Gaza continues to endure ongoing deadly Israeli bombardment and humanitarian crisis - Day 18 as it happened

Ahram Online , Wednesday 25 Oct 2023

Israel has continued its intense bombardment of Gaza for 18 consecutive days, killing over 5,000 Palestinians, including approximately 2,000 children. Numerous buildings have been reduced to rubble, and over a million individuals have been displaced in the besieged territory. Essential resources such as water, food, and other basic supplies are becoming increasingly scarce.

Palestinians look for survivors after an Israeli strike on the Zaroub family house in Rafah, Gaza Strip, Tuesday, Oct.24, 2023. AP


00:20 The New Jersey Air National Guard’s 119 Expeditionary Fighter Squadron arrived in the Middle East on Tuesday, Pentagon press secretary Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder told reporters. The squadron has F-16 fighter jets, and officials would not say where exactly it went.

Ryder also said the U.S. is preparing for an increase in violence, noting that there have already been at least 13 attacks against troops and installations in Iraq and Syria.

“What we are seeing is the prospect for more significant escalation against U.S. forces and personnel across the region in the very near term coming from Iranian proxy forces and ultimately from Iran,” he said during a Pentagon briefing.

23:10 A fourth aid convoy has just crossed the Egyptian side of the Rafah border crossing and trucks are being unloaded on the Palestinian side of the crossing before being transported into Gaza.

22:50 The Palestinian health ministry said at least 50 people were killed Tuesday in a single hour of increased Israeli strikes on the Gaza Strip.

"The Israeli occupation expands its targeting of multiple areas in the Gaza Strip, killing about 50 martyrs during the last hour," a health ministry spokesperson said in a statement late Tuesday.

22:45 Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry stated in his speech at the UN Security Council called for the resolution of the Palestinian issue, rather than its elimination through forced displacement.

Shoukry called for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza without any conditions or restrictions “before it’s too late”.

22:30 China’s envoy at the UN Security calls for “an immediate ceasefire, which the Council must express in clear, unambiguous language.”

“The root cause of the conflict rests in the prolonged occupation of Palestinian territory and a lack of respect for their rights. The Council actions must not deviate from this.”

22:00 White House National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby says no trucks have been able to enter Gaza with humanitarian aid today after three consecutive days of convoys totaling being allowed into the enclave through Egypt.

21:30 Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas told France's Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday that the international community must halt Israel's "aggression" as it battles Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

"We urge you, President Macron, to stop this aggression," Abbas said after the two leaders held talks in Ramallah dominated by the war that has left thousands of civilians dead in Gaza and Israel.

21:10 Israel army claims two missiles were launched from Syrian territory toward Israeli territory and fell in an open area.

The Israeli army spokesman said they are responding with artillery fire at the sources of the fire.

21:00 Lebanese airport officials say Saudi Arabia has evacuated the families of its diplomats and employees at the embassy in Beirut on two military planes that left Lebanon’s capital on Tuesday.

There was no official announcement from Saudi authorities, but the move came days after Saudi Arabia urged its citizens to leave Lebanon immediately.

20:35 Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas told France's Emmanuel Macron that the international community must halt Israel's "aggression" as it battles Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

"We urge you, President Macron, to stop this aggression," Abbas said after the two leaders held talks in Ramallah in the occupied West Bank.

20:10 During a press conference for the Arab Group on the sidelines of the Security Council meeting on Gaza, Egypt's Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry said that what Israel is doing in the Gaza Strip is not considered self-defence, adding that the Security Council should bear its responsibilities and cease hostile operations in Gaza. 

“We refuse double standards regarding what’s going on in Gaza,” Shoukry stressed.

19:30 The United Nations agency for Palestinian refugees said it will be forced to stop working across the Gaza Strip on Wednesday unless there are fuel deliveries to the war-torn territory.

"If we do not get fuel urgently, we will be forced to halt our operations in the Gaza Strip as of tomorrow night," UNRWA said on X.

19:20 Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Tuesday warned Iran that the United States would respond "decisively" to any attack by its proxies, as tensions rise with the Israel-Hamas war.

"The United States does not seek conflict with Iran. We do not want this war to widen. But if Iran or its proxies attack US personnel anywhere, make no mistake. We will defend our people, we will defend our security -- swiftly and decisively," Blinken told a UN Security Council session.

19:05 Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan accused the United Nations Security Council of deepening the crisis in Gaza by bowing to the "Israeli regime".

"The international community is not rising to the challenge in the face of the Israeli regime's unlawful and unrestrained attacks against civilians," Erdogan said in a statement marking the 78th anniversary of the establishment of the United Nations.

"We observe that the United Nations Security Council has deepened the crisis with its one-sided attitude, instead of stopping the bloodshed, ensuring a ceasefire as soon as possible, and taking steps to prevent civilian casualties," Erdogan said.

18:50 Russian President Vladimir Putin expressed fears of a sharp deterioration over the situation in besieged Gaza, the Kremlin said Tuesday, during a call with Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

The two leaders expressed "their deep concern over the growing number of civilian casualties and the catastrophic deterioration of the humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip," the Kremlin said

18:20 The Palestinian Authority's foreign minister on Tuesday deplored inaction by the UN Security Council to stop "massacres" in Gaza by Israel, which has retaliated for a massive attack by Hamas that largely killed civilians.

"The ongoing massacres being deliberately and systematically and savagely perpetrated by Israel -- the occupying power against the Palestinian civilian population under illegal occupation -- must be stopped," Riyad al-Maliki told a special Security Council session.

"It is our collective human duty to stop them," he said. "Continued failure at this council is inexcusable."

18:00 The US draft resolution in the UN Security Council regarding Israel’s war on Gaza has reached a deadlock and is set to be vetoed by Russia, according to Ambassador Majed Abdel-Fattah, the Arab League’s permanent representative to the UN.

17:35 UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said there are violations of international law as Israel pounds Gaza, and urged an immediate humanitarian ceasefire to bring in relief.

"I am deeply concerned about the clear violations of international humanitarian law that we are witnessing in Gaza. Let me be clear: No party to an armed conflict is above international humanitarian law," Guterres told a Security Council session, without explicitly naming Israel.

17:00 Israeli airstrikes in the Gaza Strip have killed at least 704 people in the past day, the Palestinian health ministry announced.

The death toll reached 5,795, including 2,360, in Gaza and the West Bank and over 18,000 other injured.

15:40 The Israeli occupation army says it has dropped leaflets in the Gaza Strip asking Palestinians to provide Israel with information on the captives held by the Hamas.

“If you want a better future for you and your children, take action and provide us with solid and useful information as soon as possible regarding the hostages in your area,” the flyer reads.

“The Israeli army assures you that it will put forth maximum effort to provide you and your home with security, as well as a financial reward,” it continues.

“We guarantee you complete confidentiality,” it says, adding a phone line and a mobile number that can be contacted via the WhatsApp, Telegram, or Signal messaging apps.

15:20 The Pentagon has sent military advisers, including a Marine Corps general versed in urban warfare, to Israel to aid in its war planning and is speeding multiple sophisticated air defense systems to the Middle East days ahead of an anticipated ground assault into Gaza, the Associate Press reported. 

One of the officers leading the assistance is Marine Corps Lt. Gen. James Glynn, who previously helped lead special operations forces against the Islamic State and served in Fallujah, Iraq, during some of the most heated urban combat there, according to a U.S. official who was not authorized to discuss Glynn’s role and spoke on the condition of anonymity.

Glynn will also be advising on how to mitigate civilian casualties in urban warfare, the official said.

14:20 Israel launches airstrikes near Nasser Hospital in Khan Yunis, in southern Gaza. Another Israeli raid targeted the vicinity of Al-Shifa Hospital.

Highlighted in red on the below map are the zones in Gaza that have faced frequent Israeli airstrikes in the first two weeks of the conflict.

These attacks have occurred both within and outside the areas where Israel issued evacuation orders. No place is truly safe.

14:00 The Palestinian Health ministry in Gaza said Tuesday that 704 Palestinians were killed in the Israeli Airstrikes in 24 hours bringing the death toll of Palestinians killed by Israel to 5,791 people, including 2,360 children. A total of 16,297 people have also been wounded. 

The ministry also announced the “total collapse” of hospitals in the Gaza Strip. 

As of October 23, 12 hospitals and 46 primary care clinics in Gaza "are no longer functioning", the UN's Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs says.

The group's latest report says 34 health care facilities and 24 ambulances have been affected since 7 October.​

13:40 A prominent Lebanese Christian politician allied with Hezbollah said Tuesday that Lebanon would not initiate a war with Israel but would defend itself if attacked.

The comments by Gebran Bassil, head of the Free Patriotic Movement of former President Michel Aoun, came as sporadic clashes continue on the Lebanese border with Israel between Hezbollah and armed Palestinian groups in Lebanon on one side and Israeli forces on the other. 

Four Hezbollah fighters were killed on Monday and four others injured in dawn and noon border clashes with the Israeli army on the Lebanese-Israeli borders, the National News Agency (NNA) reported.

“No one can drag us into war unless the Israeli enemy attacks us, and then we will be forced to defend ourselves,” Bassil said after a meeting with Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri. Bassil also spoke by phone to Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah on Monday. “All the Lebanese agree that they do not want war, but that does not mean that we should allow ourselves to be attacked without a response.”

13:15 Israeli bombardments across the Gaza Strip have intensified "three-fold" compared to previous days, says the latest UN update.

The UN's Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs says the deadliest attacks in the last 24 hours included "several airstrikes on residential buildings in Jabalia Refugee Camp" and in northern Gaza.

"Furthermore, in the last 24 hours, two UNRWA installations, one in Al Bureij camp and the other in Nuseirat in the middle area, sustained collateral damage due to airstrikes in the surrounding areas of these facilities," the report said.

The estimated death toll among Palestinians has now surpassed 5,000, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health.


13:05 French President Emmanuel Macron proposed an international coalition against Hamas, during his visit to Tel Aviv, where he expressed unwavering support for Israel without offering sympathy or acknowledging the loss of Palestinian lives in the war on Gaza.

12:40 The United Nations Palestinian refugee agency called for an unimpeded flow of humanitarian assistance to Gaza.

"We call for an unimpeded and continuous flow of humanitarian assistance and medical assistance to continue coming into Gaza," said Tamara Alrifai, spokesperson for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA).

"The trucks that have come in so far are just a trickle in the face of the immense needs of people on the street." 

12:08 The Ministry of Health in the Gaza Strip has warned that the electric generators in hospitals will cease functioning within the next 48 hours due to a fuel shortage, amid intensified air raids by Israel.

On Monday, the ministry said 32 health centres were out of service after Israel cut off access to essential supplies, including fuel.

The Indonesian hospital in Gaza lost power at dawn on Tuesday after it ran out of fuel completely. The fuel depletion also caused the disruption of vital facilities.

Despite the power outage during the night, the hospital received victims of Israeli raids using telephone light in an attempt to save their lives.

The ministry added that the immediate needs of hospitals must be prioritised in terms of aid distribution, urging the United Nations and the International Committee of the Red Cross to push for the delivery of supplies of fuel and blood units into the enclave.

Dozens of trucks entered the Gaza Strip through the Rafah crossing loaded with food and medical supplies. However, Israel still imposes a ban on the entry of fuel within relief convoys into the Strip.


11:50  An elderly Israeli captive who was released by Hamas overnight said she was well-treated during her two-week captivity in the Palestinian enclave. 

Seated in a wheelchair Lifshitz told reporters that a doctor had visited her while she was held in a network of tunnels within Gaza and that all her needs had been taken care of. She added that the "detention site in Gaza was bombed several times". 

Meanwhile, many families of Israeli held in captivity in Gaza are pleading with the Israeli government to rein in the war effort and instead negotiate the release of their loved ones.

11:20 Israel is not looking to wage war with Hezbollah militants on its northern border, but is focused instead on battling Hamas in the Gaza Strip, Israeli President Isaac Herzog told his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron.

"But if Hezbollah drags us into a war it should be clear that Lebanon will pay the price," Mr Herzog said.  From his side, Macron said the first objective should be the release of all people being held in captivity "without any distinction.”

Macron affirmed full support for Isral despite its deadly bombardment on Gaza “I want to make sure you are not left alone in this war,” he continued.

10:15 Israeli police arrested actress Maisa Abd Elhadi, a resident of Nazareth, "on suspicion of publishing words of praise and incitement to terrorism" according to Haaretz. Abd Elhadi was arrested following posts she uploaded to social networks of a photo of "the breaching of the border fence in Gaza along with the words let's go Berlin style", Haaretz said. 

10:12 Qatar’s ruling emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani called for an end to the war "that has crossed all borders".

“We say enough. Israel shouldn't be granted an unconditional green light and unrestricted authorization to kill,” said Sheikh Tamim, during his annual speech to open the Gulf Arab state's advisory Shura council.

Sheikh Tamim said the Israeli war was a dangerous escalation that threatened the region and the world and ”Israel should not be given a green light for unconditional killing". This was his first public comments since Qatar began its most recent efforts to mediate between Israel and Hamas.

“We do not accept double standards and acting like the lives of Palestinian children aren't accounted for, as if they don't have faces or names,” he added.

10:10 Israel’s occupation Military Spokesperson said on Tuesday that the military was “ready and determined” for the next stage in the war and was awaiting political instruction.

He said Israel was learning from U.S. experience in the Middle East but “our war is on our borders, not thousands of miles from Israel,” adding that he was expecting weeks of fighting ahead.

10:10 The World Bank President said that the Israeli war in Gaza threatens “serious” economic damage. 

“What just happened recently in Israel and Gaza — at the end of the day you put all this together, I think the impact on economic development is even more serious,” Ajay Banga told an investor conference in Saudi Arabia on Tuesday. “I think we’re at a very dangerous juncture,” he added.

9:42 Six workers with the UN's Palestinian refugee agency were killed in just 24 hours in Gaza, the global body said Tuesday, bringing to 35 the total of its staff killed since Israel's war on Gaza on 7 October.

Humanitarian and aid workers have not been spared in more than two weeks of relentless Israeli bombardment of the Gaza Strip that has killed thousands of innocent civilians in the Palestinian territory.

"Since the start of hostilities, at least 16 health workers have been killed while on duty, along with 35 UNRWA staff," the United Nations humanitarian agency OCHA said in an update sent Tuesday on the situation up to Monday evening.

9:20 French President Emmanuel Macron arrived in Tel Aviv on Tuesday to express his country's "full solidarity" with Israel despite its bloody attacks on Gaza.

9:10 Hezbollah announces the killing of 3 of its members in an exchange of bombing with Israeli forces on the Lebanese border.

9:05 The Biden administration is preparing for the possibility that hundreds of thousands of American citizens will require evacuation from the Middle East if the bloodshed in Gaza cannot be contained, according to four officials familiar with the U.S. government’s contingency planning, as reported by the Washington Post.

9:00 On Monday night alone, Israel killed at least 140 Palestinians in this ongoing deadly attacks, Palestinian authorities is Gaza said.


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