِهوا جنوبًا… pic.twitter.com/WpKCbzra6J
— افيخاي ادرعي (@AvichayAdraee) November 4, 2023
36 journalists and media workers among the dead
11:01 , Matt Mathers
The Committee to Protect Journalists says the war between Israel and Hamas has become the deadliest period for journalists covering conflict since CPJ began documenting journalist fatalities in 1992, Bel Trew reports.
As of November 3, CPJ’s investigations showed at least 36 journalists and media workers were among an estimated 10,000 killed since the war began on October 7.
As of November 3 the CPJ says:
36 journalists and media workers were confirmed dead: 31 Palestinian, 4 Israeli, and 1 Lebanese.
8 journalists were reported injured.
3 journalists were reported missing.
8 journalists were reported arrested.
Multiple assaults, threats, cyberattacks, censorship, and killings of family members.
88 British citizens approved to leave Gaza for Egypt
10:48 , Matt Mathers
As we’ve been reporting, a numberof British citizens remain trapped in Gaza amid the war between Hamas and Israel.
Bel Trew has this dispatch from Gaza:
Eighty-eight British citizens and their 24 Palestinian family members are approved to cross from Gaza to Egypt on Saturday according to a list shared with The Independent.
This comes as the Israeli military on Saturday said it would enable Palestinians to travel from the north to the south along the central Salahuddin road between 1pm -4pm (11 GMT and 1400). Last week video footage was shared by Palestinian journalists apparently showing an Israeli tank firing at a car trying to travel south along that road. (When asked about the strike, the Israeli military said they could not detail the location of their forces).
Civilians - including British citizens - speaking to The Independent have described chaotic scenes at the Rafah crossing with Egypt as network blackouts have meant people do not know if they are on the lists of those approved to leave. Fuel shortages and Israel’s heavy bombardment have meant getting to the crossing is almost impossible for some.
US citizens in Gaza told The Independent a group of Americans - whose name have appeared on the lists of those approved to leave - were wounded in a strike on their bus on Thursday as they tried to travel from the north to the south along the coastal road. They were attempting to get to Rafah crossing to the crossing. The Independent is trying to independently verify the claims.
The Israeli military said “We emphasize that this area is a battle zone. Civilians in the area are repeatedly called upon to evacuate southwards for their own safety.”
The army said in a social media post in Arabic on Saturday it would enable Palestinians to travel Salahuddin road. "If you care about yourself and your loved ones, heed our instruction to head south," the statement added.
Burnham denies his call for ceasefire shows disloyalty to Starmer
10:42 , Matt Mathers
Andy Burnham has denied being disloyal to Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer over his call for a ceasefire in the Israel-Hamas war.
When the question was put to him on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, the mayor of Greater Manchester said: “No, not at all.
“I would point to the fact that the statement issued by myself, the deputy mayor of Greater Manchester Kate Green, all 10 leaders on a cross-party basis, it was a careful, considered statement that sought to reflect the views of our communities here in the city region and come to an approach which we think is the right approach.
“Of course we abhor the terrorist attacks of October 7, we recognise Israel’s right to take targeted action against Hamas. Our concern was with the widespread bombing causing such huge number of casualties — that was the point that we have made.
“Keir, in his speech earlier this week, I think made many similar points so I don’t think the difference between us is too great.
“And this issue cannot become all about the Labour Party. These are really difficult judgments that everybody is trying to make and I think Keir, the shadow cabinet, the PLP (Parliamentary Labour Party) needs to be given the space to come to those judgments.”
French death toll from Hamas attacks in Israel up to 39
09:34 , Matt Mathers
The death toll of French citizens killed as a result of Hamas’s terror attacks in Israel has risen to 39, with nine other French nationals still missing, the country’s foreign ministry said on Saturday.
Some of those missing have been confirmed as being held hostage by Hamas, the ministry said in a statement.
“We send our condolences to their loved ones and we are in contact with the families to provide them with our full support in this ordeal as well as with the Israeli authorities,” it said.
“As the president of the republic recalled, we are doing everything we can to obtain their release.
“We remain in constant contact with all the families of our nationals who have disappeared or been held hostage.”
No foreigners will be allowed to leave Gaza until wounded evacuated - Palestianian official
09:23 , Matt Mathers
No foreigners will be allowed to leave Gaza until the wounded can be evacuated from the north to the south of the strip, Bel Trew reports.
It comes after an Israeli strike on an ambulance that killed 15 people. Israel says the ambulance was being used by Hamas.
A Palestinian border official has said no foreign passport holders will be allowed to escape to Egypt until the wounded are coordinated and exited from Gaza hospitals and from the north towards the Rafah crossing.
Britain pressing for key border crossing to remain open after more UK nationals secured safe passage out of Gaza
09:20 , Matt Mathers
Around 100 British citizens were expected to be able to leave Gaza for Egypt on Friday, with the in-laws of Scotland’s first minister Humza Yousaf among those permitted to leave the territory through the Rafah crossing.
Mr Cleverly welcomed the “positive news” of getting a “number” of British nationals through the crossing, telling broadcasters: “We will continue to work to keep that crossing open, to liaise directly with Israel, with Egypt to ensure that as many British nationals can leave Gaza as possible.”
Around 200 Britons in Gaza have so far registered with the authorities, and along with their dependents the total number the UK is trying to secure passage for is thought to be in the low hundreds.
Aid agencies are battling a humanitarian crisis in Gaza with limited resources, with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pushing back against growing US pressure for a “humanitarian pause” in the war to protect civilians and allow more aid into the area.
More than 9,000 people are reported to have been killed in the Gaza Strip since October 7, when Israel launched its military response to the atrocities committed by Hamas.
UK’s Chief Rabbi backs Sunak’s call for crackdown on Armistice Day marches
09:04 , Matt Mathers
Britain’s Chief Rabbi has criticised pro-Palestinian marchers who standing “alongside" extremists after Rishi Sunak backed a crackdown on said marches planned for Armistice Day, Kate Devlin reports.
In an article for The Times, Sir Ephraim Mirvis said it was "a stain on our common humanity that so many seem to have lost sight of the moral distance between Hamas and Israel".
A fourth weekend of protests are due in London, with extra police officers on duty.
In his article, the Chief Rabbi said Hamas killings on October 7 mean many of the chants heard during pro-Palestine protests, including calls for "jihad" and an "intifada" against Israel, should be interpreted as supporting Hamas.
He added that protesters had to recognise the "moral chasm" between Hamas and Israel as he warns that the line between expressing support for Palestinians and backing "brutal terrorists" has become "badly blurred".
Palestinian Red Crescent Society accuses Israel of ‘war crime’ over ambulance attack
08:54 , Matt Mathers
The Palestinian Red Crescent Society (PRCS) has accused Israel of a war crime over a strike on an ambulance outside the al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City that killed 15 people.
Israel has admitted responsibility for the strike, saying it targeted the ambulance because it was being used by Hamas.
PRCS said the target was among a convoy of five ambulances, four of which it owned, with the other belonging to the Gaza health ministry.
“PRCS emphasises that the deliberate targeting of medical teams constitutes a grave violation of the Geneva Conventions, a war crime, and that the parties to the four Geneva conventions are legally bound to ensure the protection of medical teams and civilians under all circumstances,” it said in a statement.
Blinken arrives in Jordan
08:45 , Matt Mathers
US secretary of state Antony Blinken has arrived in Jordan ahead of talks with Arab leaders of the Hamas-Israel war.
He is scheduled to hold talks with Jordanian King Abdullah II and the prime minister of Qatar.
As we’ve been reporting, he has already met with Lebanese caretaker prime minister Najib Mikati.
Later today, Blinken will also have meetings with UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) commissioner general Phillipe Lazzarini and a video call with his Gaza-based staff.
Lebanon’s prime minister emphasizes urgency of ceasefire in Gaza in meeting with Blinken
08:17 , Matt Mathers
Lebanon’s caretaker prime minister Najib Mikati met with US secretary of state Antony Blinken in Amman on Saturday and emphasized the importance of working towards a ceasefire in Gaza and stopping Israeli aggression in southern Lebanon, Lebanon state news agency said.
Mikati also stressed Lebanon’s commitment to international legitimacy and the implementation of UN Resolution 1701, calling on the international community to pressure Israel to cease its violations.
Blinken, in turn, emphasized his efforts to halt military operations for humanitarian reasons and to address the issue of prisoners.
Pentagon says it is flying unarmed drones over Gaza
06:30 , Arpan Rai
The US has been flying unarmed surveillance drones over Gaza, it confirmed in a first statement after drones were spotted hovering over the war-torn region.
These drones were operating in “support of hostage recovery efforts”, Pentagon spokesman Brig Gen Pat Ryder said, adding that these UAV flights began after the 7 October attack by Hamas on Israel”.
“The US is conducting unarmed UAV flights over Gaza, as well as providing advice and assistance to support our Israeli partner as they work on their hostage recovery efforts,” the Pentagon’s statement said.
The US’s rare acknowledgment comes after reporters spotted unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) MQ-9 Reapers, usually operated by American special forces, over Gaza’s airspace on Flightradar24, a publicly available flight-tracking website.
Israel’s fortified underground blood bank processes unprecedented amounts
05:40 , Arpan Rai
Hours after Hamas militants attacked southern Israel on 7 October, the country’s new fortified, subterranean blood bank kicked into action. Staffers moved equipment into the underground bunker and started saving lives.
The Marcus National Blood Services Centre in Ramla, near Tel Aviv, had been scheduled to open within days, but with more than 1,400 people in Israel killed since the Hamas raids — most killed during the initial attack — the timeline changed.
“It became very clear we needed to move with the war plans because this was exactly the moment, the event it was built for,” said Dr. Eilat Shinar, director of the national blood services division of Magen David Adom — Israel‘s medical emergency, disaster, ambulance and blood service.
Nestled some 15 meters (50 feet) underground at its lowest level, the $135m, 6-story, state-of-the-art facility is protected from rockets, missiles, chemical attacks and earthquakes, ensuring blood processing can continue when it’s needed most.
Shiner said the centre provided tens of thousands of units of blood in the days that followed the Hamas attacks.
“We worked very hard to supply everything they needed,” she said. “We had many injured and we had to treat them.”
The former blood bank, which was built in the 1980s, was not able to handle the country’s needs in times of war, and had been exposed — but not damaged — during earlier conflicts, the centre said. After Israel’s third war against Hamas in 2014, when rockets reached Tel Aviv and other major cities, discussions began about the need to create a more protected facility.
The new centre has the capacity to store almost twice the amount of blood of its predecessor — half a million units a year compared with 270,000 — and has processed more blood than has ever been held in Israel‘s reserves.“There was a clear understanding that because rockets were flying close to the centre — any other place in the centre can be targeted,” said Moshe Noyovich, the project engineer and representative in Israel for the American Friends of Magen David Adom, which primarily funded the new centre.
In the past, each time rockets were fired into Israel, the team had to move the equipment into a bunker to continue working. Now they can operate uninterrupted, he said.
Netanyahu says no Gaza ceasefire until hostages released – as he rejects US calls for humanitarian pause
05:32 , Arpan Rai
Benjamin Netanyahu has pushed back against growing pressure from the US for a humanitarian pause in its war on Hamas to protect civilians and get more aid into Gaza, saying there will be no temporary ceasefire until all hostages are released.
Flying into Tel Aviv on Friday, Antony Blinken, the US secretary of state, sought to urge the Israeli prime minister to let-up the military offensive, at least for a time. However, Mr Netanyahu said that Israel will continue “with full force” unless Hamas releases more than 240 hostages.
It comes as an ambulance was struck outside Gaza’s largest hospital, al-Shifa, in Gaza City. The health ministry in the Hamas-run strip said that it was part of a convoy that was seeking to evacuate the wounded from northern Gaza to the south and that “several citizens were killed and dozens wounded”.
Israeli strike on school kills 20 civilians, wounds dozens
05:00 , Arpan Rai
An air strike on a school in northern Gaza sheltering displaced civilians has killed 20 people people, Ministry of Health in Gaza said yesterday. The strike on the civilian building occured in the evening, it said.
“20 martyrs and dozens of wounded arrived at the Al-Shifa hospital in Gaza City after the direct targeting of a school turned into a makeshift camp for displaced people in the al-Saftawy area in northern Gaza,” the health ministry said in a statement.
Several tank mortar shells fell into the school that was directly targeted, the ministry said.
Another strike on people evacuating southern Gaza killed 14 people, the ministry said.
How the Israel-Palestine conflict is tearing the art world apart
04:48 , Arpan Rai
When it was announced early last month, “Treasured Ornament: 10 Centuries of Islamic Art” promised an exhibit that evoked “the rich history of the Islamic world, and the shared human experiences that bind us, transcending borders and boundaries”.
The exhibit at the Frick Pittsburgh museum was set to open on 4 November. But, in the days after Hamas’s 7 October attacks in Israel, Israel’s siege of Gaza and a bombardment campaign that has killed thousands of Palestinians, the museum quietly decided to postpone the opening.
First, the museum blamed a “scheduling conflict” for the cancellation. But it followed up with a later announcement that linked the decision to the conflict between Israel and Hamas, explaining that “it would have been impossible to predict that war would erupt in the Middle East” during the show.
Alex Woodward reports:
Foreign Secretary welcomes safe passage out of Gaza for British citizens
04:22 , Arpan Rai
Britain is pressing for a key border crossing to remain open after more UK nationals secured safe passage out of Gaza, according to foreign secretary James Cleverly.
Around 100 British citizens were expected to be able to leave Gaza for Egypt yesterday, with the in-laws of Scotland’s first minister Humza Yousaf among those permitted to leave the territory through the Rafah crossing.
Mr Cleverly welcomed the “positive news” of getting a “number” of British nationals through the crossing, telling broadcasters: “We will continue to work to keep that crossing open, to liaise directly with Israel, with Egypt to ensure that as many British nationals can leave Gaza as possible.”
Watch: Israel says it has bombed Hamas ‘tunnel route’ in Gaza
04:00 , Jane Dalton
More than 72 UNRWA members killed in Gaza war
03:57 , Arpan Rai
UN humanitarian chief Martin Griffiths confirmed 72 Unrwa staff members have been killed since 7 October. “I think it’s the highest number of UN staff lost in a conflict,” he said.
The Gaza Health Ministry’s total of more than 9,000 people killed in Gaza is four times as many deaths as during the 50-day conflict between Israel and Hamas in Gaza in 2014 when just over 2,200 Palestinians were killed, Mr Griffiths said.
The real toll will only emerge once buildings are cleared and rubble is taken away, he said.
Mr Griffiths called for humanitarian pauses to get aid to millions of people. He also urged the immediate release of all hostages and protection of all civilians by both sides as required under international humanitarian law.
Average Gazan living on two pieces of bread a day, and people need water – UN official
03:41 , Arpan Rai
The average Gazan is living on two pieces of Arabic bread made from flour the UN had stockpiled in the region, yet the main refrain now being heard in the street is “Water, water,” the Gaza director for the UN agency for Palestinian refugees said.
Thomas White, who said he travelled “the length and breadth of Gaza in the last few weeks”, described the place as a “scene of death and destruction”. No place is safe now, he said, and people fear for their lives, their future and their ability to feed their families.
The Palestinian refugee agency, known as UNRWA, is supporting about 89 bakeries across Gaza, aiming to get bread to 1.7 million people, White told diplomats from the UN’s 193 member nations in a video briefing from Gaza.
But, he said, “now people are beyond looking for bread. It’s looking for water”.
Analysis: Hezbollah leaves door open to full-scale war with Israel
03:30 , Jane Dalton
Hezbollah could ratchet up what it’s doing, continuing with skirmishes, tying up Israeli forces. But there appears to be little appetite for a full-scale war in Lebanon, writes Kim Sengupta:
Israel fights US pressure to pause the war, wants hostages back first
03:29 , Arpan Rai
Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu pushed back against growing US pressure for a “humanitarian pause” in the nearly month-old war to protect civilians and allow more aid into Gaza. It has insisted there would be no temporary cease-fire until the roughly 240 hostages held by Hamas are released.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said a temporary halt was needed to boost aid deliveries and help win the release of the hostages Hamas took during its brutal incursion nearly a month ago, after his talks with Netanyahu.But Mr Netanyahu said he told Blinken that Israel was “going with full steam ahead,” unless hostages are released.
US officials initially said they were not seeking a cease-fire, but short pauses in specific areas to allow aid deliveries or other humanitarian activity, after which Israeli operations would resume. Netanyahu has not publicly addressed the idea and has instead repeatedly ruled out a cease-fire.
However, a senior US administration official yesterday said policymakers believe a “fairly significant pause” in fighting will be needed to allow for releases. The idea is modeled on a smaller-scale pause that allowed the freeing of two American hostages from Hamas captivity last month.
Blinken to meet with Arab leaders today for ‘immediate ceasefire’ calls
03:12 , Arpan Rai
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken will meet with the Saudi, Qatari, Emirati and Egyptian foreign ministers as well as Palestinian representatives in Amman, the Jordanian foreign ministry said.
The Arab leaders will stress the “Arab stance calling for an immediate ceasefire, delivering humanitarian aid and ways of ending the dangerous deterioration that thareatens the security of the region”, the ministry said in a statement.
Washington has maintained robust military and political support for Israel, while calling on its ally to take steps to avoid civilian deaths and address Gaza’s humanitarian crisis.
US making intense effort to get hostages out of Gaza, says official
03:05 , Arpan Rai
US officials are making intense efforts to gain the release of hostages held by Hamas militants in Gaza, but there is no guarantee of success or a timeframe, a senior Biden administration official said yesterday.
There was “indirect engagement” aimed at finding a way to get the hostages out but that the work was extremely difficult, the official briefing reporters on condition of anonymity said.
The official said it would require a “very significant pause in the conflict” to get the hostages out.
“It is something that is under a very serious and active discussion... There is no agreement as of yet to actually get this done, but it’s something we’re working on extremely hard,” he said.
“We’re hopeful and doing everything we possibly can to get the hostages out, but there’s absolutely no guarantee a) that it is going to happen or b) when it’s going to happen,” the official added.
Many of the hostages are still being held in Gaza, where the Israeli military has launched air strikes and a ground assault and imposed a siege. Gaza health officials say more than 9,250 Palestinians have been killed.
15 killed in Israeli air strike on an ambulance, says Gaza health officials
02:45 , Arpan Rai
At least 15 people were killed in an Israeli air strike that hit an ambulance, which was part of a convoy carrying injured Palestinians at Gaza’s biggest hospital, al-Shifa, Gaza health officials said.
“Upon their arrival to al-Shifa, (Israel) directly targeted the convoy’s second vehicle, committing a terrible massacre that claimed the lives of 15 (people) and wounded more than 60,” health ministry spokesperson Ashraf al-Qidra said.
The Israeli military said it identified and hit an ambulance “being used by a Hamas terrorist cell” in the battle zone and that it managed to kill a number of Hamas fighters. However, visuals showed children and teenagers dead.
A video shared on social media showed people lying in blood next to an ambulance with flashing lights on a city street as people rushed to help.
Another video showed three ambulances standing in a line, with about a dozen people lying either motionless or barely moving next to them. Several children below the age of 18 were seen dead and lying in a pool of blood.
World Health Organisation Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in a social media post he was “utterly shocked by reports of attacks on ambulances evacuating patients”, adding that patients, health workers and medical facilities must be protected.
Israel deports Gazan workers
02:45 , Jane Dalton
Israel has deported thousands of Palestinian workers from the Gaza Strip back to the besieged territory, Palestinian authorities say.
The permits have been coveted in Gaza, which has an unemployment rate approaching 50 per cent. Israel began issuing the permits in recent years, a measure it thought helped stabilise Gaza and moderate Hamas:
Americans still trapped under Gaza bombs face impossible choices
02:00 , Jane Dalton
A 19-year-old Palestinian-American woman born to Palestinian parents in the US has been told she will be added to the list of names approved to leave for Egypt in the coming days, but she does not know if her mother, father and three younger sibling will be able to leave with her.
There have been chaotic scenes at the border, too, for three days, as hundreds of desperate civilians waited to find out if their names were on the list of those to be evacuated:
Marches row as thousands of pro-Palestinians to protest again in London
01:00 , Jane Dalton
Explainer: The marches due to take place, how many people are expected and what authorities and organisers say:
Watch: Protesters calling for ceasefire take over Kings Cross
Friday 3 November 2023 23:55 , Jane Dalton
Protesters banned from demonstrating at UK Israeli embassy
Friday 3 November 2023 23:30 , Jane Dalton
Pro-Palestinian protesters will be prevented from gathering outside the Israeli embassy in London over the weekend, police say.
The Metropolitan Police said they had imposed a condition under Section 14 of the Public Order Act to prevent demonstrators gathering near the country’s embassy in Kensington, west London.
The force also said it was aware of plans for a static protest in Trafalgar Square, but was not anticipating any need for significant road closures.
It added on social media: “We expect to see further pro-Palestinian protests in central London tomorrow.
“Officers will be on duty to provide reassurance - and to deal with anyone who breaks the law. We also have to maintain the integrity of diplomatic premises.”
We also have to maintain the integrity of diplomatic premises.
We have imposed a condition under Section 14 of the Public Order Act to prevent people involved in pro-Palestinian protests from gathering in the area below outside the Israeli Embassy in Kensington. pic.twitter.com/jiDoytj9Op
— Metropolitan Police (@metpoliceuk) November 3, 2023
German football club axe winger over Israel-Hamas social media posts
Friday 3 November 2023 22:45 , Jane Dalton
Pro-Palestine protest at Armistice would be provocative, says Sunak
Friday 3 November 2023 22:05 , Jane Dalton
Holding a pro-Palestine protest on Armistice Day would be “provocative and disrespectful”, the Prime Minister has said:
Gazan journalist who refused to leave home killed in airstrikes
Friday 3 November 2023 21:31 , Jane Dalton
A Gazan journalist who last month told The Independent he would not evacuate his homeland has been killed in the airstrikes outside al Shifa Hospital.
Haytham Harara said: “I won’t leave my land. “No place in Gaza is safe now. Bombing is everywhere around us. We hear nothing except for the sound of warplanes, massive bombings, and the sirens of ambulances. It is like we are waiting until our turn comes.”
Devastated that journalist Haytham Harara was killed in the Israeli strikes outside Al Shifa Hospifal.
He last told me: ‘Bombing is everywhere. It is like we wait for death until our turn comes.
‘The world has to know that what is happening in Gaza is beyond imagination.’
— Maryam Zakir-Hussain (@maryambzh) November 3, 2023
This is the article by Maryam Zakir-Hussain, after she spoke to Mr Harara:
Watch: Ceasefire protesters stage sit-in on station concourse
Friday 3 November 2023 20:44 , Jane Dalton
Ambulances attack 'killed 13 people and wounded 26’
Friday 3 November 2023 20:28 , Jane Dalton
The convoy was reportedly transporting wounded patients to the Rafah Crossing, to receive treatment in Egypt, according to charity Medical Aid for Palestinians.
“Attacks on hospitals and ambulances must end. They are sanctuaries for the wounded, places where lives are saved and suffering is alleviated. If even hospitals are not protected, then there truly is no safe place anywhere in Gaza,” said Melanie Ward, chief executive of the charity.
“The international community must urgently demand a ceasefire, and an end to Israel’s indiscriminate bombardment of Gaza.”
She said 14 hospitals were already out of service and that the Shifa Hospital was overwhelmed with injured patients, dead bodies and tens of thousands of displaced people sheltering.
Due to a lack of generator fuel, the hospital has been forced to shut down power to all but the most essential services, the charity says.
Israel says it carried out al-Shifa ambulance bombing
Friday 3 November 2023 19:54 , Jane Dalton
Israel says it carried out the bombing of an ambulance at al-Shifa Hospital, Gaza’s largest.
Tel Aviv has accused Hamas of concealing command centres and tunnel entrances in al-Shifa hospital.
Ashraf al-Qidra, spokesperson for the health ministry in Gaza, said the ambulance was part of a convoy targeted as it was leaving the hospital.
He said “a big number” of people were killed and wounded.
The Israeli Defence Forces said: “We emphasise that this area is a battle zone. Civilians in the area are repeatedly called upon to evacuate southwards for their own safety.”
Two people arrested at pro-Palestinian demonstration
Friday 3 November 2023 19:39 , Jane Dalton
Two protesters have been arrested at a pro-Palestinian demonstration that caused travel disruption at King’s Cross station in central London.
Hezbollah warns US of wider war if Israeli attacks go on
Friday 3 November 2023 19:23 , Jane Dalton
The leader of Lebanon’s Iran-backed Hezbollah group has warned the United States that if Israel did not stop its assault on Gaza, the conflict could widen into a regional war.
Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah also threatened the US, Israel’s main ally, hinting his Iran-backed paramilitary group was ready to confront American warships in the Mediterranean.
A heavily armed ally of Gaza’s Hamas militants, Hezbollah has been engaging Israeli forces on the Lebanon-Israel border in the biggest flare-up since it fought a war with Israel in 2006.
“You, the Americans, can stop the aggression against Gaza because it is your aggression,” Nasrallah said. “Whoever wants to prevent a regional war, and I am talking to the Americans, must quickly halt the aggression on Gaza.”
He added that Hezbollah did not fear the US naval firepower Washington has assembled in the region.
“You, the Americans, know very well that if war breaks out in the region, your fleets will be of no use, nor will fighting from the air be of any benefit, and the one who will pay the price will be ... your interests, your soldiers and your fleets,” he said.
Travel chaos at Kings Cross as hundreds hold Pro-Palestinian protest
Friday 3 November 2023 19:17 , Jane Dalton
Hundreds of Pro-Palestinian protesters are holding a sit-in at one of London’s busiest stations as campaigners call for a ceasefire in Gaza:
More Britons flee Gaza at Rafah, says UK government
Friday 3 November 2023 19:10 , Jane Dalton
Foreign Secretary James Cleverly, in a post on social media, wrote: “The UK has secured the safe passage of more British nationals out of Gaza. We will ensure as many British nationals can leave Gaza as possible.
“We’re working closely with Egyptian and Israeli authorities to provide direct support at the Rafah crossing.”
In a video in the same post, Mr Cleverly said: “What we have seen is some positive news that we are now getting a number of British nationals through that crossing and we will continue to work to keep that crossing open, to liaise directly with Israel, with Egypt to ensure that as many British nationals can leave Gaza as possible.”
Israel bombs ambulance in effort to target 'Hamas terror cell’
Friday 3 November 2023 19:01 , Jane Dalton
Israel’s defence forces (IDF) have admitted bombing an ambulance, saying Hamas had been using it to carry terrorists and weapons.
But the health ministry in Gaza said the ambulance was part of a convoy that Israel targeted as it was leaving al-Shifa Hospital, adding that “a big number” were killed and wounded.
Spokesman for the ministry Ashraf al-Qidra said Israel had targeted the convoy of ambulances in more than one location, including at al-Shifa Hospital gate and at Ansar Square half a mile away.
A statement by Israeli defence forces read: “An IDF aircraft struck an ambulance that was identified by forces as being used by a Hamas terrorist cell in close proximity to their position in the battle zone.
“A number of Hamas terrorist operatives were killed in the strike.
“We intend to release additional information. More detailed information was shared with intelligence agencies who we work with.
“We have information which demonstrates that Hamas’ method of operation is to transfer terror operatives and weapons in ambulances.
“We emphasise that this area is a battle zone. Civilians in the area are repeatedly called upon to evacuate southwards for their own safety.”
Blinken urges Israel to suspend Gaza attacks
Friday 3 November 2023 18:45 , Jane Dalton
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has urged Israel to temporarily stop its military offensive on Gaza to allow aid to enter the Palestinian enclave but faced pushback from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who rejected any such halt unless hostages held by Hamas militants are freed.
“A number of legitimate questions were raised in our discussions today including how to use any period of pause to maximize the flow of humanitarian assistance, how to connect the pause to the release of hostages, how to ensure that Hamas doesn’t use these pauses or arrangements to its own advantage,” Blinken told reporters at a Tel Aviv press conference.
“These are issues that we need to tackle urgently, and we believe they can be solved.”
France to host humanitarian conference for Gaza citizens
Friday 3 November 2023 18:10 , Jane Dalton
France will host an international humanitarian conference for the civilian population in Gaza on Thursday, as it looks to coordinate aid for the besieged Palestinian enclave.
The Palestinian Authority would be present, but Israel was not set to be invited, diplomatic sources said.
While Paris has offered its support for Israel over the deadly attack by Hamas Islamists, there has been growing concern over civilian casualties in Gaza.
President Emmanuel Macron confirmed to reporters in Brittany that the conference would take place.
The conference will be at head of state, government and foreign minister level. Key regional stakeholders such as Egypt, Jordan and the Gulf Arab countries will be invited as well as the main Western and European powers.
International institutions and organisations will also be present, the diplomats said.
The conference will aim to mobilise financial resources with several sectors identified for emergency support based on United Nations’ assessments of the immediate needs.
Two women charged under Terrorism Act over paraglider pictures
Friday 3 November 2023 17:49 , Jane Dalton
Two women have been charged under the Terrorism Act in connection with displaying images of a paraglider during a march in London:
Ambulances heading to Rafah crossing hit by missile
Friday 3 November 2023 17:45 , Jane Dalton
More than 300 extra people allowed through Rafah crossing
Friday 3 November 2023 17:23 , Jane Dalton
Several hundred more people have been allowed out of Gaza through the Rafah crossing, Palestinian officials say.
They comprised 355 foreign passport-holders and their dependents, 16 wounded people and 15 people escorting the wounded, officials said.
People ‘killed as Israeli strikes' ambulance convoy to the south
Friday 3 November 2023 15:17 , Barney Davis
Israel’s military said on Friday it was looking into a report by the health ministry in the Hamas-run Gaza Strip that scores of Palestinians were killed and wounded in an Israeli strike on an ambulance convoy carrying critically wounded people south.
The health ministry spokesman, Ashraf Al-Qudra, had earlier called for protection from the Red Cross for the convoy fearing they would be attacked.
He announced they would send critically injured Palestinians who needed to be urgently transferred for treatment in Egypt from Gaza City and the north to the south.
Director of Al-Shifa Medical Complex said at least 60 people were killed and wounded in the massacre at the hospital gates.
Netanyahu rules out ceasefire a key US request
Friday 3 November 2023 15:03 , Barney Davis
Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says he has told the United States that he rejects any ceasefire that does not include “the release of our hostages”.
In a brief televised statement after meeting Antony Blinken, he also says Israel “will not enable the entry of fuel to Gaza.”
Netanyahu begins by promising that victory will be “sharp and clear” and will “resonate for generations.”
He says Israel’s enemies aim to destroy the country and will fail.
“We won’t stop until victory,” he says adding this means “to destroy Hamas, [and attain the] return of the hostages and the restoration of security for our citizens and children.”
US determined Hamas Israel war doesn’t open a second or third front - Blinken
Friday 3 November 2023 14:48 , Barney Davis
US Secretary of State says it’s clear the US is determined that there should not be a second or third front in the war between Hamas and Israel.
“With regard to Lebanon, with regard to Hezbollah, with regard to Iran – we have been very clear from the outset that we are determined that there not be a second or third front opened in this conflict,” Antony Blinken told reporters in Tel Aviv in response to a question about whether the US would be willing to use its firepower in the region.
Blinken said more needs to be done to “protect Palestinian civilians” in Gaza and that, without that, there will be “no partners for peace.”Blinken also said, “we need to substantially and immediately increase the sustainable humanitarian assistance” into Gaza.He said it was critical to restore the path toward a two-state solution to the Israel-Palestinian conflict, calling it the only “guarantor” of a safe and democratic Israel and independent Palestine. Blinken landed in Tel Aviv on Friday for his third trip to Israel since the war began with Hamas’ incursion into Israel on Oct. 7. Blinken will also visit Jordan and may make additional stops in the region before travelling to Asia early next week.
Hezbollah leader claims his troops have been splitting Israeli forces
Friday 3 November 2023 14:32 , Barney Davis
Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah claims that his pro-Iranian group’s actions against Israel on the Lebanese border may seem modest but are “very important”.
Hezbollah have been escalating day by day forcing Israel to keep its forces near the Lebanese border instead of the Gaza Strip and the occupied West Bank, Nasrallah said in a televised address.
He said his forces were well prepared for US warship strikes with all options ‘on the table’.
Nasrallah said in a televised speech that the fighting on the Lebanon-Israel border would “not be limited” to the scale seen until now.
Hezbollah claimed to have launched 19 simultaneous strikes on Israeli army positions and used explosive drones for the first time.
Blinken says US believes a humanitarian pause is important
Friday 3 November 2023 14:11 , Chris Stevenson
While the Hezbollah leader has been speaking, the US secretary of state, Antony Blinken has also been talking, saying that more needs to be done to protect Palestinian civilians in Gaza or else there will be "no partners for peace". He also urged Israel to ensure greater humanitarian aid to the besieged territory. He said that the United States believes humanitarian pauses can be a critical mechanism for protecting civilians while enabling Israel to defeat Hamas, adding that it was an important area of discussion with Israeli leaders in his meetings on Friday.
Speaking to reporters in Tel Aviv, Mr Blinken said humanitarian pauses would help more humanitarian aid to get to Gaza and help countries pursue the goal of releasing hostages, but said the exact details of it were still to be ironed out.
More from Hezbollah chief Nasrallah
Friday 3 November 2023 14:01 , Chris Stevenson
Nasrallah will no doubt be angering Israel with his words. He has warned that people in the region should not “not to lose sight” of two short-term goals: ending the war in Gaza, and enabling the “resistance” in Gaza – including Hamas – “to triumph”.
He said Arab and Muslim states “should spare no efforts to put an end to the war”, adding they should cut off oil and food exports to Israel.
Hezbollah leader speaks for first time since Hamas attack
Friday 3 November 2023 13:58 , Chris Stevenson
Hezbollah's leader has said the Israel-Hamas "battle" has "extended to more than one front" in his first speech since the October 7 attack.Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah that the attack launched by Hamas against Israel was "100% Palestinian".
A formidable military force backed by Iran, Hezbollah has been engaging Israeli forces along the Lebanon-Israel border in the deadliest escalation since it fought a war with Israel in 2006.
Nasrallah thanked groups in Yemen and Iraq, part of what is known as the "Axis of Resistance". It includes Shia Muslim Iraqi militias which have been firing at US forces in Syria and Iraq, and Yemen's Houthis, who have joined in the conflict by firing drones at Israel.
He said the Hamas attack led to an "earthquake" in Israel and that it exposed the country's weakness.
Convoy of ambulances will attempt to cross Gaza
Friday 3 November 2023 13:30 , Bel Trew
Gaza’s health ministry has said it will at 4pm local time start a convoy of wounded in ambulances to go from the north to the south of Gaza along the coastal road - and has asked ICRC to accompany it.
The Ministry of Health said in an urgent appeal: “In view of the presence of hundreds of serious and critical cases of those wounded in the Israeli aggression, which exceeded the capabilities and carrying capacity of the Al-Shifa Medical Complex, which requires their exit to hospitals in the Arab Republic of Egypt, but the Israeli occupation insists on preventing their arrival to the southern Gaza Strip by blocking roads and targeting ambulances.”
They asked the Red Cross (ICRC) to help provide safe passage for the wounded to take them south along Al-Rashid Street.
They added: “We ask the ICRC to join us through the sea road, at exactly four o’clock in the afternoon this Friday, and this will coincide with the return of ambulances that have been detained in the southern Gaza Strip since yesterday and cannot move as a result of the Israeli occupation targeting them and all other humanitarian crews.”
Israel warns Hezbollah not to ‘sacrifice its future for Hamas’ as its leader makes key speech
Friday 3 November 2023 12:48 , Bel Trew
Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah is set to make his first public comments since Israel began bombing Gaza, in retaliation for the deadly attack by Hamas on the south of the country on 7 October. Hezbollah is part of what Iran calls the “Axis of Resistance” alongside Hamas.
Israel fears the speech - slated for 3pm local time - will see the formidable Iran-backed force announce the start of an all-out regional war or mark a significant escalation in strikes along its northern border.
Thai officials in talks with Hamas over release of 23 hostages
Friday 3 November 2023 12:33 , Barney Davis
At least 23 Thai nationals were among more than 240 people taken captive by Hamas militants when they burst out of Gaza on Oct. 7 and went on a killing and kidnapping spree through southwestern Israeli communities. Israel responded by relentlessly bombarding the enclave, then invading it.
Areepen Uttarasin, a veteran Thai politician and former education minister, said he travelled to the Iranian capital Tehran and met senior Hamas officials there on Oct. 26 for over two hours.
“They told me that the Thai hostages are living comfortably and are out of danger,” Areepen told Reuters, declining to name the Hamas officials he met. “I told them that I am here not to negotiate but simply to ask for their release.”
Israel stopping patients from reaching Egyptian hospitals as Gaza doctors down to back-up generators
Friday 3 November 2023 12:11 , Bel Trew
A Gaza ministry of health spokesman told reporters on Friday: “Israel deliberately prevents the wounded from hospitals in the northern Gaza Strip from going out for treatment in the Arab Republic of Egypt as a result of cutting off roads between the north and south of the Strip.
“[We are now} Operating the secondary generators in Al-Shifa Medical Complex and the Indonesian Hospital after the main electrical generators were shut down. This means work can only continue in only three sensitive services and electricity is cut off from the rest of the hospital departments.
“We will try to connect electricity for only 4 hours to the oxygen and sterilization stations, water pumps and some support services.”
First minister’s inlaws allowed to leave Gaza
Friday 3 November 2023 11:57 , Barney Davis
Scotland’s First Minister Humza Yousaf has confirmed that his wife Nadia’s parents, who were trapped in Gaza, were able to leave the country through the Rafah crossing this morning.
We're hugely relieved that Nadia's parents have been able to leave Gaza. We thank everyone for their messages of comfort over the past few weeks.
Our thoughts are very much with those who can not leave and still suffering in Gaza. We will continue to raise our voices for peace. pic.twitter.com/uFU1vUfDBe
— Humza Yousaf (@HumzaYousaf) November 3, 2023
Israeli Colonel says soldiers engaged in ‘complex guerrilla warfare’ with Hamas
Friday 3 November 2023 11:30 , Bel Trew
Lt Colonel Richard Hecht, a spokesperson for the Israeli military said Israel had “completed the encirclement of Gaza City” and was now engaged “in a complex urban fight.”
“It’s very, very close quarter combat between our troops and Hamas operatives… It’s guerrilla warfare. It’s people popping out of tunnels,” he told reporters.
He added that the operational goal right now was to finish the encirclement of the city and then “start handling the Hamas infrastructure inside the city.”
“We are on key points [around Gaza city] - it is not a siege. There’ll be still options for people that want to move south so they ca move south. We’ll be doing slowly operations within the city, taking care of Hamas infrastructure. We’ve got UAV coverage we’ve got these forces which are in the south, north and east.”
French news agency AFP reported that their offices in Gaza city were hit on Thursday in a suspected Israeli drone strike, despite the fact that the Israeli military has the coordinates of their bureau.
Lt.Col said the military was still investigating the bombing of the building and the preliminary assessment was it was not an Israeli strike.
A dozen cancer patients have died already after Gaza’s only specialist hospital ran out of fuel
Friday 3 November 2023 11:26 , Barney Davis
Around a dozen cancer patients have died since the Turkish Friendship Hospital ran out of fuel on Wednesday, according to Palestinian health authorities.
Dr Ashraf Al-Qudra Spokesman for the Ministry of Health said at a press briefing: “We call on the president, government and people of Turkey to provide protection to the Turkish hospital, the only hospital catering to cancer patients in Gaza. It is totally out of operation due to the absence of fuel.
“As we speak, we have lost a dozen of cancer patients simply because the Turkish hospital is out of operation.”
In an update by Medical Aid for Palestinians, Dr. Marwan Abusada, chief of surgery at Gaza’s Al-Shifa Hospital, said the situation was “beyond catastrophic” at hospitals in Gaza.
“We are almost out of fuel... The consumption needs are immense due to the influx of injuries and the thousands of people who are displaced and seeking refuge in the hospital,” Abusada said, adding Al-Shifa had more than 800 injured people, far beyond its capacity.
He said many displaced people were living in the hospital courtyard and inside the building, including its corridors, and that there was a high chance of pandemics spreading between the patients and displaced.
“The ER rooms are beyond full. We have zero capacity to treat all the injured people. Every hour we have tens of injured that come for treatment. We are facing a real catastrophe.”
IDF release footage of blasts targeting Hamas tunnel networks
Friday 3 November 2023 11:06 , Barney Davis
Israel Defence Forces have released footage of a bombing campaign on Hamas tunnel network.
An extensive labyrinth of tunnels stretch underneath the densely populated Gaza strip, hiding Hamas fighters, their rocket arsenal and over 200 hostages they now hold after an unprecedented Oct. 7 attack on Israel.
🔴 IDF troops uncovered tunnel shafts, rigged them with explosives, and neutralized Hamas’s terrorist tunnels during special operations inside Gaza. pic.twitter.com/LlSE7FbBt8
— Israel Defense Forces (@IDF) November 3, 2023
Clearing and collapsing those tunnels will be crucial if Israel seeks to dismantle Hamas. But fighting in densely populated urban areas and moving underground could strip the Israeli military of some of its technological advantages while giving an edge to Hamas both above and below ground.