Israel renews airstrikes on Gaza as humanitarian aid remain stuck at the border- Day 10 as it happened

Ahram Online , Tuesday 17 Oct 2023

Palestinian and Egyptian sources had reported on Monday morning that a 5-hour ceasefire between Israel and Hamas in the south of the Gaza Strip would take effect at 9am local time to allow for the entry of humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip and the evacuation of foreign citizens from the strip but Netanyahu and Hamas denied any agreement was reached.

 West Bank
Palestinians wave the national flag during a march in the West Bank city in Ramallah on October 16, 2023. AFP


00:30 Calling this “the worst of times,” the U.N. humanitarian chief said the United Nations is in “deep discussions” with the Israelis, Egyptians and others about getting aid through the Rafah crossing, “hugely helped” by U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken who has been traveling in the region.

Martin Griffiths, who is heading to Cairo on Tuesday “to try to help in the negotiations,” said he was hoping for “some good news” soon. Griffiths said the U.N.’s “overwhelming priority” is to get access to Gaza, saying humanitarian rules of war are being violated.

“You cannot ask people to move out of harm’s way without assisting them to do it,” by providing safe places and humanitarian aid, and right now Israel has not made these provisions for Gazans moving from the north to the south, Griffiths said.

23:45 President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi discussed on Monday with US President Joe Biden the recent developments regarding the military escalation in the Gaza strip.

22:45 Egypt’s Extra News channel stated that El-Arish Airport received two Qatari planes carrying humanitarian aid for the Gaza Strip in Palestinian territories on Monday evening.

22:15 Al-Qassam Brigades' spokesman, Abu Ubaida, has reported that they currently hold 200 captives, with an additional 50 in collaboration with other factions. Abu Ubaida also noted that, regrettably, 22 of these captives have tragically lost their lives thus far. He further expressed the group's intention to release foreign nationals held in detention as soon as the prevailing conditions on the ground make it feasible.

21:40 Turkey’s top diplomat earlier today discussed the possibility of the release of captives during a phone call with Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh, his office says, according to AFP.

During the phone call, Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan discussed “the latest developments in Palestine and the possibility of release of civilians” with the exiled Haniyeh, the foreign ministry says in a readout.

21:10  The Pentagon has sent “prepare to deploy” orders to about 2,000 US troops to be ready to respond to Gaza war, two US officials say, on the condition of anonymity to discuss a decision that has not been announced yet, according to AP.

The troops are set to cover a variety of support roles, such as additional medical support or explosive ordnance support, including providing additional security at gate crossings, one of the officials says.

They will not be sent to Israel but could be sent to countries in the region, one of the officials says.

20:55 German Chancellor Olaf Scholz confirmed he would travel to Israel and Egypt this week in attempt to contain the crises.

20:40 Putin informs Netanyahu that Russia is ready to assist in deescalating the situation in the region and achieving a peaceful resolution, according to Tass.

20:20 UNRWA denies allegations of looting its warehouses in Gaza.


20:10 The European Union will launch a humanitarian air corridor to Gaza through Egypt with the first flights expected this week, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen announced.

20:00 Israel defence minister Yoav Gallant tell US Secretary of state Antony Blinken that it will be a 'long war and the price will be high' but they are going to win.

19:00 The WHO has issued its latest warning about the increasingly deteriorating humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip, this time saying are were only “24 hours of water, electricity and fuel left” in the enclave before “a real catastrophe” sets in.

The UN health agency’s Regional Director for the Eastern Mediterranean Ahmed Al-Mandhari said the bombarded, besieged territory must be allowed to receive the convoys of aid that are currently stuck at the Rafah border crossing with Egypt.

If assistance does not arrive, doctors will have to “prepare death certificates for their patients”, he said.

18:30 The Israel army announced the names of eight more soldiers who were killed since 7 October to bring the toll to 299.

18:05 At least 2,808 Palestinians have been killed and 10,859 wounded in the Gaza Strip in Israeli bombardment, the health ministry says. According to the media government office in Gaza, 254 Palestinians were killed in the past 24 hours. About 64 percent of all those killed are women and children, 37 medical staff, including doctors, nurses and paramedics, were killed. 

17:45 Lebanon’s militant Hezbollah group says its fighters have targeted five Israeli posts along the border in the country’s south. Hezbollah said in a terse statement that various types of “direct weapons” were used in the late Monday afternoon attack.

Hezbollah fighters have been destroying surveillance cameras placed on Israeli posts along the border amid heightening tensions.

17:30 Leaders in Qatar and Kuwait received invitations Monday for a summit in Cairo to be held on Saturday to "discuss developments and the future of the Palestinian cause and the peace process", AFP said.

State media in both countries announced the invitations a day after Cairo announced its intention to host "a regional and international summit on the future of the Palestinian cause", during a visit by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna said on Monday in Cairo that Paris "welcomes Egypt's initiative" for the summit.

Blinken -- who on Monday returned to Israel after a tour of the region -- had said Sunday that "these kinds of initiatives are good ideas".

17:00 Rocket alert sirens blared Monday in Jerusalem and several blasts were heard in the city, AFP correspondents said, amid the war raging with Hamas militants in Gaza.

The army confirmed "sirens sounding in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem", Israel's biggest cities, while a parliament meeting starting the legislative winter session was interrupted by the rocket alarm.

16:30 Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke at the opening session of the Knesset's winter session, and acknowledged that "there are many questions surrounding the disaster that befell us ten days ago. We will investigate every aspect thoroughly."

However, he emphasized that at this moment, the nation is united towards one goal – victory. "We will triumph because it's about our very existence in this region, which is fraught with dark forces. Hamas is part of the evil axis of Iran and Hezbollah. They aim to plunge the Middle East into an abyss of chaos," he stated.

15:45 US officials are hoping that, sometime later today, a crossing to Gaza can be open for a period of hours to allow some people to leave Gaza before an expected Israeli ground offensive, stated White House spokesman John Kirby. "Right now it's still closed," Kirby told CNN in an interview referring to the Rafah crossing at the border with Egypt. "We're hoping, hoping, that sometime later today, it can be open for a period of hours. But again, we just have to kind of wait and see how this goes," he said.

15:00 The Kremlin calls for an immediate ceasefire and the start of a political settlement process in the Middle East. Russian president Putin is expected to talk with Netanyahu today, for the first time since the war broke out.

4:45 The UN Security Council is to vote, later on Monday, on competing draft resolutions regarding Israel and Gaza, according to diplomats. These draft resolutions, proposed by Russia and Brazil, primarily address the humanitarian crisis in the region. To pass, a resolution requires a minimum of nine affirmative votes and no vetoes.

14:30 German Chancellor Olaf Scholz will travel to Israel and Egypt on Tuesday and Wednesday, the German DPA news agency and other media reported, Scholz is scheduled to depart for Israel following his meeting with Jordan’s King Abdullah in Berlin on Tuesday, DPA reported, and would then travel onwards to Egypt.

14:15 Hamas' military arm, the Al Qassam Brigades, declared a series of missile attacks on Ashkelon, Ashdod, Tel Aviv, Beersheba, and Ben Gurion Airport.

14:00 AFP and AP photographers captured grim images of men and youth scrambling on Monday morning to find survivors in the rubbles of homes that were destroyed overnight by Israeli airstrikes on Khan Younis in the Gaza Strip as the death toll among Palestinians nears 3,000 and the injured climbing over 10,000 in 10 days of relentless Israeli attacks.

13:45 The Ministry of Interior in Gaza sounded alarm bells on Monday afternoon about the severe drinking water crisis facing Palestinians in the besieged Gaza Strip refuting earlier Israel's claims that that it resumed water supplies to the southern parts of the strip. 

For 10 days straight, Israel has cut off water, food, and electricity for the Palestinians in the strip as it rains missiles on Gaza round-the-clock, destroying hundreds of homes and leaving a million people without shelter.

A spokesperson for the ministry stated that the situation has reached a critical point, with residents being compelled to consume unsafe water.

These dire conditions threaten to trigger a serious health crisis and put countless lives at risk, he said.

13:30 The UN humanitarian chief Martin Griffiths said he would be heading to the Middle East on Tuesday to try to help negotiate aid access to the Gaza Strip.

In a video statement, Griffiths said he was hoping to hear some "good news" later Monday on aid access into the blockaded and besieged Palestinian enclave via the Rafah border crossing with Egypt.

13:00 According to Israeli media, Israel is preparing to receive the American President on Wednesday or Thursday. It is expected that President Biden will subsequently visit Egypt.

12:30 President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi told French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna that Egypt calls for de-escalation in the ongoing conflict in Gaza between Hamas and Israel.

In a meeting in Cairo on Monday afternoon, the Egyptian president stressed to the French foreign minister that Egypt rejects the collective punishment and displacement of Palestinians.

12:15 Egypt's Minister of Foreign Affairs Sameh Shoukry said Egypt is seeking to deliver humanitarian aid to the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip through the Rafah border crossing between Egypt and Gaza.

During a press conference with his French counterpart Colonna in Cairo, Shoukry said that the Palestinian people in Gaza are facing a dangerous situation.

"Egypt has aimed since the start of the conflict to keep the Rafah border crossing open."

"Egypt is working with international organizations ... such as the UNRWA and the Red Cross ...  to provide urgent aid to relieve the suffering of civilians in Gaza."

"The Israeli government has not, unfortunately, taken a position to allow for the opening of the Rafah crossing on the Gaza side."

"Israel is preventing aid from entering Gaza." 

"We must focus at this moment on halting the escalation."

Meanwhile, Colonna said: "Aid must be delivered to the Palestinian people in Gaza."

She added: "Egypt should not bear the consequences of the current conflict in Gaza."

The Rafah border crossing between Egypt and Gaza remained closed into the early afternoon hours on Monday after both Israel and Hamas declared that there was no agreement reached on a humanitarian ceasefire despite earlier reports that a deal to deliver aid to Gaza in exchange for the evacuation of foreign nationals was brokered by Egypt, Israel, and the US.

12:10 The Islamic Research Academy (AIRA) at Al-Azhar condemned attempts of forced displacement, ethnic cleansing, and genocide carried out by the "terrorist Zionist entity against Palestinians," according to a statement on Sunday.

12:00 The Palestinian Journalists Syndicate announced that 11 journalists were killed and more than 20 journalists were wounded or missing since the start of the Israeli war on Gaza on 7 October.

11:45 Israel renewed its airstrikes on various parts of the Gaza Strip and Hamas launched rocket attacks on Ashkelon, Ashdoud, and Tel Aviv on Monday morning.

The Israeli army spokesperson Daniel Hagari said: "Gaza is the center of battles for Israel and the place where our residents are captured," Al Jazeera reported.

"There is no ceasefire and the border crossings are closed, and we are continuing to attack the criminal organization of Hamas," added Hagari.

11:30 US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has returned to Tel Aviv after a tour to six Arab capitals to discuss ways to prevent the widening of the scope of the ongoing conflict between Hamas and Israel.

11:25 The Israeli army updated on Monday the number of Israeli soldiers killed since the start of the war between Hamas and Israel on 7 October to 291 soldiers and the number of Israelis captured by Hamas to 199.

11:00 Fuel trucks raising the UN flag have started departing from the Gaza Strip toward Egypt through the Karm Abu Salem border crossing between Egypt, Gaza, and Israel, according to various media reports.

The Karm Abu Salem border crossing, which is under the joint jurisdiction of Egypt, Israel, and the Palestinian Authority, allows the entry of goods only.

10:45  Israel launched a series of airstrikes on various areas in the Gaza Strip on Monday morning, according to various media reports.

10:30 Israel's airstrikes on Gaza have wiped out entire Palestinian families, the Palestinian Prime Minister says in a televised statement on Monday morning.

10:20 Israeli N12 NEWS reported that Israeli Minister of National Security Ben Gabir delivered a demand to Prime Minister Netanyahu that "any relief for the Gaza Strip be brought up for discussion in the Cabinet."

10:00 UNRWA says it has sent a team to Egypt in preparation for the possibility of the opening of a humanitarian corridor to deliver aid to Gaza, according to Al Arabiya.

9:50 The office of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu denied reports that an agreement was reached to evacuate foreigners from Gaza in exchange for the entry of aid to the strip.

Hundreds of individuals who hold foreign nationalities wait on the Palestinian side of the Rafah crossing to be evacuated.

9:30 The Rafah border crossing between Egypt and the Gaza Strip remains closed.

However, tens of trucks carrying humanitarian aid and medical supplies to 2.3 million Palestinians without water, food, and electricity due to an all-out Israeli siege for nine days are waiting on the Egyptian side of the border crossing to deliver aid.

9:20 There were no reported Israeli bombings in the south of the Gaza Strip on Monday morning for the first time in nine days since the start of the Israeli war on the strip in the aftermath of Hamas attacks on Israel.

Egyptian and Palestinian sources confirmed coordination between the Egyptian side and Palestinian and international relief organizations operating in Gaza to receive the aid.

Hamas said in a statement that they had no knowledge of the ceasefire.

Israeli media outlets also reported that there were no confirmed indications of a ceasefire deal.

9:10 Citing Egyptian sources, Reuters reported that an agreement was reached between the United States, Israel, and Egypt for the ceasefire in south Gaza starting 6am GMT in tandem with the opening of the Rafah border crossing between Egypt and Gaza.

Late last week, as it intensified its airstrikes and bombings against the Gaza Strip, Israel ordered Palestinians in the north of the strip to leave their homes and head to the south of the strip.

Since the start of the war on 7 October, Israeli airstrikes against the Gaza Strip left more than 2,750 Palestinians dead and more than 9,700 injured. The airstrikes have destroyed hundreds of homes in Gaza and rendered hundreds of thousands of Palestinians without shelter.

Meanwhile, Hamas attacks on Israel killed more than 1,400 and injured hundreds. 

9:05 The Israeli army said it was evacuating residents living along its northern border with Lebanon amid rising tensions and intermittent exchange of fire between Israel and Hezbollah.

9:00 Many Egyptian MPs took the floor in the House of Representatives on Sunday with statements condemning the Israeli aggression on the Gaza Strip and rejecting the displacement of Palestinians to Sinai, with some calling for expelling the Israeli ambassador to Cairo.

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