Israel continues assault on Gaza, faces challenges in ground invasion amidst growing global outrage over Palestinian casualties - Day 27 as it happened

Ahram Online , Friday 3 Nov 2023

The Israeli military's ground invasion of Gaza faces mounting challenges and difficulties as the war shows no signs of relenting after 27 consecutive days. The Palestinian death toll continues to climb without respite, fueling a surge in international outrage against what is widely perceived as Israel's attacks that amount to crimes.

Gaza Strip
Rescuers search the home of Palestine TV journalist Mohamed Abu Hatab, who was killed along with family members during Israeli bombardment on Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip on November 2, 2023. AFP


00:45 Chilean President Gabriel Boric said Thursday from outside the White House that the response from Israel has been “disproportionate and it is violating humanitarian international law.”

Boric’s administration recalled its ambassador to Israel earlier this week amid the ongoing Israel-Hamas conflict. Boric was meeting with Biden in the Oval Office during his trip to the U.S. for the Americas Partnership for Economic Prosperity Leaders’ Summit. The presidents did not speak about the conflict publicly during their remarks.

00:05  Lebanon’s state-run National News Agency says four civilians were killed Thursday afternoon in Israeli bombardment of a border area in southern Lebanon.

The agency said the four were killed in Israeli strikes on the Saluki Valley area.

23:00 The Palestinian Red Crescent announced it has received 102 humanitarian aid trucks through the Rafah crossing, the highest number in a single day since the crossing was opened on 21 October.

22:45 Israeli forces storm into Jenin.

22:30 Israel launches intensive airstrike on Gaza. 

22:10 The World Health Organization slammed the lack of safety guarantees for bringing humanitarian aid into the Gaza Strip, saying it was near impossible to get medical supplies to hospitals.

21:35 The Egyptian Ministry of Health and Population announced on Thursday that 21 wounded Palestinians arrived from Gaza through the Rafah border crossing on Thursday to receive treatment in Egypt. 

16 Palestinians had already arrived on Wednesday to receive treatment on the first day of the crossing opening.

20:45 Israel's army said Thursday its forces have encircled the Hamas-stronghold of Gaza City following days of expanding ground operations in the besieged Palestinian territory.

Military spokesman Daniel Hagari said that troops had "completed the encirclement of Gaza City".

20:40 Israeli army spokesman says 335 soldiers have been killed since the beginning of the war on 7 October.

20:10 The United Nations agency for Palestinian refugees said four schools sheltering displaced people had been damaged over the past day of Israeli strikes on the Gaza Strip.

One of the schools affected was in Jabalia refugee camp "after two days of heavy bombardments in the area," an UNRWA statement said, while the others were in Shati, or beach camp, and two in Bureij.

20:05 U.S. President Joe Biden said that 74 Americans with dual citizenship have been evacuated from the Gaza Strip.

“We got out today 74 American folks out that are dual citizens,” Biden said, calling the update “good news.”

His remarks came during a meeting with the president of the Dominican Republic in the Oval Office.

White House national security spokesman John Kirby said the 74 Americans who left Gaza on Thursday came on top of the five Americans who left on Wednesday.

“I want to stress that these numbers are changing in real time.”

20:00 Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz has donated 30 million Saudi Riyal while Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Crown Prince and Prime Minister, donated 20 million to the fundraising campaign launched today on Sahem Platform by the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSrelief) to aid the Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip.

In a press statement, Advisor to the Royal Court and Supervisor General of the KSrelief Dr. Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Rabeeah said that this fundraising campaign is part of the historical role of the Kingdom in supporting the Palestinian people in various crises, adding that the Saudi humanitarian and development support has never stopped reaching the Palestinian people.

19:45 Five captives from Gaza are free, offering some hope to the families of more than 200 others. 

But the families of those still in captivity have questions, such as why progress has been so slow, why some and not others are being released and whether Israel's punishing bombardment of the Gaza Strip puts their loved ones in danger.

Hamas had earlier released Americans Judith Raanan, 59, and her daughter, Natalie, 18. Also let go were Yocheved Lifshitz, 85, along with Nurit Cooper, 79. Their husbands remain in captivity.

Hamas has said it would let the others go in return for thousands of Palestinian prisoners held by Israel, which has dismissed the offer.

19:05 9,159 Palestinians have been killed and more than 24,000 others injured in Gaza and the West by Israeli attacks since 7 Octobre, the Palestinian Ministry of Health reported.

18:30 Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says Israel has not given approval for fuel shipments into the Gaza Strip.

Netanyahu made the comments after Israel’s military chief said the army could agree to fuel shipments — if there are guarantees that they go only to hospitals and do not reach Hamas.

Speaking at a news conference Thursday, Netanyahu said there has been no decision on fuel imports.

“We are assisting with humanitarian aid, including food, medicine and water — that exists. There has been no decision on fuel.”

17:55  A group of UN human rights experts, including the special rapporteur on the occupied Palestinian territories, said Thursday that "time is running out to prevent genocide and humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza".

"We remain convinced that the Palestinian people are at grave risk of genocide," the experts said in a joint statement. "The time for action is now. Israel's allies also bear responsibility and must act now to prevent its disastrous course of action."

17:20 Lebanon’s militant Hezbollah group says it has attacked an Israeli army post in a disputed area with two suicide drones filled with explosives.

Hezbollah said in a short statement that the drones “precisely” hit their targets Thursday in the disputed Chebaa Farms that Lebanon claims are Lebanese territories.

16:45 Israel army Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi says fuel will be allowed in for use in hospitals.

“We have not brought fuel in to this point. Fuel will be transferred, with oversight, to the hospitals, and we will do everything to ensure that it won’t serve Hamas’s military aims,” he said in a press briefing.

16:15 The Palestinian health ministry said at least 27 people were killed in an Israeli strike near a UN school in the Jabalia refugee camp.

"The bodies of 27 martyrs were recovered and a large number of wounded," said ministry spokesman Ashraf al-Qudra.

15:40 Several Palestinians were killed and injured in Israeli strikes on a house in central Khan Yunis, south of the Gaza Strip. Another 5 people were killed in an Israeli strike on the Bureij refugee camp in Gaza, according to Reuters.

15:35 The Palestinian resistance fighters fired a rocket barrage at the city of Beersheba and at the nearby town of  Hatzerim in the Negev. Al Qassam Brigades announced it had destroyed an Israeli tank in the northwestern Gaza axis and killed three Israeli soldiers.

15:30 Israel says that it did not receive any “announcement or decision from the Bahraini government to recall the countries’ ambassadors.”

“Israel-Bahrain relations are stable,” says the Israeli Foreign Ministry in an official statement.

15:22 President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi underscored the pressing importance of securing a ceasefire in Gaza.

He highlighted, in a phone call with the Prime Minister of the Netherlands, Mark Rutte, the perilous humanitarian conditions and extensive destruction in the Strip.

Sisi urged for a strong international stance dedicated to preventing further loss of life, facilitating the delivery of humanitarian assistance, and fostering opportunities for political solutions.

14:12 According to Al-Arabiya sources, Cairo has rejected a proposal for future management of Gaza that involves Israeli-international participation.

Hamas said that Washington’s statements regarding the arrangements for ruling Gaza after the war are blatant interference attempting to impose a new reality, stressing that any decision regarding Gaza is a decision for the Palestinian people, who are able to determine their fate and future.

14:10 Wael Abu Mohsen, spokesman for the Palestinian side of the Rafah border crossing, has told Agence France-Presse that about 100 foreign passport holders have been allowed to leave Gaza so far today.

A total of 400 foreign passport holders, as well as 60 severely wounded Palestinians in ambulances were due to cross by the end of the day, he added.

A list of those approved to travel Thursday published by the Palestinians shows hundreds of US citizens and 50 Belgians along with smaller numbers from various European, Arab, Asian and African countries.

13:59 UNRWA, the UN relief and works agency for Palestinian people, says that their installations in the Gaza Strip are sheltering around 690,000 internally displaced people.

The situation is “desperate,” it says. Our shelters are almost 4x their intended capacity and overcrowded conditions continue to create severe health and protection concerns.”


13:45 Bahrain officially announced the departure of the Israeli ambassador from the country and the return of its ambassador from Tel Aviv, the Bahraini parliament said in a statement.

Economic relations with Israel have also been suspended.

The Bahraini Council of Representatives stated that the ongoing war, military operations, and continuous Israeli escalation in violation of international humanitarian law compel the council to demand further decisions and measures to safeguard the lives of innocent civilians in Gaza and all Palestinian territories.

13:30 Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Thursday that Israel's recommendation that its citizens leave Russia's North Caucasus region after a violent anti-Israeli protest in Dagestan on Sunday was "anti-Russian", Reuters reported.

In a briefing with reporters, Zakharova said that an Israeli warning against travel in the mostly Muslim regions of the North Caucasus bore "no relation to reality".

Dozens were arrested after hundreds of protesters stormed Makhachkala airport in Dagestan on Sunday, looking for Jewish Israeli passengers to board a plane arriving from Tel Aviv.

Russia has repeatedly criticized Israel's military actions around the Gaza Strip, and restated its long-standing support for a Palestinian state, while also hosting a Hamas delegation in Moscow.

13:18 The Israeli occupation army announced the death of a senior officer during fighting in the Gaza Strip. Lt. Col. Salman Habaka was the commander of the 188th Armored Brigade’s 53rd Battalion. 

He is the most senior officer to have been killed during Israel's ground incursion in the Strip.

Additionally, a soldier of the Border Defense Corps’ Caracal Battalion was seriously wounded in an incident on the Egyptian border.

No further details are given on the circumstances.

Separately, a reservist of the 679th Yiftah Brigade and a Combat Engineering soldier were seriously wounded in overnight operations in the northern part of Gaza.

Hamas resistance fighters ambushed the Israeli force at midnight, attacking them with anti-tank missiles, mortars and drones, leading to “prolonged battles” against the occupation army from Golani’s Battalion 13, according to Israeli radio.

12:57 The Palestinian death toll climbs to 9,061, including 3,760 children as well as 2,326 women, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry. 

Another 32,000 people have been injured.

12:50 Several Palestinians have been killed and others injured in Israeli airstrikes targeting a house in Al-Maghazi refugee camp in central Gaza.



12:35 French minister of the armed forces Sebastien Lecornu, is set to visit the Lebanon-Israel border Thursday, following a meeting with officials in Lebanon Wednesday in a bid to keep the Middle Eastern country out of the ongoing Israeli war on Gaza.

Lecornu's trip comes amid rising border tensions between crisis-shaken Lebanon and its southern neighbour Israel, since the war broke out on 7 October.

Nearly 29,000 people have been displaced in Lebanon amid deadly exchanges between Hezbollah fighters and the Israeli army, a United Nations agency said.

12:20 The Israeli occupying forces have reported that one soldier was killed in Gaza, bringing the death toll to 18 since the commencement of the ground operation.

12:18 Hamas announced that an Israeli troop carrier was destroyed near Al-Khalidi Mosque, northwest of Gaza, by “Al-Yassin 105” missile.

12:02 Israeli Foreign Ministry said that Israel will allow the return of the wounded in the Gaza Strip who are being treated in Egypt. 

11:23 Moscow said that Russian authorities are working with the Palestinian, Egyptian and Israeli authorities to evacuate about 1,000 Russians from Gaza. 

An Egyptian official at the crossing has said that while hundreds were expected to cross Thursday, the numbers could fluctuate during the day.

“Four hundred people holding foreign passports are expected to cross today in addition to 60 wounded,” the official told AFP.

On the Palestinian side, Hisham Adwan, the Rafah crossing’s Gaza director, said about 100 wounded people and 400 foreigners and dual nationals, including US citizens, were expected to cross during the day

The Egyptian official said a total of 361 passport-holders and more than 70 other critically wounded Palestinians desperate to escape Israel's bombardment, were able to exit Gaza through the Rafah Border Crossing on Wednesday morning.

10:55 The Israeli occupation army says that the number of Israeli detainees in Gaza has risen to 242.

10:50 Hezbollah announced the killing of one of its fighters near Israel-Lebanon borders, bringing the death toll to 50 since the start of the Israeli war on Gaza. 

The Israel occupation army said it struck an anti-tank guided missile squad in southern Lebanon preparing an attack against northern Israel.

Separately, a missile was fired by Hezbollah terrorists at an Israeli army position near Manara, causing no injuries, the military says.

10:45 The death toll in Gaza since the start of the war has risen to more than 8,800, the Palestinian Health Ministry announced.10:02 Israel launched a new raid on Beit Hanoun, northeastern Gaza Strip. 

More than 3,600 Palestinian children were killed in the first 25 days of the Israeli war on Gaza, according to Palestinian Health Ministry. They were hit by airstrikes, smashed by misfired rockets, burned by blasts and crushed by buildings.

Nearly half of the crowded strip's 2.3 million inhabitants are under 18, and children account for 40% of those killed so far in the Israeli war. An Associated Press analysis of Gaza Health Ministry data released last week showed that as of 26 October, 2,001 children ages 12 and under had been killed, including 615 who were 3 or younger.

9:42 Two Palestinians have been killed and 3 injured in an Israeli raid on the city of Al-Bireh near Ramallah, West Bank, the Palestinian Ministry of Health announced. 

Multiple Israeli raids were also staged overnight in the West Bank, where at least five more Palestinians were killed, bringing the death toll in the region to 131 since 7 October, the Palestinian health ministry said.

The largest raid took place in the Jenin refugee camp, in the north of the West Bank, where at least three Palestinians were killed. 

Elsewhere, an elderly man was killed by Israeli forces in the occupied West Bank district of Tulkarm early on Wednesday, according to Wafa news agency.

At least 30 people have been arrested in the raids, but the number is likely to rise once the Palestinian Prisoners Society collates final figures.

Meanwhile, Israel, on the same day appointed an ultranationalist lawmaker and radical settlement activist Tzvi Succot as the head of the Israeli parliament (Knesset) West Bank subcommittee. The United Nations and the United States raised concerns, on Wednesday, over Israeli terrorist settler violence in the occupied West Bank, 

More than 820 Palestinians in the occupied West Bank have been displaced amid terrorist settler violence and increased movement restrictions since the beginning of the war on 7 October, said the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OHCA) in a statement on Wednesday. 

The UN agency also noted a significant rise in Israeli settler violence with an average of three incidents per day in 2023 to seven a day now.

On Thursday, terrorist settlers set fire to Palestinian shops, cars, olive groves, and other property in the village of Deir Sharf in the northern West Bank, following the fatal terror shooting of an Israeli in the same area.

Videos posted on social media, including by the B’Tselem organization as well as Israeli and Palestinian activists, show plumes of smoke rising from numerous places in the town.

Video footage posted by activists also shows Palestinian olive groves set ablaze, allegedly by settlers, near Jit Junction several kilometers away from the site of the terror attack.

9:35 Hamas said that 195 people were killed by Israeli strikes this week on Gaza's Jabalia refugee camp, which the UN says may be “disproportionate attacks that could amount to war crimes”.

"The victims of the first and second massacres in Jabalia exceed 1,000" including "dead and wounded", said the Hamas press office in a statement referring to strikes on Tuesday and Wednesday.

9:25 An estimated 1.4 million people are currently displaced in the Gaza Strip, according to the main UN agency in Palestine.

Since 7 October, UNRWA said 70 of its colleagues have been killed and another 22 injured.

“This is the highest number of UN aid workers killed in a conflict in such a short time,” it added.

9:10 Lawmakers in the U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday defeated a resolution censuring Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) for her criticism of Israel and her speech to a protest calling for a ceasefire of the Israeli war on Gaza. All Democrats and 23 Republicans rejected the measure, which was forced to a vote by right-wing Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene. Israel lawmakers on both sides of aisle have publicly and privately cast Tlaib's comments about Israel as repugnant.

The resolution cites a protest on 18 October in the rotunda of the Cannon House office building where activists called for a ceasefire. The protest at the Cannon rotunda was organized by the groups Jewish Voice for Peace and IfNotNow. The groups also organized a rally on the National Mall the same day.

Tlaib was not present at the protest in the Cannon office building rotunda on 18 October. Tlaib, the first Palestinian American woman to serve in Congress, spoke at a rally in support of a ceasefire that took place outside of the Capitol that day and posted on X, “Thank you to our Jewish allies from across the country who joined in solidary to call for a #CeasefireNOW.”

9:05 Joe Biden has said there should be a “pause” in the fighting in Gaza to enable the release of Israeli detainees, as Hamas said nearly 200 people had been killed in two days of Israeli airstrikes on the Jabalia refugee camp.

The US president was speaking at a campaign fundraiser in Minneapolis on Wednesday “I think we need a pause. A pause means to give time to get the prisoners out.”

9:02 Egypt’s foreign ministry has said it will help evacuate about 7,000 foreigners and dual nationals from the Gaza Strip.

In a meeting with foreign diplomats, the country’s assistant foreign minister said Egypt was preparing “to facilitate the reception and evacuation of foreign citizens from Gaza through the Rafah crossing”.

The official said the figure of “about 7,000” represents “more than 60” nationalities. 

Hundreds of foreign passport-holders and dozens of other seriously wounded Palestinians desperate to escape Israel's bombardment of Gaza crowded around the black metal gate on the Egyptian border Wednesday, hoping to pass through the Strip’s only portal to the outside world for the first time since the war began.

More than 20,000 wounded people are still trapped in the Strip, according to Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF). MSF said that 22 of its international staff members in Gaza had been among those who left the territory via the Rafah border crossing.

“However, there are still over 20,000 injured people in Gaza with limited access to healthcare due to the siege,” it said.

MSF’s Palestinian staff were still offering care in the territory, it added, and another international team was waiting to enter the territory to replace those who left “as soon as the situation allows”.

Egypt has been caught in a dilemma for weeks about opening the Rafah crossing into Gaza: wanting to help the most seriously injured Palestinians leave, but adamantly refusing to contemplate a surge of Palestinian refugees into the Sinai peninsula as the Palestinians fear a repeat of the Nakba, or catastrophe – the expulsion of 700,000 Palestinians in 1948 by Israeli terrorists Haganah and soldiers.

9:00 Both Palestinian resistance fighters and the Israeli occupation army have continued their ground operations. Israel reports that 'dozens' of Hamas members were killed in overnight operations, while Hamas claims to have also inflicted casualties on the Israeli side, including the lives of 12 Israeli soldiers.
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