Gaza under attack: Humanitarian crisis deepens as Israel gets ready for a ground offensive - Day 5 as it happened

Ahram Online , Thursday 12 Oct 2023

The Israeli war on Gaza continues, causing destruction, casualties, and displacement in the coastal enclave, with up to 60 percent of casualties coming from vulnerable populations like children and elderly, according to the Palestinian health ministry.

Palestinians evacuate a neighbourhood in Gaza City on October 11, 2023 AFP
Palestinians evacuate a neighbourhood in Gaza City on October 11, 2023 AFP


Israeli leaders pledged to eradicate Hamas while continuing to target civilians in Gaza, with the backing of full US support. As of the latest update, over 1,100 Palestinians have killed by Israeli attacks, with 326 children among the victims, and 5,339 individuals have been injured. 

Dire conditions in Gaza's overwhelmed hospitals and critical shortages of medical supplies and fuel. Gaza's only power plant ran out of fuel and had to be shut down after Israel cut off fuel supplies. Palestinian resistance groups retaliate with rocket attacks as Israel forms a war government. 

Hamas has vehemently denied allegations of harming children and beheading civilians, dismissing these claims as Israeli propaganda. Meanwhile, international calls for a ceasefire and humanitarian aid have grown, with China, Russia, and regional actors like Hezbollah criticizing U.S. support for Israel.

Egypt's President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi has warned of severe consequences from the ongoing conflict and called for efforts to halt the violence and safeguard civilian lives and the Arab League has called for an immediate cessation of the Israeli offensive and the lifting of the Gaza siege.


01:22 Heavy Israeli airstrikes are ongoing in Gaza, and Palestinian Television reports that 22 more people have been killed in the attack.

01: 05 Journalists grilled the US State Department over Israeli 'war crimes' and 'genocidal rhetoric' after not a word of criticism of Israel was uttered from Washington for the killing of Palestinian civilians and children. "Does Israel have a right to kill civilians, Matt?" they asked Matthew Miller, the American State Department's spokesperson. 'Will you urge Israel not to starve and slaughter people?'", “So baby killing is ok here?”.

00:55 The Ministry of Health in Gaza warns that healthcare services have entered a critical stage, says medicines, medical supplies, and fuel are running low.

00:45 Over 180,000 Palestinians in the Gaza Strip are packed into U.N. shelters as Israeli warplanes pound the tiny territory of 2.3 million people. Residents say there is no real escape in Gaza, which has been under a suffocating 16-year blockade imposed by Israel. 

00:38 Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman discussed the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, Iranian state media reported. The news report said it was the first telephone call between the two leaders since a China-brokered deal between Tehran and Riyadh to resume ties. 

Raisi and bin Salman discussed the “need to end war crimes against Palestine”, it added. Raisi has reacted to the escalating violence by saying Iran “supports the legitimate defence of the Palestinian nation”.

23:45 Al Jazeera TV released images showing Hamas' Al-Qassam Brigades releasing an Israeli woman and her two children.

23:20 Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman called for an immediate halt to Israeli attacks on Gaza, reaffirming Saudi Arabia's unwavering support for the Palestinian cause and endorsing efforts to secure a comprehensive and just peace that safeguards the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people, as reported by Sky News Arabia

23:01 Announcing the formation of an emergency government with the addition of National Unity, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said “Every member of Hamas is a dead man.” Standing next to him in a televised statement, Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant calls the Hamas attack “the worst". "Hamas will be wiped from the face of the earth,” he added. Hamas refuted earlier Israel’s claims that the group had killed children and beheaded civilians during its multi-pronged assault. In a statement, the group “firmly” rejected the accusations as Israeli propaganda allegedly “fabricated and disseminated by certain Western media outlets that uphold the Zionist narrative.” 

23:00 Palestinians who have been expelled from their workplaces in Israel have begun showing up in the West Bank city of Ramallah, where a temporary shelter was set up to house them. The sudden influx of about 600 workers created an “overwhelming situation” that is bound to get worse as more arrive, Ramallah Governor Laila Ghannam said Wednesday. 

At the shelter where men sat on mattresses, some workers said they had been abused by Israeli soldiers. Khader Achour, another Gaza resident who had worked in Israel, said he wanted to return home but it had been demolished and his nephew, cousin and neighbor had all been killed. “I wish to return to my family in Gaza to die among them,” Achour said.

22:26 Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has launched a negotiation process with Hamas seeking the release of Israeli captives who were taken by the Palestinian resistance group, an official source told AFP. "They are negotiating to secure the release of the captives," the source said. the Palestinians have captured at least 100 war prisoners, during their attack on Israel on Sunday.

21:50 Egypt's Minister of Foreign Affairs Sameh Shoukry said that "Israel bears full responsibility for the fate of Gaza", during an emergency meeting at the Arab League. "Israel indiscriminate collective punitive measures blatantly violate international law," he added.

21:15 At least four Palestinians were killed as armed Israeli settlers attacked a town south of Nablus in the occupied West Bank, the Palestinian health ministry said. In a separate incident, another Palestinian man was killed by Israeli army fire near Bethlehem, the ministry said. The latest fatalities bring to 28 the Palestinian death toll in the West Bank in violence since Hamas launched on Saturday an assault on Israel's south from the blockaded Gaza Strip.

21:00  The Arab League warns against any attempts to displace Palestinians from their land and calls for the immediate lifting of the siege on Gaza to allow the entry of humanitarian aid. During an emergency meeting at its headquarters in Cairo, foreign ministers of Arab countries called for the immediate cessation of the Israeli war on the Gaza Strip and the surrounding escalation.

20:57  The U.S. said it is discussing with Israel and Egypt options for securing safe passage for civilians living in Gaza who may be caught in the crossfire as Israel retaliates from Hamas’s attacks and prepares for a likely ground offensive.

National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told reporters that these efforts remain under way, noting that civilians are protected under international law. “Civilians are not to blame for what Hamas has done,” Kirby said. “They didn't do anything wrong.”

20: 55 A second US aircraft carrier will be available to show support for Israel, the White House said Wednesday, after a first vessel took up position in the region.The USS Dwight D. Eisenhower will be arriving in the Mediterranean soon on a pre-planned mission "and she certainly will be an available asset if needed," National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said.

20:50 The Israeli occupation army issued an updated statement, ruling out a "suspected infiltration" into Israel from Lebanon "as of right now." There is no major security incident in northern Israel, the army chief spokesperson Daniel Hagari said.

This comes after Tel Aviv earlier said a report was received regarding a suspected "infiltration from Lebanon into Israeli air space." Sirens warning of incoming rocket fire were activated in most of northern Israel. “There was an error - whether technical or human error,” Hagari said at the press event.

19:10 The Secretary-General of the Arab League, Ahmed Aboul Gheit, addressed the Arab Ministers of Foreign Affairs during an emergency meeting, expressing concern about the serious possibilities of the situation escalating further and the confrontations expanding. He emphasized his hope that these possibilities do not become a reality, as they would lead the entire region into uncharted territory.

19:08 The Red Cross federation said five members of the world's largest humanitarian network had been killed in the war between Hamas and Israel, including four paramedics as ambulances were hit on Wednesday."The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies is devastated to confirm the deaths of five members of our network due to the armed hostilities in Israel and the Gaza Strip," the IFRC said in a statement.

The organization pleaded for civilians and healthcare workers to be protected in the war."The IFRC reiterates the call on all parties to respect their legal obligations under international humanitarian law. This is non-negotiable. Civilians, healthcare workers, health facilities and civilian infrastructure must be respected and protected at all times. They are not a target."

19:00 Israeli Military says it received reports of suspected infiltration from Lebanon into Israeli airspace.

18:20 More than 1,100 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli air strikes on Gaza, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health.

18:00 The UNRWA says its staff in Gaza are working around the clock to assist nearly 175,000 displaced people in our shelters adding that two UNRWA schools were affected by Israeli airstrikes, bringing a total number of the UN installations affected by the raids to 20.

17:35 China calls for an immediate ceasefire and the allowing of humanitarian aid to Palestinian people.

17:25 Lebanon’s resistance Hezbollah group blasted the United States for its support of Israel, saying that sending an aircraft carrier to the region “will not scare our people or the resistance movements that are ready for the confrontation.”

Hezbollah said that the U.S. “is a full partner of the Zionist aggression and is responsible for the killings, crimes, siege, the destruction of homes and horrifying crimes against innocent civilians.” The group added in a statement that sending an aircraft carrier to the region reveals the weakness of Israel’s military and its need for continuous foreign support. Hezbollah criticized President Joe Biden’s “flagrant” support to Israel “killing machine.”

17:10 Egypt's President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi issued a warning about the severe consequences, both in terms of security and human suffering, resulting from the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict. During a meeting on Wednesday with Antonio Tajani, Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, he stated that Egypt is actively working and increasing its diplomatic efforts to manage the situation and prevent its further escalation. Sisi stressed the crucial need to halt the violence, safeguard civilian lives, prevent their deliberate targeting, and prevent the worsening of the humanitarian conditions for the Palestinian people.

17:05 The Arab League is holding an emergency ministerial-level meeting in Cairo, at the request of Palestine, to discuss the required political moves and diplomatic efforts to end the ongoing Israeli attacks on Gaza.

On Saturday, Palestine's representative to the organization Mohannad Aklouk requested an emergency ministerial-level meeting to 'end the Israeli aggression on Gaza Strip and provide protection to the Palestinian people', Palestinian News Agency WAFA stated.

17:00 The armed wings of Palestinian resistance groups Hamas and Islamic Jihad said they were targeting southern and central Israel with rockets, as sirens sounded in areas surrounding the Gaza Strip.

Al-Quds Brigades said it was targeting the Israeli cities of Tel Aviv, Ashdod and Ashkelon as well as communities near the Gaza border with "heavy rocket fire", while Ezzedine Al-Qassam Brigades said it had fired a rocket at Ben Gurion airport, where Israeli officials reported no hit. 

16:45 Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Benny Gantz, an opposition party leader who formerly served as head of the army and as defense minister, in a joint statement: An emergency government has been established

16:05 Russian President Vladimir Putin voiced concern at the "catastrophic increase" in the number of civilian victims in Israel and the Gaza Strip, after four days of fighting. He earlier accused the United States on Wednesday of sidestepping an established process of settling the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and of trying to take matters into its own hands without resolving the fundamental issues. Speaking at the start of his talks with visiting Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Al-Sudani, Putin said in his first comment on the war that “many will agree with me that this is a vivid example of the failure of the U.S. policies in the Middle East.”

He added that the U.S. has “tried to monopolize the settlement, but, regrettably hasn’t bothered to search for compromises that would be acceptable to both parties and, just the opposite, sought to enforce their own view of how it should be done, exerting pressure on both parties.”

Putin said the U.S. has failed “to take vital interests of the Palestinian people into account,” ignoring U.N. General Assembly resolutions envisaging the creation of an independent Palestinian state. 

He accused the United States of inflaming the Middle East by sending an aircraft carrier group to the region, saying “compromise solutions” were needed and that he hoped common sense would prevail.

15:15 Israel's Interior Ministry, in response to the ongoing conflict, issued a memorandum advocating for a three-month delay of the scheduled local elections, originally slated for October 31. Interior Minister Moshe Arbel explained, "In light of the challenges posed by the current wartime situation in Israel, we recommend postponing the election day by approximately three months."

15:00 British-Palestinian surgeon Ghasan Abu Sitta expressed the dire situation in the hospital where he is currently stationed in Gaza. In his words, "The hospital has transformed into a refugee camp." He shared with the BBC on Wednesday, "People are afraid, and so they're bringing their families to stay in the compound of the hospital as a safe space."

Abu Sitta described the overwhelming influx of injured individuals, stating, "There is a continuous stream of wounded people." However, he emphasized that Shifa Hospital, much like the majority of healthcare facilities in Gaza, had already reached its full capacity. "Gaza has around 2,200 to 2,500 beds, and we've already had 4,500 wounded," Abu Sitta revealed.

14:55 The power plant in Gaza has stopped operating.

14:50 The UNRWA announced that 9 of its employees were killed in the Israeli bombing of Gaza

14:44 UK Foreign Secretary James Cleverly has arrived in Israel. "The foreign secretary has arrived in Israel today to demonstrate the UK's unwavering solidarity with the Israeli people," according to BBC. Cleverly will be meeting survivors of the attacks and senior Israeli leaders to outline UK support for Israel’s right to defend itself, the BBC added.

14:00 Jordan’s King Abdullah II said on Wednesday that there would be no peace or security in the Middle East without the creation of an independent Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital.
"The Palestinian people must obtain their independent state, and the cycles of killing that innocent people pay the price in Gaza and West Bank must end, and the two-state solution must be the only way to a just and comprehensive peace," King Abdullah II told deputies in a speech at the opening of the new parliamentary session.

#Jordan's King Abdullah says there will not be “security or stability or peace” in the Middle East region until Palestinians achieve a “sovereign” state alongside Israel.

— Al Arabiya English (@AlArabiya_Eng) October 11, 2023
13:45 Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan stressed, "What is happening in Gaza is not a war but a genocide." He added that "Israel should not forget that if it acts as an organization and not as a state, it will also be dealt with on that basis."

He further stated, "Any war that relies on cutting off water, electricity, and roads, and destroying infrastructure, places of worship, and schools is referred to as massacres." Erdogan highlighted, "The United States and the West are adding fuel to the fire."

13:30 Sirens wail in the neighboring city of Ashkelon as a barrage of rocket attacks strikes both Ashkelon and Ashdod, accompanied by the sounds of explosions.

13:25 The United Nations agency for Palestinian refugees reported to the AP that nine of its staffers have lost their lives in retaliatory Israeli airstrikes on Gaza since Saturday, with several of them perishing just late yesterday.

"The protection of civilians is paramount, including in times of conflict," states Juliette Touma, director of communications of the agency, known as UNRWA. She adds, "They should be protected in accordance with the laws of war."

Touma revealed that the airstrikes claimed the lives of the UN staffers in their homes across the territory. She also notes that 18 UNRWA schools-turned-shelters sustained damage due to the bombing, and the agency's headquarters in Gaza City suffered damage without causing casualties.

12:15 Sixty percent of the more than 5000 individuals wounded in Gaza, according to the Palestinian health ministry's report on Wednesday, are children and the elderly.

12:05 The UN humanitarian agency OCHA reported that more than 263,934 people in Gaza are estimated to have evacuated their homes. This alarming figure, as per an update late on Tuesday, is accompanied by a warning that "this number is expected to increase," according to AFP.

11:50 Hamas officials reported that Israeli airstrikes late on Tuesday targeted the family home of Mohammad Deif, the elusive leader of Hamas's military wing. This attack resulted in the tragic loss of his father, brother, and at least two other relatives in the southern town of Khan Younis, as confirmed by senior Hamas official Bassem Naim to The Associated Press on Wednesday. The whereabouts of Mohammad Deif himself have remained unknown for an extended period.

11:45 Israel announced its commencement of operations in Lebanon in retaliation to the launch of anti-tank rockets from Lebanese territory. The Israeli military stated that it initiated strikes in Lebanon following an attack on one of its northern positions by anti-tank fire. Hezbollah has acknowledged responsibility for the anti-tank guided missile attack on an Israeli army post situated along the Lebanon border.

11:30 The Israeli Air Force has deployed jets for launching attacks on targets within the Gaza Strip. It was reported that they claimed to have successfully struck 450 targets within the past 24 hours.

Furthermore, the Israeli occupation army has revealed that they also utilise ground-based rocket launchers in these operations. Spokesperson Daniel Hagari noted that this marks the first instance of deploying such launchers against Gaza targets since the 2006 conflict.

The occupation army has disclosed that dozens of fighter jets participated in these strikes, targeting various sites. These allegedly included two bank branches used by Hamas, an underground tunnel, several war rooms, and other military installations.

11:00 Hamas refuted Israel’s claims that the Islamist group had killed children and beheaded civilians during its multi-pronged assault, which ignited a violent conflict with the Israeli military, resulting in thousands of casualties.

In a statement, the group “firmly” rejected the accusations as Israeli propaganda allegedly “fabricated and disseminated by certain Western media outlets that uphold the Zionist narrative.” The statement defended their audacious attack on Israel by stating that they had only attacked the Israeli military and security apparatus, which they deemed a legitimate target.

The response from Hamas followed the Israeli military’s condemnation, which accused the militants of killing “women, children, babies, and the elderly in a manner reminiscent of the Islamic State” during the attack on the Israeli settlement Kibbutz Kfar Aza.

While the Israeli army facilitated a visit for foreign journalists to the kibbutz, it didn't provide any proof of its claims and there has been no official confirmation regarding any victims being beheaded.


10:27  At least 30 people have been killed and hundreds wounded as Israeli occupation air force hit dozens of sites in the Gaza Strip overnight, a spokesman for Hamas said Wednesday.

Dozens of residential buildings, factories, mosques, and shops were hit, the head of the government’s media office, Salama Marouf, tells AFP.

10:05 According to Israeli occupation army spokesman Jonathan Conricus, the military has reconstructed the barrier surrounding Gaza. In addition, they have deployed "infantry, armoured soldiers, artillery corps" and mobilized 300,000 reservists near the Gaza border.

The Israeli army has issued a warning, stating that "fighting will intensify," despite the rising death toll in both Israel and Gaza.

Jonathan Conricus, the spokesperson, said, "We have sustained extremely heavy casualties... This, however, will not deter us and it will not weaken our resolve."

Conricus expressed his hope that support for Israel would persist even as the conflict escalates. "We hope that remains the case even when the fighting intensifies and the scenes emerging from the Gaza Strip become more challenging to comprehend and handle," he said.

10:00 Gaza can’t reach people who are trapped under rubble, officials say. As Israeli airstrikes are reported nonstop in the Karama district north of Gaza city, many dead and injured are stuck under rubble that Gaza lacks the equipment to handle, Eyad Bozum, the Interior Ministry spokesperson, said in a statement Wednesday.

Bozum said that heavy airstrikes were also reported in the southern town of Khan Younis and in an area east of the Jebaliya refugee camp in northern Gaza, AP said. 

9:55  More than 1,200 Israelis have been killed in the Israel-Hamas conflict, an Israeli occupation army spokesperson said Wednesday, up from 1,000 previously reported.

9:49  At least 950 people have been killed in the Gaza Strip since Israel launched its air strikes on Saturday, the Palestinian Health Ministry says.

9:45 The Gaza Energy Authority says it has only 300,000 liters of fuel left, which will last for just 10-12 hours.

9:30  Israeli fighter jets struck the Islamic University in Gaza City on Wednesday, an AFP correspondent and an official with the Hamas-linked institution said.

"The intense air strikes destroyed completely some buildings of the Islamic University," Ahmed Orabi of the university management told AFP.


The Israeli war on Gaza has resulted in a significant humanitarian crisis, with over 260,000 people being displaced from their homes, according to the United Nations. The heavy bombardments from the Israeli army have targeted various areas in Gaza, including the neighborhoods of Beit Hanon, Al-Furqan, and al-Daraj.

The death toll on both sides has risen, with the Israli army reporting 1,200 Israelis killed, and the Gaza health authority confirming 900 Palestinian deaths, including a significant number of children and women. Civilian infrastructure, such as residential buildings, hospitals, and schools, has been heavily impacted while Israel holds a total siege in the strip that has been left without electricity and scarce water for days, causing growing concern.

Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant has indicated that a ground offensive into Gaza is imminent, stating that they "will come from the ground" in addition to the ongoing airstrikes. The first plane carrying U.S. armaments has arrived in southern Israel, while the Israeli army says that "common enemies know that the cooperation between our militaries is stronger than ever."

Arab Foreign Ministers will be holding an urgent Arab League meeting in Cairo, while the United States says it is engaged in discussions with Israel and Egypt regarding the possibility of establishing a safe passage for civilians in Gaza amid the strikes

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