A 2nd US aircraft strike arrives in the Middle East, as Israeli bombardment wreaks havoc on Gaza's civilians - Day 29 as it happened

Ahram Online , Saturday 4 Nov 2023

The relentless Israeli bombardment of the Gaza Strip, now entering its 29th day, continues to inflict immense suffering upon the civilian population. According to the latest data from the Palestinian health ministry, the death toll has risen to at least 9,488 Palestinians, with more than two-thirds of the victims being women and children.

Men rush carrying a woman in their arms into Al-Shifa hospital following the Israeli bombardment of Gaza City s Mansura neighbourhood, in the eastern suburb of Shujaiya on November 4, 2023. AFP


00:05 Egypt has demanded a commitment from the US to ensure a safe exit of wounded Palestinians from war-torn Gaza without being targeted by the Israel bombardment, Saudi TV news channel Al-Arabiya reported.

23:35 US President Joe Biden says a progress has been made to reach a humanitarian pause in Gaza.

23:10 Thousands of mostly young people filled the streets of downtown Washington D.C. on Saturday afternoon to protest the Biden administration’s support of Israel and its continued military campaign in Gaza.

“From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free,” chanted demonstrators. They wore black and white keffiyehs as an enormous Palestinian flag was unfurled by a crowd that filled Pennsylvania Avenue, the street leading up to the White House.

Dozens of small white body bags with the names of children killed lined the street and demonstrators held signs calling for an immediate cease-fire.

22:30 Thousands of pro-Palestinian demonstrators demanding a halt to Israel’s bombardment of Gaza marched in Paris, Berlin, and other European cities on Saturday.

21:45 According to AFP, Gaza's Hamas government suspended the evacuation of foreign passport holders to Egypt Saturday after Israel refused to allow some wounded Palestinians to be evacuated to Egyptian hospitals.

"No foreign passport holder will be able to leave the Gaza Strip until wounded people who need to be evacuated from hospitals in north Gaza are transported through the Rafah crossing" to Egypt, the official told AFP on condition of anonymity.

21:05 The US announce that a second aircraft carrier strike group, the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower, has reached the Middle East.

20:45 Agence France-Presse asked Israel for "a thorough and transparent investigation into the exact responsibility of its army", after the strike which seriously damaged its office in Gaza City on Thursday.

20:15 Thousands of Israelis are protesting outside Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s official residence in central Jerusalem, calling on the Israeli leader to resign in the wake of the bloody Oct. 7 Hamas rampage that sparked the latest war.

19:30 Israel defence Minister Yoav Gallant vows to kill Hamas Gaza Chief. “The Hamas leadership is responsible. We will get to that leadership. We will get to Yihya Sinwar and eliminate him.

"At the end of the war, there’ll be no Hamas in Gaza. Israel and the US are coordinated on this,” he added during a press conference in Tev Aviv.

Gallant says Israel has no interest in a war with Hezbollah. But he stresses that the army is reserving most of its forces for any potential development there. If Hezbollah’s leader Hassan Nasrallah enters the war, “he will seal the destiny of Lebanon,” he concluded.

17:25 Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi said “We don’t accept that this is self-defense. It cannot be justified under any pretext and it will not bring Israel security, it will not bring the region peace.”

17:20  US Secretary of State Antony Blinken reaffirmed US support for "humanitarian pauses" in the Israeli war on Gaza to ensure people in the besieged Gaza Strip get help.

Speaking at a news conference in Amman about sparing civilians and speeding up aid deliveries, Blinken said: "The United States believes that all of these efforts will be facilitated by humanitarian pauses."

17:00 Egypt's Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry said that his country demands an unconditional and immediate ceasefire in Gaza, during a joint press conference with his Jordanian and American counterparts in Amman

16:00 No foreign nationals, dual nationals, or injured patients have crossed over into Egypt from Gaza so far today according to Palestinian sources, according to BBC.

Hundreds of people with foreign passports have gone to the border but the gate has not opened today.

BBC says that, according to sources from the crossing authorities on the Palestinian side, movement of people with foreign passports is not being allowed until there is agreement on the safety of transferring injured patients.

15:40 UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres 'horrified' by Israel airstrike on an ambulance convoy near Al Shifa hospital.

15:00 Jordan's King Abdullah II on Saturday condemned the Israeli massacres of civilians in Gaza and escalation in the West Bank, calling for a halt to Israel's violence in the Palestinian territories.

Abdullah made his remarks while meeting with Arab foreign ministers in Amman, ahead of the ministers’ meeting with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in the Jordanian capital.

"It is the duty of the Arab countries to put pressure on the international community and on active international powers to stop the war on Gaza," he told ministers from Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Qatar, and Palestine.

He emphasized that Arab countries must speak with “one voice,” including rejecting any attempt to separate the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

14:40 Turkey's foreign ministry announced on Saturday that it has recalled its ambassador to Israel for consultations in response to the humanitarian crisis and continuous Israeli attacks in Gaza.

14:10 US Secretary of State Antony Blinken will visit to Turkey for two days from Sunday as part of a Middle East tour amid the Israel war on Gaza, the State Department said.

The top US diplomat was meeting with Arab counterparts in the Jordanian capital Amman on Saturday after visiting Israel the day before.

13:40 Thousands of protesters rallied across Iran on Saturday against the United States and Israel and in support of Palestinians in the war-torn Gaza Strip.

"Down with USA" and "Down with Israel", chanted demonstrators gathered in front of the former US embassy in Tehran, an AFP journalist reported. 

They set ablaze an effigy of Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu as well as the US and Israel flags in front of flag-waving crowds. Black-clad women waved victory signs with their hands, painted over with Palestinian flags.

13:10 At least 9,488 Palestinians, more than two-thirds of them women and children, have been killed in the relentless Israeli bombardment of the Gaza Strip since 7 October, according to the latest figures released by the Palestinian health ministry.  

This comes as 231 Palestinians have been killed in the last several hours, with 2,200 reported missing under the rubble, 1,250 of whom are children, the ministry added.

Since the beginning of the war, some 150 medical personnel have been killed and 57 ambulances destroyed in Israeli strikes targeting medical personnel and infrastructure.

12:55 Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Saturday he was breaking off contact with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu due to Israel's brutal aggression on Gaza.

"Netanyahu is no longer someone we can talk to. We have written him off," Turkish media quoted Erdogan as saying.

Erdogan's remarks came a week after Israel said it was "re-evaluating" its relations with Ankara because of Turkey's increasingly heated rhetoric about Israel's war on Gazar.

12:40 The Palestinian health ministry in Gaza said Saturday that at least 12 people had been killed when Israel struck a United Nations school where thousands of displaced Palestinians were sheltering.

The ministry reported in a statement, "12 martyrs and upwards of 54 wounded so far as a result of targeting Al-Fakhura school, which is sheltering thousands of displaced people in Jabalia (refugee) camp in the northern Gaza Strip".

12:30 The Israeli occupation army said Saturday it had struck two groups of fighters and a Hezbollah border post in response to attempted firing from Lebanon as cross-border shelling continued while Israel ramps up its brutal war on Gaza.

The latest skirmishes came a day after Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah warned that Israel's war on Gaza could turn into a regional conflict if Israel pushed on with its invasion of the Palestinian territory.

12:10 So far, between 800,000 to a million Palestinians have been displaced to the south of the Gaza Strip, US Special Envoy David Satterfield told reporters in Amman, Jordan while 350,000-400,000 remain in the northern part of the strip.

Satterfield added that there were no recorded instances of Hamas seizing aid, emphasizing that “fuel in depots in Gaza has been accessed by UNRWA for aid trucks, de-salinization and hospitals in the south of Gaza.”

12:00 Two people were killed and several more injured in an Israeli strike targeting displaced Palestinians at the gate of Al-Nasr Children's Hospital in Gaza City.

11:45 The targeting of innocent Palestinians as well as medical personnel and infrastructure jeopardizes the Palestinian cause, read a statement by Egypt's Al-Azhar on Friday, referencing several massacres that Israel carried out earlier in the day.

In its statement, the world’s leading Sunni Islamic institution stressed that efforts from conscientious and courageous Muslims, Christians, and Jews are needed to aid their Palestinian brothers and sisters and to “repel this brutal, barbaric aggression against Palestinian men, women, children, young, and old.”

Al-Azhar concluded its statement by reiterating a supplication of the Prophet (pbuh) on the Day of Badr: 'O Allah, they are on foot, provide mounts for them; O Allah, they are naked, clothe them; O Allah, they are hungry, provide food for them.' Thereupon, Allah bestowed victory on them."

11:20 More than 150 people were killed or wounded in an Israeli bombing of Al-Fakhoura School in the Jabalia camp in the northern Gaza Strip, Palestinian news agency WAFA reported.

Thousands of camp residents had been sheltering in the UNRWA-affiliated school.

Those killed and wounded in the strike were transferred to the Indonesian Hospital in Beit Lahia, while others are still under the rubble, WAFA reported.

10:30 Prior to the Arab ministers' meeting with the US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, which is scheduled to take place today in Amman, Jordan, the Spokesman for Egypt's Ministry of Foreign Affairs Ahmed Abu Zeid stated that the ministers will convey a unified Arab stance that does not accept wavering or double-dealing.

The ministers will push for an immediate cessation of Israeli aggression and prioritization of aid delivery They will also reject displacement of Palestinians, pushing to end the occupation and establish an independent Palestinian state as a solution to the conflict, Abu Zeid explained via a statement on X.


10:30 US Secretary of State Antony Blinken was in Jordan on Saturday for talks with counterparts from five Arab countries, after visiting Israel in his efforts to secure humanitarian "pauses" in the war.

Amman said the foreign ministers of Egypt, Jordan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates as well as a representative of the Palestinian Authority -- led by President Mahmud Abbas -- would meet Blinken about the Israeli war on Gaza.

09:50 The Palestinian Red Crescent Society has condemned the targeting of a convoy of ambulances in Gaza by Israeli occupation forces on Friday, which it says killed 15 people and wounded more than 60 others.

The PRCS said in a statement early Saturday that one of its ambulances was struck "by a missile fired by the Israeli forces", about two metres from the entrance to the Al-Shifa hospital in Gaza City.

The attack resulted in the deaths of 15 civilians and wounded 60 other people, it said, mirroring figures released earlier by the Hamas-run health ministry.

Another ambulance, belonging to the health ministry, was "directly targeted" by a missile around one kilometre from the hospital, causing injuries and damage, the PRCS said.

Deliberately targeting medical teams constituted "a grave violation of the Geneva Conventions, a war crime", added the organisation, part of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement.

"I am horrified by the reported attack in Gaza on an ambulance convoy outside Al Shifa hospital," UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said in a statement published in the hours after the attack, adding that the conflict "must stop".

9:30 The Egyptian Red Crescent (ERC) on Saturday delivered the eleventh installment of crucial humanitarian assistance to the Palestinian Red Crescent in Gaza via the Rafah Crossing border. The aid comprised 47 trucks loaded with essential provisions, including food, water, relief supplies, medications, and medical equipment, as reported by the ERC.

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