Israel strikes north and south Gaza, killing dozens in Jabalia and Khan Younis – Day 43 as it happened

Ahram Online , Saturday 18 Nov 2023

On the 43rd day of the war, Israel ordered displaced Palestinians in Khan Younis, in the south of Gaza, to again relocate, this time to the west. During the night, Israeli strikes claimed 26 lives in Khan Younis, while Israeli troops ordered the evacuation of Al-Shifa hospital in the north.

Palestinians ride donkey carts during the ongoing Israeli bombardment of the Gaza Strip in Khan Younis on Friday, Nov. 17, 2023. AP


23:00 Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a televised speech on Saturday that his government is coming under increased pressure over its war in the Gaza Strip. In contrast, the defence minister announced the invasion had entered the "second phase" with no deal for those taken captive by Hamas in sight.

“The United States and the world are putting great pressure on us, but we are repelling it, and we will continue the war,” Netanyahu said, stressing that he has been leading efforts to maintain US support for the war.

“I appreciate the United States, led by our friend Biden, which sees things exactly like us,” he said.

Netanyahu, who received domestic criticism for not being able to reach a deal on Israeli captives held by Hamas, assured Israelis that there was no change in policy. 

“We are working to continue the military manoeuvre,” Netanyahu said, stressing that he is still committed to returning those taken captive by Hamas.

He added that allowing two fuel trucks into Gaza daily was a US request to support water treatment and sewage systems and would help prevent the spread of diseases that may affect Israeli soldiers deployed in the strip.

Speaking after, Israeli Defence Minister Yoav Gallant announced that Israel’s war on the Gaza Strip had entered the “second phase”.

“We have moved to the second phase of the ground operation in the Gaza Strip,” he said, stressing that they are striking crucial Hamas targets “every day.”

“Every day that passes, there is less room for Hamas to move on the western side of Gaza City,” he said, reiterating that the war cabinet is still committed to returning those taken captive by Hamas.

“We have a high commitment to returning the kidnapped people, and this is my personal duty,” Gallant affirmed. At the same time, opposition leader Benny Gantz assured Israelis that the war on Gaza would continue with “great force”.

 “I support everyone who leads the war,” Gantz said, defying public calls in Israel for Netanyahu to resign.

“We must have a responsibility, and we are required to make difficult decisions that require consensus for the sake of internal and external legitimacy,” he stressed.

22:00 Gaza and the West Bank should eventually be "reunited" under a new Palestinian Authority, US President Joe Biden said in an opinion piece published Saturday.

"As we strive for peace, Gaza and the West Bank should be reunited under a single governance structure, ultimately under a revitalized Palestinian Authority, as we all work toward a two-state solution," he wrote in the piece published in the Washington Post.

20:25 The European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen thanked the Egyptian authorities Saturday for ensuring humanitarian access to and from the Gaza Strip via the Rafah border crossing and for quickly setting up the El-Arish hub to stockpile vital supplies.

The EU chief's remarks came during a presser at the Rafah border crossing after handing over the most recent aid donated by the EU to the Egyptian Red Crescent, which is delivering vital supplies to Gaza.

"None of this would be possible without our excellent and close cooperation with the Egyptian authorities, UNRWA, and the Egyptian Red Crescent," von der Leyen stressed.

"Egypt is truly providing a lifeline to Gaza and the EU is making full use of this lifeline to address the humanitarian needs in Gaza," the EU chief said. 

She noted that the EU is the largest aid donor to the Palestinian people and one of the main and most reliable donors to the UNRWA, stressing the need to increase the volumes of aid reaching Palestinians in Gaza.

"Over the last month, we have quadrupled our humanitarian aid to over €100 million and our member states have added €260 million," she said, adding that they have organized a humanitarian air-bridge operation as well as daily aid flights.

In addition to the humanitarian support, the EU chief said she discussed with El-Sisi ways to prevent violence from spreading in the region. "Egypt is a key partner in this. Its voice is heard across the region and by all sectors," said von der Leyen.

The European Commission President concluded her remarks by affirming that "even as we deal with the urgency of today, we must also think about what the day after could look like, and how Israelis and Palestinians can regain hope."

"For this, they need a political solution, and this is the two-state solution," she noted.

The EU chief's visit to the Rafah crossing followed her meeting with El-Sisi in Cairo on Saturday, during which they discussed the situation in Gaza amid the Israeli assault that has raged for six weeks.

20:20 This evening, at least 15 Palestinians lost their lives, and dozens were injured in an Israeli airstrike aimed at residential homes west of Khan Yunis, located in the southern Gaza Strip, as reported by local sources.

According to WAFA correspondent, Israeli warplanes directed their attack toward a house owned by the Ghalban family west of the residential city of Hamad, northwest of Khan Yunis, leading to the tragic deaths of at least 15 civilians.

The correspondent also highlighted that another Israeli airstrike targeted two houses owned by the Ashour and Al-Agha families in central Khan Yunis, resulting in multiple fatalities and injuries.

20:00 President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi engaged in discussions regarding the current developments in Gaza situation during his meeting with France’s Minister of Defense, Sébastien Lecornu. This meeting marked Lecornu's second visit to Cairo in less than a week. Commencing his tour on Wednesday in Cairo, Lecornu subsequently visited the capitals of Saudi Arabia, UAE, Qatar, and Israel before returning to Cairo on Saturday.

19:45 The Israeli occupation army reported the loss of six officers and soldiers, with seven others sustaining serious injuries in its offensive on the Gaza Strip. This development brings the total military casualties to 58 officers and soldiers since the commencement of Israel's war. Simultaneously, the Israeli occupation army disclosed heavy engagements with Hamas fighters from the Central Qassam Battalion in Al-Zaytoun neighbourhood east of Gaza City and Jabalia in the northern strip.

19:30 UNICEF Executive Director Catherine Russell conveyed profound distress regarding the children killed by Israeli occupation forces, emphasizing, "We're seeing horrifying images of children and civilians killed in Gaza-yet again-as they shelter in a school which must always be protected. 

The carnage must end. The suffering must end. This nightmare for children must end NOW!!"


18:55 The Gaza Government Media Office reported that the death toll from Israel's air and ground invasion of the Gaza Strip has reached 12,300 individuals, comprising over 5,000 children and 3,300 women.

The office also noted that over 6,000 people, including 4,000 children and women, are currently missing, either under the rubble or left deceased in the streets of Gaza with their bodies inaccessible.

18:20 Israel's bombardment on Gaza has resulted in the deaths of more than 12,000 people, including 4,500 children. Additionally, around 30,000 people are injured, with an additional 4,000 still under the rubble, the Palestinian resistance group Hamas said.

18:00 German Chancellor Olaf Scholz told Israeli Premier Benjamin Netanyahu on Saturday there was an "urgent need" to ease the humanitarian crisis in Gaza, where Israeli forces have vowed intensified attacks on the strip.

Scholz "underscored the urgent need to improve the humanitarian situation for residents in the Gaza Strip," his office said in a statement after a call between the two leaders. "Humanitarian ceasefires could contribute to a significant improvement in care for the population," Scholz added.

17:00 Egypt strongly condemned, in a statement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Saturday, the horrifying bombardment by Israeli forces on the UNRWA's Fakhoura school, which killed scores of Palestinians, as “a war crime”.

“This bombardment caused numerous casualties and injuries among Palestinians, marking a new flagrant violation in the series of Israeli violations against civilians in the Gaza Strip.” The Egyptian Foreign Ministry said in its statement.

Egypt deems the bombing of the Fakhoura school, which served as a safe haven for hundreds of displaced Palestinians, as another war crime requiring investigation and accountability for its perpetrators.

“Egypt views (the attack) as a deliberate insult to the United Nations, its humanitarian organizations, and their noble humanitarian goals,” the Foreign Ministry said. The ministry reiterated its call to influential international parties and the Security Council to urgently intervene to alleviate the humanitarian suffering in the Gaza Strip.

This includes enforcing an immediate and unconditional ceasefire, as well as providing necessary protection for Palestinian civilians, said the ministry.

16:00 UNRWA Commissioner-General Philippe Lazzarini expressed profound concern on Saturday, stating, "We are appalled to receive horrifying images and footage depicting the tragic loss of life and injuries among the thousands seeking refuge in another UNRWA school in the northern Gaza Strip. Such attacks should never become routine; they must cease immediately. The urgency for a humanitarian ceasefire cannot be overstated."

15:18 Following long weeks of delay, Israeli Authorities approved only half the daily minimum requirements of fuel for humanitarian operations in Gaza, the UNRWA says.

“This is far from enough to cover the needs for desalination plants, sewage pumps, hospitals, water pumps in shelters, aid trucks, ambulances, bakeries, and communications networks to work without interruption," the UN agency said in a statement.

"Regular and unconditional delivery of fuel is essential for our critical lifesaving activities," it added.

14:54 Dozens killed in an Israeli raid on Tal Al-Zaatar School in northern Gaza, Sky News Arabia reported. 

14:50 The Palestinian Health Ministry says at least 50 people were killed in the Israeli strikes on the UNRWA Fakhoura school in Jabalia. The UN agency's Media Advisor Adnan Abu Hasna told Al Jazeera: "We inform the Israeli side daily of the locations of our schools and centres for the displaced."

13:39 President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi reiterated Egypt's staunch opposition to the displacement of Palestinians, whether within or outside their territories, specifically into Egyptian regions like Sinai.

In a meeting with Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, he reaffirms Egypt's call for an immediate ceasefire of the Israeli war on Gaza, prioritizing the safeguarding of civilians grappling with severe humanitarian crises.

He further underscored the international community's responsibility to implement the United Nations Security Council and General Assembly resolutions regarding Gaza.

13:31 Israel perpetrates another tragedy at Al-Fakhoura school in Jabalia refugee camp, in northern Gaza. This school, run by UNRWA provided shelter to Palestinian refugees displaced by Israeli airstrikes.

Casualties, both deceased and injured, including an undisclosed count of children, were transported to Kamal Oudwan hospital.

13:25 The Palestinian Red Crescent said that emergency medical teams remain trapped at Al-Ahli Baptist Hospital, amidst heavy bombardment and gunfire by Israeli soldiers.  The PRCS calls for an "immediate intervention to protect our teams that are now in danger."

13:20 The death toll of Palestinians killed by Israel has reached more than 11,500 in Gaza and 212 in the West Bank, the Palestinian Minister of Health announced.

13:00 Three fuel trucks carrying 129,000 litres of diesel were transported from Egypt to Gaza via the Rafah border crossing on Saturday, as reported by Al-Qahera News TV channel.

11:00 The forced evacuation of Al-Shifa Hospital started.

Listen to what the director general of the Ministry of Health had to say on Al Jazeera about the details of this evacuation.

He said that patients, refugees, and healthcare workers were forced to flee on foot in single file, raising their hands and carrying white flags while being watched over by Israeli tanks. 

Only five surgeons remain at at the hospital to coordinate the evacuation of around 530 critically ill patients and wounded persons, trapped in in dire conditions. and are unable to walk. The UN and the Red Cross need to coordinate with Israel to allow their safe evacuation.


The head of the bone surgery department, Adnan AlBarsh, tearfully conveyed on a live broadcast on Al Jazeera said: "I swear we did everything we could do until the very last moment."

The occupation forces besieged Al-Shifa Medical Complex for nine days, destroyed its medical equipment, and caused the death of wounded people and a number of premature babies.

9:50 Mobile phone and internet services in Gaza can only be restored if sufficient quantities of fuel start entering the Palestinian territory on a regular basis, the general manager of the Palestinian telecommunications company Paltel said.

"We cannot run the generators for an hour and then stop them because this will lead to great damage to the generators and devices as a whole," Abdulmajeed Melhem told The Associated Press.

Experts say frequently turning generators on and off wears them down, and can also lead to power spikes.

"They are fuel-based, so it’s like old cars where start/stopping too much would cause deposits to form on the spark plugs, etc. messing up timing and efficiency," said MVS Chandrashekhar, an electrical engineering professor at the University of South Carolina, said via email.

“For the electrical systems, constant surges from power/no power can cause spikes that could damage equipment,” he said.

9:30 US Senator Bernie Sanders warned Congress cannot permit additional military aid to Israel if it continues its current military campaign in Gaza, Israeli Haaretz newspaper said Friday. 

"There is a horrific humanitarian disaster in Gaza. Israel must stop the bombing now and allow for massive amounts of humanitarian aid, including fuel, to reach those who need it. Congress cannot pass a supplemental spending bill that allows these actions to continue," he said.

Sanders, however, did not explicitly call for a cease-fire. His refusal to explicitly use that terminology has provoked significant outrage from his progressive base, who believe his calls for stopping the bombing do not send a clear enough message.

9:16 Egypt’s Tahya Misr Fund initiated a humanitarian aid convoy to Gaza, comprising 195 trucks loaded with crucial supplies.

The convoy includes dry food, ready-to-eat meals, clothing, blankets, cleaning products, and sanitizing items. 

Additionally, the trucks also transported an ambulance, medical equipment, medicines for children and infants, baby food and formula, diapers of various sizes, vital pregnancy medications, sanitary napkins for women, and personal care essentials.

During the night, Ambassador Osama Abdelkhalek, Egypt's Permanent Representative at the United Nations said: "Israel continues to place undue restrictive measures on the flow of life-saving assistance at a time when infants in Gaza are dying in incubators and while others are pleading for a drink of water." 

"Israel also insists on keeping other crossings under its direct control firmly closed, a fact that little attention is paid to," Abdelkhalek added at an informal UN General Assembly briefing in New York.  

Moreover, he criticized Israel for its continuous "criminal aggression against the people of Gaza, and some members of the members of this Assembly who "continue to advance the baseless claims that this aggression is in self-defense or the even more ludicrous claim that Palestinian civilians are somehow to blame for their current plight.

​9:15 Twenty-six Palestinians were killed in an Israeli airstrike on a residential building in the region’s Hamad Town, in the southern city of Khan Younis.

Six more Palestinians were killed on Saturday in an Israeli air strike on a house in Deir Al-Balah also in the south.

9:12 Israel has issued a warning, ordering Palestinians residing in Khan Younis, a city of more than 400,000 in the southern Gaza to evacuate to the west.

Previously, hundreds of thousands were forced by Israel to move from the north to southern areas, including Khan Younis, purportedly for their safety.

However, even in these southern regions, Israeli bombardment persists.

9:02 Six Palestinians were killed early Saturday in Israeli airstrikes on the occupied West Bank, the Palestinian Red Crescent and Fatah sources said.

Five Palestinians were killed in an Israeli drone attack targeting the headquarters of Fatah, the Palestinian group of President Mahmoud Abbas, in the Balata refugee camp east of Nablus, the Palestinian state news agency, WAFA, reported.

The Palestinian Red Crescent Society said that another Palestinian was seriously injured and later died during an Israeli military raid in Tubas in the northern Jordan Valley.

Since the Israeli war on Gaza started more than 200 Palestinians have been killed in the West Bank, with a spike in Israel's army raids and Israeli terrorist settlers' attacks.

View the full gallery here

9:00 Israeli troops ordered the evacuation of Al-Shifa hospital "in the next hour" over loudspeakers on Saturday, an AFP journalist at the scene reported, as troops combed the facility.

The United Nations estimated 2,300 patients, staff, and displaced Palestinians were sheltering at the hospital before Israeli troops attacked it on Wednesday.

The Palestinian health ministry in Gaza has announced that dozens have been killed in the medical complex as a result of power cuts caused by fuel shortages, which is banned by Israel.

Short link: