Hospitals in Gaza run out of fuel as Israeli siege and strike continue - Day 13 as it happened

Ahram Online , Friday 20 Oct 2023

Israel continued its bombardment of the Gaza Strip on Wednesday and into the wee hours of Thursday morning while the US and Egypt discussed plans to send desperately needed humanitarian aid to 2.3 million Palestinians in the strip who have been cut off from water, food, and medicine for 12 days.

Gaza Strip
Israeli Iron Dome air defense system fires to intercept a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip, in Ashkelon, Israel, Thursday, Oct.19, 2023. AP

00:05 The Israeli army says it has killed Mamdouh Shalabiya a member of Hamas’s naval commando unit in a strike in the Gaza Strip.

The military says fighter jets and Navy vessels carried out strikes against a Hamas command center in Gaza, and also hit a number of other targets belonging to Hamas.

23:40 The Palestinian interior ministry said several displaced people who had taken shelter at the Porphyrius Church in the Gaza Strip have been killed and injured after an Israeli strike.

22:50 A US Navy ship on Thursday shot down missiles and drones that had been fired by Houthi rebels in Yemen, possibly at Israel, the Pentagon said.

Three "land-attack cruise missiles and several drones" were intercepted by a destroyer, a spokesman told reporters. The attack had been conducted from Yemen and "potentially toward targets in Israel."

22:05 The US veto on a UN Security Council resolution calling for a "humanitarian pause" will have "monstruous consequences", the Russian foreign ministry said in a statement.

The US veto "clearly demonstrates Washington's true aspiration for the region", the statement added.

"Every day of delay means not only a rapid increase in the number of dead and wounded, but also the continuation of the suffering of civilians who have become prisoners of the blockaded enclave" of Gaza, it added.

"The right to self-defence does not mean having a licence for mass and indiscriminate reprisals," the ministry added, in a criticism aimed at Israel.

21:15 Israeli occupation army has 'green light' to move into Gaza, according to ABC TV. 

21:00 Former Hamas chief Khaled Meshaal told Al Arabiya TV that Hezbollah and Iran have provided munitions and technological support for the group.


20:40 Sixteen Palestinian journalists have been killed in the war in Gaza since Israel began bombarding Gaza, the Palestinian journalists' union said Thursday. Dozens of other journalists have been wounded in the conflict since it erupted on October 7, according to AFP. 

20:15 A UN flag will be raised at the Rafah crossing between Egypt and Gaza to protect against Israeli airstrikes under a U.N.-brokered deal between Israel and Egypt to allow aid into the Palestinian territory.

19:45 The military wing of Hamas said its members fired 30 rockets from south Lebanon into northern Israel Thursday, mainly targeting the towns of Nahariya and Shlomi. The Qassam Brigades' statement came after Lebanon’s Hezbollah group said it hit several Israeli occupation army positions and a kibbutz along the border with missiles. Israeli occupation forces also shelled border areas on the Lebanese, according to AP. 

19:15 The Palestinian Health Ministry has issued an urgent request for diesel after a fifth major hospital closed due to a lack of fuel. The Yemen al-Saeed Hospital in the north of the Gaza Strip was forced to shut down after running out of fuel.

Beit Hanoun Hospital, Dora Children’s Hospital, Karama Hospital and the International Eye Hospital in Gaza have already closed due to fuel shortages and air strike damage, the ministry said. Services have also halted at 14 smaller primary health centers in the enclave for the same reasons, it said.

The ministry issued an urgent call to all gas stations in Gaza and anyone else who may have a spare liter of diesel to immediately call a hotline so that the fuel can be transferred to Gaza’s hospitals, now powered by backup generators with scant fuel supplies. The remaining healthcare facilities in Gaza are operating at over 150% capacity, the ministry concluded. 

18:50 A video showing the mass destruction in Gaza following the Israeli attacks on the strip.

18:10 Egyptian sources have informed Al-Qahera News that the Rafah border crossing will be open Friday to facilitate the shipment of humanitarian aid to the Palestinian people.

17:55 Egypt Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry discusses with Un Secretary General Antonio Guterres, in Cairo, ways to deescalate the crises in the Gaza Strip.

17:40 3,859 Palestinians were killed in Gaza and the West Bank and more than 13,000 other were wounded by Israeli attacks since the War on Gaza began on 7 October, the Palestinian health ministry announced.

17:30 Gaza's government press office says the commander of the Hamas-led National Security Forces, Maj. Gen. Jihad Muheisen, was killed in an Israeli strike on his home in Gaza City along with some of his relatives.

It wasn’t immediately clear how many of his relatives were killed in the Sheikh Radwan neighbourhood in northern Gaza City.

16:50 Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant stated on Thursday that there will be a cost associated with entering Gaza, and the Israeli military is prepared to meet that cost. In a speech delivered to his soldiers, Gallant emphasized that the army would act decisively and employ lethal force to achieve victory. He also acknowledged the challenges of eliminating Hamas and urged his troops to remain prepared, with orders forthcoming. He stated, "We see Gaza from a distance now, but we will soon see it from within."

15:50 Al Qahera News has reported an Israeli airstrike which targeted a UN-marked vehicle carrying UN personnel in the vicinity of Nasser Hospital in Khan Younis in southern Gaza.

TV footage showed ambulances and emergency medical workers scrambling to rescue the injured, which included children.

15:30 President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi and King Abdullah II affirmed on Thursday the united position of Egypt and Jordan in rejecting the Israeli "policies of collective punishment represented in blockading, starving, and the forced displacement of the brethren in Gaza."

The two Arab leaders stressed that "any attempt at the forced displacement [of the Palestinian people] to Jordan or Egypt is rejected, according to a statement released after the two leaders held a summit in Cairo to discuss ways to de-escalate the ongoing conflict in Gaza. 

15:00 Sources have told Al Qahera News that the leaders of Qatar, Turkey, Greece, Palestine, The United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, and Cyprus, in addition to the secretary-general of the United Nations, have confirmed attending the international peace summit that was called by Egypt on Sunday

14:40 King Abdullah II of Jordan arrived in the Egyptian capital on Thursday afternoon to hold a summit with President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi to discuss ways of de-escalating the ongoing war between Hamas and Israel.

14:20 The Israeli army said that it had monitored nine missile launches from Lebanon into Israel during the past 12 hours.

It added on the “X” platform (formerly Twitter) that several anti-tank missiles were launched from Lebanon towards Israel during the same period.

14:00 Seven Palestinians, including two children, were killed in clashes with occupation forces in several areas in the occupied West Bank, in the span of 12 hours, raising the number of Palestinians killed by Israeli forces in the West Bank since 7 October to 69, WAFA reported.

The Israeli military said that its troops have arrested 524 Palestinians across the West Bank since the war in the Gaza Strip began.

13:50 Upon arriving at Ben Gurion Airport, British PM Sunak said: "The people of Israel had suffered an unspeakable, horrific act of terrorism, and I want you to know that the United Kingdom and I stand with you.”

Later, during a meeting with the Israeli President in Tel Aviv, Sunak stressed the need to provide water, food, and medicine to civilians in Gaza.

Meanwhile, Israeli President Isaac Herzog expressed his country’s desire to “recover the captives, and we call for greater international pressure on Hamas.”

13:35 The death toll from the Israeli airstrikes on the Gaza Strip has climbed to 3,785 Palestinians and the number of injured over 12,000, according to the most recent figures released by the Palestinian health ministry in Gaza.

13:30 Israel has arrested 120 Palestinians in the occupied West Bank in the last several hours, according to the Palestinian Prisoners Club.

13:20 Hamas has confirmed that the commander of the National Security Forces in Gaza, Jihad Meheisen, and members of his family, were killed in an Israeli raid on their home in the Sheikh Radwan neighbourhood.

13:10 German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has demanded in a speech watched by relatives of some of the captives held by Hamas for the militant group to free them.

In a speech to the German parliament, Scholz, who visited Israel on Wednesday to demonstrate solidarity with Tel Aviv,  underlined Germany’s staunch support for Israel and renewed a warning that it “would be a serious mistake” for Hezbollah, Iran or their proxies to enter the war.

German officials say a “low two-digit number” of German-Israeli dual citizens are believed to be held in Gaza.

The German authorities have banned all protests in support of the Palestinian people in the country.

13:00 Al-Qassam Brigades announced on Thursday firing a new barrage of rockets at Tel Aviv and Ashkelon north of the under-bombardment Gaza Strip.

12:30 Egypt’s President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi and Jordan’s King Abdullah will hold a bilateral summit in Cairo on Thursday, the Egyptian presidency announced. 

11:30 The UNHCR says it has 3,000 tons of aid for Gaza ready in Egypt.

Meanwhile, tens of trucks carrying nearly hundreds of tons of humanitarian aid, including food and medical supplies, remain stranded on the Egyptian side of the Rafah border crossing with the Gaza Strip awaiting a green light to deliver aid to 2.3 million Palestinians who have been under an all-out Israeli blockade for 12 days. 

Al-Arish International Airport in North Sinai is receiving aid from various Arab countries to be delivered to the Gaza Strip.

Humanitarian aid from the UAE leaving Dubai International Airport on its way to Palestinians in Gaza. AFP

11:20 Chinese President Xi Jinping told Egypt's prime minister on Thursday that their countries should work together to bring "more stability" to the Middle East, as the Israel-Hamas war casts a shadow over the region.

11:10 The director of Al-Awda Hospital in Gaza said: "We refuse any Israeli ultimatum to evacuate hospitals," according to Al Arabiya.

Earlier this week, Israel issued an ultimatum to staff of hospitals in the Gaza Strip to evacuate their facilities.

Several directors of other hospitals have rejected the Israeli ultimatum, saying it represented a death sentence to their patients and civilians being injured by Israeli bombardment.

On Tuesday evening, Israeli airstrikes against Al-Ahli Baptist Hospital killed more than 470 Palestinian civilians, mostly women and children, and the elderly, in a massacre that triggered worldwide condemnation.

Thousands of Palestinian civilians were sheltering on the grounds of the medical facility to avoid Israeli bombardment on their neighbourhoods in the strip.

10:30 British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak arrived in Tel Aviv on Thursday to meet his counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu and Israeli President Isaac Herzog in a show of solidarity with Israel.

"The attack on Al Ahli Hospital should be a watershed moment for leaders in the region and across the world to come together to avoid further dangerous escalation of conflict," Sunak said in a statement.

"I will ensure the UK is at the forefront of this effort

10:10 Israeli airstrikes against the Palestinians in Gaza have left 3,478 dead and 12,065 injured as of Wednesday night.

Most of those Palestinians killed were women, children, and the elderly.

Israel continues an all-out blockade of the strip on 2.3 million Palestinians in the strip since the 7 October Hamas attack on Israel.

UN and various aid organizations continue to sound the alarm bells that Israel's cutting off food, water, and electricity to Palestinians in Gaza creates a catastrophic situation. 

Tens of trucks carrying humanitarian aid to Gaza are still waiting on the Egyptian side of the Rafah border crossing to enter the strip.

9:30 A veteran State Department official in the bureau that oversees arms transfers resigned this week in protest of the Biden administration’s decision to continue sending weapons and ammunition to Israel as it lays siege to Gaza in its war with Hamas.

Josh Paul has been the director of congressional and public affairs for the State Department’s Bureau of Political-Military Affairs for over 11 years.

In his resignation letter, Paul said the Biden administration’s “blind support for one side” was leading to policy decisions that were “shortsighted, destructive, unjust and contradictory to the very values we publicly espouse.”

“The response Israel is taking, and with it the American support both for that response and for the status quo of the occupation, will only lead to more and deeper suffering for both the Israeli and the Palestinian people,” he wrote.

“I fear we are repeating the same mistakes we have made these past decades, and I decline to be a part of it for longer.”

In an interview with the New York Times, Mr. Paul said that Israel’s cutting off of water, food, medical care, and electricity to Gaza, a territory of two million people, should prompt protections in a number of longstanding federal laws intended to keep American weapons out of the hands of human rights violators but those legal guardrails are failing.

9:20 US President Joe Biden on Wednesday unveiled a deal to allow desperately-needed humanitarian aid to enter Gaza, where one million people have fled their homes amid withering Israeli air strikes.

After face-to-face talks in Israel and intense telephone diplomacy with Egypt, Biden said a limited number of trucks would be allowed to cross the shuttered Rafah crossing from Egypt into Gaza from Friday.

9:10 Russia on Thursday sent 27 tonnes of humanitarian aid for civilians in the Gaza Strip to be transported from Egypt, Moscow's emergency situations ministry said.

"A special plane has taken off from the airport at Ramenskoye near Moscow for El-Arish, in Egypt. The Russian humanitarian aid will be handed over to the Egyptian Red Crescent to be sent to the Gaza Strip," Deputy Minister Ilya Denisov said in a statement.

9:00 President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi and South African President Cyril Ramaphosa exchanged views on the Israeli military escalation in the Gaza Strip in a phone call Wednesday evening.

El-Sisi and Ramaphose agreed on the importance of providing immediate protection to civilians and rejecting mass siege and displacement, as per a statement by the Egyptian presidency.

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